New Tool Helps Solve Geospatial Imaging Challenges

October 25, 2023

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This article brought to you by Hexagon to explore ERDAS IMAGINE’s LiveLink for Google Earth Engine.

ERDAS IMAGINE, Hexagon’s no-programming approach to building geospatial models, is expanding its universe with the new ERDAS IMAGINE LiveLink for Google Earth Engine. LiveLink connects the most widely used remote sensing software package to the world’s largest repository of data and processing.

“Geographic imaging professionals must process vast amounts of geospatial data every day, often relying on software designed for other purposes and add-on applications that can create as many problems as they solve," explained Brad Skelton, product director for ERDAS IMAGINE at Hexagon’s Safety, Infrastructure & Geospatial division. “Most of them aren’t programmers, and the beauty of ERDAS IMAGINE’s Spatial Modeler is that they don’t have to be.”

Spatial Modeler is a graphical environment that enables a user to develop new algorithms by dragging in operators (fundamental processing units) and simply connecting them together to build sophisticated new algorithms. Spatial Modeler provides hundreds of these operators that span the range of processing, from imagery to features to point clouds. This includes traditional remote sensing, photogrammetry, radargrammetry, grid processing and feature processing. GIS workers with an understanding of the domain and no programming background can build large, capable models in this drag-and drop environment.

Those models have been used for projects such as tracking the source of the Essequibo River in South America, monitoring forest cover changes in Madhya Pradesh, India; and tracking invasive tree species in South Africa. ERDAS IMAGINE has also been used to map all of Germany and stream India’s national maps.

LiveLink adds petabytes of possibility for geospatial imaging professionals.


“LiveLink literally opens up the world for ERDAS IMAGINE users,” said Skelton. “They can now access and query the massive amounts of geospatial data that have been collected over the last four decades, while in the ERDAS environment.”

Other features include the ability to copy and paste from the Google Earth Engine catalog and combine cloud-based data with local data. The Google Earth Engine data catalog includes Landsat, Sentinel, MODIS, land cover and land use maps, geophysical and political information and much more.  

“LiveLink pulls those Google Earth Engine capabilities into Spatial Modeler as a set of operators – 800 new operators, to be specific,” Skelton commented. “The Google Cloud infrastructure allows massive scaling, so you can look at individual datasets or entire collections.”

Want to learn more? Watch the new video.


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