Our group fits into the overall value spectrum of the larger company – we fulfill a crucial role as the provider of advanced software products for analyzing and visualizing the data and imagery that is captured. Since data and imagery are used today as a critical form of information, on a more micro level, our value to our customers lies in the speed and quality of image handling and processing that we can perform and the quickness that we bring to delivering business intelligence to our customers. The lasting power of our interactive data language (IDL) has been the ability to pull data from numerous sources and scales into a common framework or operational picture. Our widely used image analysis product, ENVI, provides the same value for geospatial imagery users. All of our products have high interoperability capabilities for consuming and processing various kinds of data in an integrated way.
That is absolutely correct. Everything we do is oriented to meeting the challenges of image capture and analysis for decision making action. This happens across Exelis and touches on many of the functions that we perform in the geospatial group. Other parts of our company build platforms that can be used to capture or create image data and our we focus on the processing and delivery side of all that data capture.
This relationship gives us a heads up on new product developments and is a value added product proposition from our side. Secondly, our suite of products including ENVI, IDL and E3De are all able to be extended both internally and externally. This high interoperable capability between products expands our value proposition as well. These capabilities support the wider enterprise with expanded data extraction and visualization capabilities. 3DVW: With the wider use of social media tools and technologies, do your products support those technologies?JL:
This is an interesting area and our business partner ESRI is working on that kind of linkage with social media tools and have that scenario in their ArcGIS Online environment. Since our products are readily connected with ArcGIS, then it places consumer level tools to our extraction and visualization functions. While this analytic power is not fully integrated yet, we are working on it but not quite there yet.3DVW: Recently ENVI 5 was released. How does it support 3D related work and what are the key visualization capabilities that users will find interesting and useful in the product?JL:
We are very focused on lidar 3D data. This data is captured using laser scanners that create point clouds or from aerial sensors in airplanes. However, these point clouds must be processed to extract the intelligence within them. The files tend to be very large and can reach billions of individual data points (x, y, z) that can be visualized in raw form, although the intelligence is not yet present in that form because only masses of data points are visible. Our software processes those data points, turning them into objects and features such as roads, sidewalks, buildings and so on. 3DVW: 3D analysis workflow is an integral piece in the design, analysis and visualization area. Can you explain the product and how users working in these sectors might find it interesting. JL:
The real game-changer for our customers using our products is in the ability to detect changes over time. We might want to know what has changed within an area over time, and being able to compare those changes through image processing involves the processing of image over time. Then comparisons can be made. Our E3De product is used to process lidar data, turning the points into features and then we can also process imagery with ENVI to create photo-realistic fly-throughs and so on. 3DVW: Can people use IDL to make these kinds of connections as well?JL:
Our first efforts have been oriented toward lidar data extraction. Now we are working to make this analytical part available for 3D use. To accomplish this means we would be connecting to IDL to perform the processing algorithms. The strength of IDL has really always been the fact that it allows users to create dynamic, high quality visualizations of complex numerical data, including 3D. IDL has been used for many years in virtually any industry that uses numerical data. IDL’s newest graphics system makes it easy to create presentation-ready graphics, from 2D plots, graphs, and maps to very complex, interactive 3D representations.3DVW: Are we talking only about processing data with E3De or can we also use other kinds of data? JL:
Our E3De product is specifically developed for analyzing and visualizing point clouds. Processing is the first step. The image processing within that lidar collection would become the second step. Point clouds could be processed in ENVI or IDL, then E3De, while ENVI could be used to extract the usable features and the integration of imagery and features. It really boils down to the fact that the software in our suite of products can import just about all formats, process them and provide the results in a geo-referenced fashion. This in turn makes those results still suitable for more integration and or further 3D data additions. Finally, our tools allow all of this information to be visualized. The handling and processing of 3D data is part of our core capabilities and we have particular strength in lidar data processing. 3DVW: What is the value of 3D in your mind?JL:
Our legacy has been around products that enable scientists to perform image analysis and processing in 2D using remotely sensed imagery. Previous products had a 3 window paradigm. One window showed the core or main image, another showed the image area and a third was used for zooming. That was wonderful for working in that type of environment and for that kind of user, but we started to see tactical users who were not image analysts per se.
These new users did not require that level of analytical complexity in their view windows and they wanted something a little less complex. ENVI 5 gives this kind of capability through a single window. This makes it fit better into the workflows and applications. Under this scenario users retain the capability to create windows if they wish, but the primary interface is designed upon a single view which enables quick linkage between imagery data sets. Users can interact more quickly. For those liking more windows, they can create them still. 3DVW: Does your suite of products allow for the creation of animations, movies and other kinds of video related activity?JL:
Yes, we do. People will typically create time-series animations of their results. They use these for change detection purposes and to see such events over time. These can be done on the micro or the macro level. Furthermore, these can be distributed over the internet and can be made available for use by others in MPEG format.3DVW: How do people often describe their 3D work flows and can you explain these approaches in terms of your suite of tools?JL:
Based on our work in lidar, most users have large data files that they want to process quickly. Our tools meet this challenge because they accept such a wide variety of imagery and data formats. We often see people who wish to drape imagery over 3D objects however those 3D objects and surfaces are created. Then they wish to distribute their solution to other people. There is usually someone wanting the integration of intelligence to address a particular need and who need to make a business decision. This connection between imagery and actionable information is a key point. 3DVW: There is yet another group of people who only need answers without having any idea about the imagery part or the processing aspect. How do you meet their needs?JL:
Today we do not have out-of-the-box solutions that can be deployed by those unfamiliar with image analysis and the intelligence that such sensors brings. People can build that kind of approach with our products though. They may also choose to engage our Professional Services group who can help them to address questions they might not be familiar with approaching. Our technology is built to address the needs of users who are at any place on the image analysis experience spectrum. For many years, we’ve been developing automated technology to help people get answers about the world around them without needing to be image scientists. In cases where customers have unique needs which cannot be addressed with our out of the box solutions, we have a highly experienced Professional Services Group, which can help by assessing the problem, developing and implementing a solution based on our trusted technologies, and ensure proper deployment.3DVW: Can you explain how real-time fits into the imagery equation?JL:
This is a very interesting point in our business because it means that we are interested in continuously collecting imagery and integrating it into other services. We have quite a few service projects that involve large amounts of data. In some cases that information is available in hardcopy. Users often wish to integrate these paper based products within other digital real-time work flows, fusing the various kinds of information together.
I mention this because with feature extraction software the capability to extract value from hardcopy still remains. This means older data sources still have lots of value that can be used. As new real-time approaches take place, then old and new data can be more fully enhanced. Older data can act as a backdrop to the new data sources. Again, professional services can help with this kind of integration for those unaware of how to approach this kind of problem.3DVW: You earlier mention the use of procedural modeling techniques for supporting city models and urban planning. Can you explain where and how Exelis would fit into that kind of work?JL:
Our technology partner ESRI recently acquired the City Engine company and now have the ability to work with precedural modeling tools. While we do not directly link to those tools at the current time. At the moment our E3De product can extract features from lidar data and then push those features to the city engine process. We are currently in discussions with ESRI about how we can make a tighter integration.3DVW: Since many datasets are quite large today, how do you deal with that volume of data?JL:
We use a multi-threaded implementation. Many of our customers also work in a multi-threaded environment as well. We’ve spent years developing products that consider performance in their design as well as functionality. 3DVW: Can you explain what your company is doing with respect to education?JL:
We’ve seen a drop-off in terms of the longer 2-4 day courses. Many people do not have the time or budgets that would enable them to be away for longer periods of time. Alternatively, there has been a rise in the number of people who are taking short day courses and absorbing content in smaller pieces. We take advantage of You Tube and also use online seminar /webinars. Universities and educational institutions are about 5-10% of our business and many of the students receive discounts for purchasing and using our products. A lot of students in spatial sciences kinds of classes like to use our software because it enables them to work in industry right away once they graduate. We often see different departments using our products in different ways, sometimes they use ENVI or in other cases IDL and E3De. 3DVW: Could you explain data fusion from your perspective? Are these data handled in real-time or post-processed?JL:
Let me touch on the use and applications involving UAVs. They are part of our business as we get involved in the processing of UAV data. Much of that data is collected to provide information for specific processing components that can be used for immediate purposes or serve immediate needs. It can be done in real-time provided the UAV has enough capability onboard to make that happen. We find that where a visualization component is involved then it is usually sent back to the ground and processed later when off-loaded. It depends on the type of need and when a decision must be made. 3DVW: Could you explain the link from IDL to visualization?
JL: IDL began in 1977 and the product has become more robust over the years as people have contributed to it’s development. Now it is fully capable of integrating a large number of data sources and processing capabilities. That has contributed toward the longevity of IDL while at the same time expanding visualization opportunities. Many problems can only be solved through mathematics and algorithms. IDL includes that capability and the output is more often than not seen in the form of a graphic that can be quickly understood and shared in the right context.More information:Exelis - Visual Information Solutions
ENVI 5E3DeIDL 8.2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Jaye R. Lampe - PresidentExelis Visual Information Solutions
Jaye Lampe was appointed President of Exelis Visual Information Solutions (Exelis VIS) in October of 2011,having previously served the company in various strategic roles over the span of nearly 15 years. Before her appointment as President, Lampe most recently played a key role for Exelis VIS in running the business development and consulting operations for the company's Washington DC office, a strategic function that has been integral to the company's growth.
Exelis VIS provides software products and services to help people across industries access, process, analyze and deliver geospatial data and imagery so that it can be used to make informed decisions. Utilizing her years of experience in the geospatial industry, Ms. Lampe provides the vision and leadership required to deliver innovative software technologies which facilitate advances in geospatial data acquisition, analysis, and dissemination. Prior to joining Exelis Visual Information Solutions, Ms. Lampe managed engineering support operations and business development functions for Dataware Technologies, an IHS company from 1995-1997. From 1990-1995 Lampe was a software engineer at Visual Numerics, Inc. Ms. Lampe holds a Bachelor's degree in Systems Analysis from the University of Dayton. She studied Engineering Management at the University of Colorado.