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Magazine for Surveying, Mapping & GIS Professionals

December 2008

Volume 11

Professionals D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 8 Volume 11 ●
Professionals D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 8 Volume 11 ●
● Leica TPS 1200+ ● GeoBIM ● Virtualgeo ● ESRI EMEA User Conference ● Magellan’s
● Leica TPS 1200+ ● GeoBIM ● Virtualgeo
● ESRI EMEA User Conference ● Magellan’s latest GPS Tools
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to equip your GIS crew with MobileMapper 6 ©2008 Magellan Navigation, Inc. All rights reserved.
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©2008 Magellan Navigation, Inc. All rights reserved. Magellan, the Magellan logo and MobileMapper are trademarks of Magellan Navigation, Inc. All other products and brand names are trademarks of their respective holders.

GeoInformatics provides coverage, analysis and commentary with respect to the international surveying, mapping and GIS

GeoInformatics provides coverage, analysis and commentary with respect to the international surveying, mapping and GIS industry.

Publisher Ruud Groothuis rgroothuis@geoinformatics.com

Editor-in-chief Eric van Rees evanrees@geoinformatics.com

Columnist

James Fee

Contributing Writers Alvaro Anguix Gerald Albe Erminio Paolo Canevese Mario Carrera Andrew Connell Laura Díaz Annett Feige Paolo Forti Hermann Klug Lambert-Jan Koops Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk Robert Marschallinger Caradoc Peters Léon van der Poel Adam P. Spring Remco Takken Roberta Tedeschi Trisha Twiss Andrew Wetherelt Robert Wick Peter Zeil Fritz Zobl

Account Manager Wilfred Westerhof wwesterhof@geoinformatics.com

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E-mail: mailbox@geoinformatics.com crossmedial publisher This is only the Beginning A quick glance at the table of
E-mail: mailbox@geoinformatics.com crossmedial publisher This is only the Beginning A quick glance at the table of

This is only the Beginning

A

quick glance at the table of contents in this issue shows a focus on laser scanning.

In

sunny California, I was present at the Leica High Definition Surveying and Airborn Sensor

User Conference 2008 and witnessed many inspiring and informative user stories from all over the world. Some of those stories you will find in this and in subsequent issues of GeoInformatics. Two things struck me at this conference. The first was the successful integra- tion of scanning hardware and software into an industry that is so diverse. And the second was the creativity with which laser scanners are now being used. Almost every speaker stressed the importance of software products that give highly detailed views of scanned objects for their customers. Also, with the growing popularity of scanners, new markets are emerging for products in fields such as forensics and archaeology. This is good news for companies who are facing the current downturn in the global economy and have to change their market strategies.

Continuing the laser scanning theme we included some interesting user stories. On the cover you can see spectacular gypsum crystals, some of which are up to 12 meters in length. In the accompanying article from Virtualgeo, you can read how the process of surveying and modelling caves in Mexico has been successfully undertaken. Cultural heritage projects are

a different, but still very interesting field in which laser scanning and photogrammetric methodologies are being used. The article on Heritage 3D presents an extensive analysis of how 2D and 3D techniques can be merged and how laser scanning can be used for archaeology projects. And this is only the beginning

Enjoy your reading,

projects. And this is only the beginning Enjoy your reading, Eric van Rees evanrees@geoinformatics.com December 2008
projects. And this is only the beginning Enjoy your reading, Eric van Rees evanrees@geoinformatics.com December 2008

December 2008

Content

Page 6
Page 6

Scanning the Caves of Naica in Mexico

Articles

Laser Scanning Technology in Extreme Environments

6

Scanning the Caves of Naica in Mexico

A new generation from Jena

18

Instruments and Solutions for Earth Observation

The most recent version of the Internet

24

What exactly is Web 2.0?

Magellan’s latest GPS Tools

26

Making Forest Management simpler and less costly

GNSS Update

30

Solar Cycle and beyond

Spatially Explicit Modeling of Phosphorus Emissions 32

Integrating GIS and Remote Sensing for Hydrological Modeling

Open Source in Spain: the gvSIG Project

A GIS Desktop Solution for an Open SDI

GeoBIM

Subsurface Geo Building Information Modelling

36

40

50

Looking forward to a Harmonious Future together

3D Laser Scanning and its 2D Partners Page 14
3D Laser Scanning and its 2D Partners
Page 14
together 3D Laser Scanning and its 2D Partners Page 14 The mine of Naica, in Chihuahua,

The mine of Naica, in Chihuahua, Mexico became world famous at the beginning of the last century when gypsum crystals found there proved to be the largest in the world at that time. In 2005 an international program was launched to study all the scientific aspects related to the gypsum crystals. Particularly important was verification by the Italian company Virtualgeo, as to the possibility of sur- veying the caves with laser scanning technology, with the intention of generating a three-dimensional digital model of the Cueva de los Cristales with the proprietary soft- ware CloudCUBE.

Multi-brand Test Robotic Total Stations Part 3

GeoInformatics is presenting a new series on user tests of robotic total stations. Each of the next sev- eral issues will include the results of testing a dif- ferent robotic station. The same structure will be used for every test so that comparisons can be made between the different instruments. This, the third test in the series, is of a Leica TCRP1201+.

December 2008

Implementing Geocortex Esstials

56

Migrating Vernon’s existing Mapping Platform

GeoVisionary

58

Where Virtual Reality Technology meets GIS

Product Review

Leica TPS 1200+

14

Multi-brand Test Robotic Total Stations Part 3

Columns

Data Discovery

55

By James Fee

Conferences

Biggest GIS Event outside of the US

44

ESRI’s EMEA User Conference in London

Leica Geosystems HDS and Airborne Sensor User Conference

46

Sharing Worldwide User Experiences

Calendar

62

Advertisers Index

62

Page 40
Page 40

Subsurface Geo Building Information Modelling

In most geotechnical or construction projects civil engineers have to conscientiously consider both technical subsurface objects and natural bedrock objects. From a civil engineer’s perspective, there is an urgent need to extend the Building Information Model concept to the subsurface realm, incorporating the surrounding natural environment.

realm, incorporating the surrounding natural environment. Page 6 On the Cover: A general overview of the
Page 6 On the Cover:
Page 6
On the Cover:

A general overview of the Cueva de los Cristales (Mexico). In 2005 an inter- national program was launched to study all the scientific aspects related to the gypsum crystals inside the cave. Among them, particularly important was the verification, by the Italian company Virtualgeo, of the possibility to survey the caves with laser scanning technology and the realization of the three- dimensional digital model of the Cueva de los Cristales with the proprietary software CloudCUBE (see article, page 6).

Photo credit: Roberta Tedeschi, Speleoresearch & Films and La Venta Exploring Team Archives.

Page 26
Page 26

Magellan’s latest GPS Tools

The latest GIS and GPS technologies are offering new efficiencies for land managers. Forest and woodlot property mapping and management are increasingly more accurate and less time-consuming tasks with the newest handheld GPS receivers. Now field teams can accurately map and inventory more types of data in less time to permit land managers to maintain up-to-date and comprehensive resource data. The rugged all-in-one quality of the new handheld Magellan MobileMapper CX GIS/GPS receiver is proving especially valuable to land managers in both Europe and the United States.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

valuable to land managers in both Europe and the United States. Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com December

December 2008

Article

Scanning the Caves of Naica in Mexico

Laser Scanning Technology in Extreme Environments

Image 1 – A general overview of the Cueva de los Cristales (Roberta Tedeschi, Speleoresearch & Films and La Venta Exploring Team Archives).

The mine of Naica, in Chihuahua, Mexico became world famous at the beginning of the last century when gypsum crystals found there proved to be the largest in the world at that time. In 2001, three new caves were discovered in the same mine containing truly gigantic gypsum crystals. In 2005 an international program was launched to study all the scientific aspects related to the gypsum crystals. Particularly important was verification by the Italian company Virtualgeo, as to the possibility of surveying the caves with laser scanning technology, with the intention of generating a three-dimensional digital model of the Cueva de los Cristales with the proprietary software CloudCUBE.

By Erminio Paolo Canevese, Roberta Tedeschi and Paolo Forti.

Since the beginning of its exploitation at the end of 19th century, the mine of Naica has been revealed to be one of the richest in sil- ver on earth. Its international fame increased in 1910 when the mining activity discovered just 120 meters deep from the entrance, a cave (the Cueva de las Espadas). Although just a small cave, it was composed of an 87 meter corridor, which was completely covered with gypsum crystals which were as much as two meters in length. The cave was rapidly stripped of a large part of its treasures, which

are exhibited today in many of the most important mineralogical museums around the world. After almost 100 years, 170 meters below the surface, the mining advancement works discovered another three natural cavities containing huge, very transparent gypsum crystals. Here in the Cueva de los Cristales, they can reach up to 12 meters in length and almost 2 meters in diameter, creating a true forest of crystals (Image 1). From 2001 to 2008 few persons could visit

such an extraordinary site. However, for the past two years a multidisciplinary, systematic study on the caves of Naica and their gigan- tic gypsum crystals, has been underway, thanks to an agreement between Compagnia Peñoles, the mine owner, Speleoresearch & Films from Mexico City and the Italian explor- ing team La Venta. The purpose of the project, which will last four years, is not just to carry out multidisciplinary research in the various fields of interest con- cerning the caves, but also to search for a

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research in the various fields of interest con- cerning the caves, but also to search for

December 2008

possible way to keep such a geologic won- der available for future generations. • Why
possible way to keep such a geologic won- der available for future generations. • Why

possible way to keep such a geologic won- der available for future generations.

Why did such big crystals grow?

When did it happen and how long did it take?

Which relationships exist between ore bodies and crystals?

Was the crystals’ genesis at least partially influenced by micro-organisms?

Apart from the huge crystals, what kind of speleothems grew?

What was the speleogenetic evolution of the caves of Naica?

Are the caves evolving at the present time?

What was and what is now the impact of human activity on the caves and crystals?

How to preserve the caves of Naica and at the same time allow their public fruition?

Is it possible to keep accessible the caves and their crystals after the end of mining activities?

caves and their crystals after the end of mining activities? Image 2 – Geological sketch of

Image 2 – Geological sketch of the Sierra de Naica with the location of the actually known caves (after FORTI 2008b, modified).

An international team of researchers has been organized to answer all these questions, in which more than 40 scientists from 17 univer- sities and 2 research centres are participat- ing. The first results of the Naica Project were illus- trated in December 2007 during the confer- ence “Naica caves: exploration, documenta- tion, research” organized by the Department of Earth and Geo-Environmental Sciences of Bologna University (Italy). Besides reporting on the first output of the laser scanning sur- vey, Virtualgeo set up a structure equipped for stereoscopic visualization, making possi- ble a “virtual” visit in three-dimensions of the caves, using pictures taken in stereoscopy by the company. This article explains the geological setting of the area, a genetic-evolutionary description of the caves and their crystals, together with the

results of the laser scanning survey carried out by Virtualgeo, which are introduced and developed in detail.

Geological Setting

The mine of Naica is located in a semideser- tic area about 100 km south-east of Chihuahua, the capital city of the Mexican state bearing the same name, which borders on the USA (Image 2). This area is crossed by a series of low ridges, along a NW-SE direc- tion. The mine opens on the northern side of one of these ridges, the Sierra de Naica. It is an anticline, composed of carbonate forma- tions, 12 km long and 7 km wide, outcrop- ping from a wide alluvial plain. The structural control on the localization of the ore bodies was affected by two different families of faults, of which Gibraltar fault and Naica fault are the most important. These two

Image 3 –3D laser scanning in the Cueva de los Cristales in Naica (Mexico). (Speleoresearch
Image 3 –3D laser scanning
in the Cueva de los Cristales
in Naica (Mexico).
(Speleoresearch & Films©)

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3 –3D laser scanning in the Cueva de los Cristales in Naica (Mexico). (Speleoresearch & Films©)

December 2008

Article

(Speleoresearch & Films©) Image 4 – 3D laser scanning in the Cueva de las Espadas
(Speleoresearch & Films©)
Image 4 – 3D laser scanning in the Cueva
de las Espadas in Naica (Mexico).

faults have always controlled the hydrother- mal circulation; in fact, these structures direct almost the whole of the waters coming out from the deep mining galleries even today. Nowadays the mining activities have reached -760 meters in dept, 640 meters under the original piezometric level. It is necessary therefore to pump about 1 m3/s of water out in order to proceed to the ore body exploita- tion. It is expected that mining activity will end in 5-7 years, which means the water pumping operations will also cease. As an immediate consequence, the caves and their crystals will be submerged under 170 meters of thermal water.

Gypsum Crystals Genesis and Evolution

The three caves found at -290 meters (Cueva de los Cristales, Ojo de la Reina and Cueva de las Velas), although very close each other host gypsum crystals which are different both in size and shape. In all the three cavities euhedral crystals are present which are transparent and very pure even with numerous fluid inclusions. They often have a tabular prismatic habit up to 2 meters in length. Their remarkable dimen- sions, the particularly acute angles and the vertical alignment of crystals sometimes cre- ate an impressive and huge “shark teeth-like” structure. In two of the three caves, crystals almost com- pletely cover the walls, transforming them into gigantic geodes. Only in the Cueva de los Cristales is the greater part of the roof not covered with gypsum crystals. However, this cavity has the crystals with the biggest dimen- sions. There are about one hundred prismatic crystals, rare swallowtail-twin, very long and well developed from the floor to the roof of the cavity, often exceeding 8 meters in length (Image 1). Their growth was halted only recently when less than 20 years ago, the

mine dewatering operations suddenly deprived the crystals of the thermal water in which they were growing. It was possible to compute the age of the gigantic crystals: the fist absolute dating with 230Th/ 234U method indicates an evolution time around 400- 500.000 years.

Cavities Evolution throughout Time

Until recently studies focused on the process- es which allowed the huge gypsum crystals to grow while the evolutionary stages that characterised the different caves of Naica were completely ignored. However, this has now changed with recent studies. Undoubtedly, the Cueva de las Espadas is the most interesting and important cave for the speleogenetical study. During its evolution it passed through all the environments and was the scene of all the processes which charac- terized Naica. The deepest caves (Cristales, Reina and Velas) quickly passed from deep phreatic to vadose condition when, about 20 years ago, the mine dewatering depressed the groundwater below level -290. Gypsum deposition in the caves at -290 con- tinued until 20 years ago when the mine dewatering operations caused them to com- pletely drain. It has to be said, however, such an event did not mean the end of the evolu- tion of these caves: on the contrary. Now, in fact, all the cavities of Naica have the same speleogenetic evolution, which by means of oxidation, acid aggression, and strong evapo- ration processes is giving off a series of new minerals, also rare. Unfortunately, the pro- cesses which are activated when draining takes place are also responsible for the con- densation phenomenon on the surface of gyp- sum crystals. This means they could not only risk losing their main aesthetic characteristics of lustre and transparency but also, objective- ly, their complete destruction in the medium term.

Laser Scanning Survey of Naica Caves

In the Naica Project, Virtualgeo’s work entered in the frame of the investigations concerning the topography of the caves, which consisted of laser scanning surveying of Cuevas de los Cristales (Image 3) and de las Espadas (Image 4). The aim of the survey was to document the present conditions of the caves by con- structing a high precision three-dimensional geometric database, to include colour param- eters of the morphology and visual aspect of the caves and crystals. It is an essential oper- ation, designed to safeguard the knowledge and value of a unique ecosystem which will probably be submerged under water when mining activities cease in a few years. Virtualgeo has been working in the field of geomatics, software development and com- munication since 1994. It supplies services for the study, preservation and evaluation of cul- tural and environmental heritage. Since its inception, the company has been character- ized by its use of advanced instruments and software solutions. On the first official expe- dition of the project, in May 2007, Virtualgeo carried out the survey with a “phase shift” technology based-laser scanner under the direction of its technical manager, geologist Roberta Tedeschi. On surveying in caves, problems were found with the extension and development of cavities (which often imply operative and logistic difficulties) as well as the irregular shape of surfaces. Such surfaces are difficult to measure with a high detail level using traditional survey techniques because of their extension and intrinsic complexity as well as the kind of hypogeal environment. Under these conditions, traditional survey techniques allow only “rough” surveys. It is hard to identify a morphometric survey method that can be automatic, and valid for all types of hypogeal contexts and different application cases. One that can minimise mea- surement errors, reduce operating times and costs (operations on site and during data elaboration) and increase the quality and quantity of acquired information. In addition, the caves of Naica have peculiar features mak- ing them difficult to survey. The survey cam- paign was carried out in extreme ambient con- ditions (48°C temperature and humidity close to 100% in the Cueva del los Cristales) both for technicians’ physiology and laser scanner functionality (which is guaranteed by the pro- ducer to work 5° up to 40°C of ambient tem- perature and without condensation). The pro- hibitive microclimate with the limited risky mobility around the crystals to move and fix the scanning stations with all the survey equipment (laptop, cables, power supply devices, etc.), affected the activity of techni-

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all the survey equipment (laptop, cables, power supply devices, etc.), affected the activity of techni- 8

December 2008

Laser scanner Range Measurement Speed Systematic Distance Error Vertical Field of View Horizontal Field of
Laser scanner
Range
Measurement Speed
Systematic Distance Error
Vertical Field of View
Horizontal Field of View
Scanning Time
Weight
Camera
Pixel
CAM2 LS 880
0,6 metres – 76 metres
120.000 points/second
+/- 3 millimetres at 25 metres
320°
360°
2 million points in 20 seconds
14,5 kg
Nikon D70
6,1 M

Table 1 – Technical data concerning the laser scanner used by Virtualgeo to survey the Cuevas de los Cristales and de las Espadas in Naica.

Cueva de los Cristales Cueva de las Espadas Number of scans acquired Number of points
Cueva de los Cristales
Cueva de las Espadas
Number of scans acquired
Number of points acquired
Number of 2D images acquired
Amount of laser data acquired
Amount of 2D images acquired
1
3
13.180.893
30.032.525
10
30
1 gigabyte
3 gigabyte
45 megabyte
135 megabyte

Table 2 – Number of scans and millions points acquired by laser scanner, amount of pictures taken by the integrated camera and full “weight” of digital data for each of the caves surveyed by Virtualgeo.

cians who could work only wearing the spe- cial equipment prepared by La Venta team for the whole expedition. The total duration of all the necessary survey operations in the caves was 3 hours (over 2 working days), of which 20 minutes were taken for the scanning. In the Cueva de las Espadas and Cueva de los Cristales, 4 scans were affected with a “phase shift” technology-based laser scanner, which measures the distance of the surveyed object “comparing” three pulses of different wave- lengths reflected back to the scanner (techni- cal data concerning such laser scanner are list- ed in Table 1). The spatial coordinates and, thanks to the camera incorporated in the laser scanner, RGB colour values of more than 43 million points were acquired. The number of scans and the millions of points generated by the laser scanner, the amount of pictures taken by the integrated camera and the full “weight” of the digital data obtained from the survey campaign in Naica are listed in Table 2.

Data Elaborations and First Outputs

After registering the scans of the Cueva de las Espadas, the post-processing of the data acquired with the laser scanner was per- formed with CloudCUBE, the software devel- oped by Virtualgeo for managing and three- dimensional modelling of point clouds on an AutoCAD platform. The work required the importation of the point cloud data in AutoCAD. Once the cloud had been visualized, it was carefully cleaned and filtered to remove noise and non-significant points. The output of this preliminary phase for the Cueva de los Cristales is given in Image 5. The following stage focused on the Cueva de los Cristales and consisted of organizing the point cloud to obtain an efficiently ordered basis, accord- ing to the requirements and purpose of the survey, on which it was possible to work with time optimization. Image 6 displays a point cloud divided into sub-clouds, identified with different colours, each corresponding to a sin-

Image 6 – Cueva de los Cristales: organization, on AutoCAD platform with Virtualgeo CloudCUBE software,
Image 6 – Cueva de los Cristales: organization, on AutoCAD platform with Virtualgeo CloudCUBE software,
of the point cloud in sub-clouds. Each sub-cloud corresponds to a gypsum crystal.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

9

Article

gle gypsum crystal.Exploiting the functionali- ties offered by CloudCUBE software, the work- flow proceeded to the three-dimensional model, the morphology of the cavity and its

giant crystals. The three-dimensional digital model of the Cueva de los Cristales is visible in shade modality, in Image 7. With CloudCUBE it is possible to rapidly obtain from the three-dimensional model of the cave any type of dimensional information, such as horizontal and vertical “compound” sections (which are sections combined with line eleva- tions and point clouds images), and axono- metric projections and cutaways of the cave’s present conditions. The digital model can be generated with levels of detail which can be customized according to the specific use to which the 3D model is designed. Such use can be scientific (and allow also the “dis- tance” study of caves) or connected with pub- lic dissemination. Besides the study of the caves present conditions, with CloudCUBE each specialist can produce digital models to use for simulation and verification processes of various study hypotheses (related to speleogenesis, for instance) or in evaluation

of project hypotheses for the preservation of

caves, with the possibility to elaborate on graphic-numeric representations.

The three-dimensional digital reconstruction

of the Cueva de los Cristales is the result of

a pilot investigation, which found in laser

scanning technology and a reverse modelling methodological approach, a practicable solu- tion to document an “object” in the most complete way possible, limiting the risks associated with insufficient and/or inadequate

data acquisition. It is a practical approach that can be extended to whatever contexts in which it is necessary to manage a remarkable morphologic complexity, and a large amount

of

survey data. Moreover, in Naica the rapidi-

ty

of the data acquisition by laser scanning

allowed us to get over the obstacle of ambi- ent conditions, which objectively could not be overcome by any other kind of traditional sur- vey.

Conclusion

Although the multidisciplinary research pro- ject onn the caves of Naica has only recently started, some of the results obtained are already of extraordinary interest. In fact, an absolutely new mechanism was discovered, based on the differences in solubility between gypsum and anhydrite below 59°C, which allowed the gigantic gypsum to develop. Also, for the first time, perfectly preserved pollens have been found inside the gypsum crystals, which seem to allow particularly interesting paleoclimatic reconstructions. At last, in the field of microbiology, the research of

interesting paleoclimatic reconstructions. At last, in the field of microbiology, the research of December 2008

December 2008

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Article

Article Image 6 – Cueva de los Cristales: organization, on AutoCAD platform with Virtualgeo CloudCUBE software,

Image 6 – Cueva de los Cristales: organization, on AutoCAD platform with Virtualgeo CloudCUBE software, of the point cloud in sub-clouds. Each sub-cloud corresponds to a gypsum crystal.

extremophile micro-organisms, even if just started, seems to be very promising and the discovery of new species is expected within a short time. The possibility of using a laser scanner for the morphometric survey of the caves, galleries and crystals of the mine, was verified. As was the ability to treat the acquired point clouds by means of a reverse modelling logic, with the tools provided by CloudCUBE in order to obtain a three-dimen- sional digital reconstruction of the hypogeal contexts. All the research has to be completed within a short time. In fact, all the karst phenomena at level -290 will only be accessible for anoth- er few years until the mining activities come to a halt and the caves are submerged under 170 meters of thermal water.

the caves are submerged under 170 meters of thermal water. Image 7– Cueva de los Cristales:

Image 7– Cueva de los Cristales: three-dimensional model of the cave and crystals, visualized in “shade” modality, obtained on AutoCAD platform with Virtualgeo CloudCUBE software.

on AutoCAD platform with Virtualgeo CloudCUBE software. Image 8 - Diagram showing the temperature decrease in

Image 8 - Diagram showing the temperature decrease in Cueva de los Cristales and Ojo de la Reina in the last six years.

produced a series of videos to document all the exploration and scientific research phases carried out inside these caves. In this regard, as proved by Virtualgeo, it is extremely impor- tant to use laser scanning to survey caves and crystals in order to create a high precision three-dimensional database. With this detailed information it is possible to produce three-dimensional digital models and graphic representations for purposes of specialist study. This information will also be available to different disciplines for various applica- tions, and scientific dissemination, and should the requirement arise, allow an exact repro- duction to be created of such a geological wonder of our planet Earth.

Erminio Paolo Canevese erminio.canevese@virtualgeo.it is president of Virtualgeo s.r.l. and S.P.A.R.T.A. s.r.l. (Società Promozione Analisi Realizzo Tecnologie Avanzate - Promotion Analysis Realization Advanced Technologies Company), owner of the Studio Topografico Canevese (Canevese Surveying Company), and applies since 1985 to geomatics and communication supporting preservation and advancement of architectural, archaeological and environmental heritage.

Roberta Tedeschi roberta.tedeschi@virtualgeo.it has a Geology degree and has been applying to new technologies connected with geomatics for 20 years. She is technical manager of Virtualgeo s.r.l. and partner of S.P.A.R.T.A. s.r.l. working in the field of environmental planning.

Paolo Forti paolo.forti@unibo.it is Professor of Speleology and Geomorphology at Bologna University. In over 40 years of researches he explored and studied caves in more than 50 counties in 4 continents. His main fields of interests are speleogenesis and karst minerogenesis.

Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to Speleoresearch & Films and exploring team La Venta for their collabora- tion, CAM2 S.r.l.-FARO Technologies Inc. for the laser scanner, Compañía Minera Peñoles for the permission to access the mine.

Actually, the gypsum crystals of Naica run the risk of being destroyed before that time because of the condensation phenomena. In fact the walls of all the caves at level -290 cool down quite rapidly (data available regis- ter a mean cooling of 0.5°C per year) because of the forced ventilation of the mining gal- leries (Image 8). This means the cave walls will soon reach a sufficiently low temperature, with respect to hot vapours rising from the bottom of the mine, to reach and go beyond the dew point with the immediate conse- quence of a rapid dissolution of gypsum crys- tals. This process has already started in the smallest cave at -290 (Ojo de la Reina), where the big gypsum crystals are dissolving and rapidly transforming into calcite speleothems. Temperature data registered has indicated that the same process would start inside the Cueva de los Cristales in two years at most.Therefore one of the main purposes of Naica Project is to find the best way to safeguard and pass on to future genera- tions a large part of such an unbelievable underground world and, in case it would be absolutely impos- sible, to leave the most complete and punctual documenta- tion. For this reason

Speleoresearch & Films, with La Venta,

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

11

For this reason Speleoresearch & Films, with La Venta, Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 11 December 2008

December 2008

ArcGIS ® 9.3 —Improving Your Entire Data Management Dissemination Better Maps Data courtesy of the

ArcGIS ® 9.3—Improving Your Entire

Data Management Dissemination Better Maps Data courtesy of the City of Boston.
Data Management
Dissemination
Better Maps
Data courtesy of the City of Boston.
ArcGIS ® 9.3 —Improving Your Entire Data Management Dissemination Better Maps Data courtesy of the City
GIS Workflow ArcGIS ® 9.3 offers a complete suite of software that improves organizational workflows

GIS Workflow

ArcGIS ® 9.3 offers a complete suite of software that improves organizational workflows within a standards- compliant environment. With ArcGIS, you also get the benefits of an established and active user community, instructor-led and online training, and new online resource centers.

Data Management ArcGIS 9.3 provides new tools for accessing data within an organization, including the
Data Management
ArcGIS 9.3 provides new
tools for accessing data
within an organization,
including the addition of
PostgreSQL and Microsoft ®
SQL Server ® 2008 support, a
new image service, version
management, enhancements
to geodatabase replication,
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Mobility
Better Maps
Planning and Analysis
ArcGIS 9.3 includes many
enhancements that make it
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and share production-quality
maps. These enhancements
include a new Disperse
Markers tool and, via Maplex ®
for ArcGIS, better contour
labeling and more control over
where labels are placed inside
and around polygons.
Dissemination of
Information
ArcGIS 9.3 makes dissemination
of geographic information
much easier. New tools
that aid in dissemination
include improved map cache
management, which allows
www.esri.com/whatsnew
Austria
Finland
Italy
www.synergis.co.at
www.esri-finland.com
www.esriitalia.it
Belgium and Luxembourg
France
Malta
Slovenia
www.esribelux.com
www.esrifrance.fr
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
F.Y.R.O.M.
Moldova
Spain
www.gisdata.hr
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www.trimetrica.com
Mobility
Bulgaria
Germany
The Netherlands
Sweden
www.esribulgaria.com
www.esri-germany.de
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Croatia
Georgia
Norway
Switzerland
www.gisdata.hr
www.geographic.ge
www.geodata.no
Czech Republic
Greece and Cyprus
Poland
Turkey
www.arcdata.cz
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Denmark
Hungary
Portugal
Ukraine
www.informi.dk
www.esrihu.hu
www.esri-portugal.pt
Estonia, Latvia, and
Lithuania
Iceland
Romania
UK/Ireland
www.samsyn.is
www.esriro.ro
Iceland Romania UK/Ireland www.samsyn.is www.esriro.ro For more information, please contact your local distributor

For more information, please contact your local distributor or call ESRI Europe at +31-10-217-7788 or ESRI headquarters at +1-909-793-2853,

at +31-10-217-7788 or ESRI headquarters at +1-909-793-2853, www.hnit-baltic.lt Israel www.systematics.co.il Russia

Israel

Russia

Slovak Republic

maps to be published more quickly, and a series of JavaScript APIs for mashup- style development. These new APIs allow JavaScript developers to easily embed ArcGIS Server Web mapping applications into any Web site.

The new ArcGIS Mobile application increases data accuracy and enables real- time decision making in the field. Also, the ArcGIS Mobile SDK now offers enhanced map control rendering, data storage capabilities, and expanded projections.

Planning and Analysis

Many modeling tools have been enhanced, and some entirely new tools have been added to help users get more answers from their data. These include a new scatterplot matrix graph, improvements to the Near tool, and advanced Ordinary Least Squares and Geographically Weighted Regression tools.

Copyright © 2008 ESRI. All rights reserved. ESRI, the ArcGIS logo, www.esri.com, Maplex, the ESRI Globe logo, and ArcGIS are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States, the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.

Product review

Multi-brand Test Robotic Total Stations Part 3

Leica TPS 1200+

GeoInformatics is presenting a new series on user tests of robotic total

stations. Each of the next several issues will include the results of testing

a different robotic station. The same structure will be used for every test

so that comparisons can be made between the different instruments.

This, the third test in the series, is of a Leica TCRP1201+.

By Léon van der Poel

Best thing to do is to mount the unit on the pole.

Choosing a total station is not an easy job. Depending on the type of survey and the circumstances in which the survey has to take place, a potential user will select a cer- tain brand and type of total station. To gain more insight into the day-to-day use of a robotic total station, GeoInformatics has asked Léon van der Poel, a surveyor and educator in the Netherlands, to put a number of robot- ic total stations from different international manufactur- ers, through their paces. The tests will all be carried out under the same conditions and the same structure will be used for every test so that the different instruments can be compared. The instruments have been provided by their Dutch distributors.

instruments have been provided by their Dutch distributors. Testing Method We have chosen to do a

Testing Method

We have chosen to do

a user test, which

means that standard deviations and so on will not be considered. Each manufacturer is asked to provide a robotic total station that can be operated by one person, along with accompanying software, for two days. We have also asked the manufacturer to provide operating instructions. A test survey is then performed. Of particular interest is user friendliness during the surveying and pegging out. The test factors are listed in Box 1. The third test is of a Leica TCRP1201+ The configuration as supplied is as follows:

Every instrument will be tested on:

1. delivery and instructions for use

2. overall impression of the instrument and controller (field book)

3. user friendliness

4. stake out routine

5a. surveying (one man)

5b. surveying (reflector less)

6. additional functions

Box 1.

Instrument: TCRP 1201+ ( R1000) Controller: RX1250TC Prism: GRZ122 Software: SmartWorx
Instrument:
TCRP 1201+ ( R1000)
Controller:
RX1250TC
Prism:
GRZ122
Software:
SmartWorx

Delivery and Instructions

The instrument was delivered as a complete working set including tripod and prism pole. First the simulation soft- ware was downloaded from the internet so most of the

tripod and prism pole. First the simulation soft- ware was downloaded from the internet so most

December 2008

14

explanation of the system could be done inside, which was nice, because outside it was raining continuously. A Dutch user manual was inside the case and on my request all available man- uals were downloaded and saved on my hard disk. After we went through the most important options we went outside for some field experi- ence.

Instrument

The instrument is supplied in a compact carry- ing case. The prism and datacollector are in

another case of the same size. So the first thing

I did was mount the prism on the pole and try

to find a place for the datacollector, so that I would not need to carry around the second case. The charger can charge up to four batter- ies at the same time, so no hassle with lots of

chargers and power cables. All the batteries for this system are Li-Ion and fit in this charger. By replacing a small part of the charger you can also charge older types of batteries, which makes this charger a true universal charger. The charger does not fit in the carrying cases. The manufacturer remarks that for this, Leica has developed a smaller charger which fits into the carrying case and this charger can also be used to charge a battery in the car. Only one battery fits into this charger. The horizontal and vertical movement is done via endless screws, or just by grabbing the instrument and turning it in the desired direc- tion. Moving the instrument with the endless screws feels like a non-motorised instrument, so no learning curve for users which are used to non-motorised instruments. But the idea is that you will not stand behind the instrument much, since it is a one-man system. The manu- facturer remarks that when reflectorless mea- surements are taken the surveyor is likely to be behind the instrument. The motors make some noise, but when you are behind the instrument the motors are not used and when you are in one-man mode you are not close to the instrument so you don’t hear the noise. The EGL light is placed in the top part of the telescope. This EGL can help you with the guid- ing of the instrument when you are surveying alone, or guiding the rodman in case you do a stake out with somebody behind the instru- ment. The handle of the instrument contains the radio and can be removed easily, although

I do not see much use in taking off the handle

in this configuration. The operation time of the

batteries is between four and eight hours according to the Leica support engineer, who

delivered the instrument. Four or eight hours is

a big difference. Of course the operation time

depends on how you use the instrument. Do you use it in tracking mode or STD mode, do you have the EGL on or off, and which intensi-

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

The tested configuration.
The tested configuration.

ty of the EGL do you use etc. My experience was that the battery in the instrument (which is the bigger one) lasts longer than the battery in the fieldbook. During my test it lasted around five hours, which means that you can work a full day with the four delivered batteries (two for the instrument and two for the fieldbook). In case need to you can put the battery of the fieldbook in the instrument. The other way around does not fit. The manufacturer remarks that they think it is user friendly as well if the robotic pole is lightweight therefore only the small battery is foreseen on the pole. The instrument comes with a laser plummet, and two circular levels. One in the tribrach, which is hardly visible due to the size of the instrument, and one at the place where “nor- mally” the plate level would be. The manufac- turer remarks that the level on the tribach is best used when only using a reflector carrier. While setting up the instrument the level on the instrument is best used. The sensitivity of this circular level is better than the one in the tribrach. The instrument comes with two displays. The colour display is very clear, but no comment can be given on its visi- bility when used in sunshine, since the test was done in the Netherlands and the weather was typically Dutch, which means clouds and fog, but luckily no real rain. Data can be stored on the instrument’s internal memory (optional), or on the internal CF card, or on the data collector. Everything is stored in the DBX database. At a later stage you can decide which items of the database you want to use for output. With the help of different configuration sets you can configure the instrument to suit your own needs, and the settings can be saved. In the event that somebody else uses the instrument you can reload your own settings when you want to start surveying again.

Product review

Field Book and Remote Control Unit

The datacollector has no cables connected to anything else and has the same screen as the instrument. Behind the battery is space for a CF card. However, due to a combination of the

shape and size of the unit it is not easy to hold

it in your hand, so the best thing to do is to

mount it on the pole. After delivery of the instrument I of course want-

ed to have a look at it immediately. So I turned on the instrument and wanted to turn on the remote unit but did not manage to do it. Did I not pay sufficient attention during the delivery and explanation of the instrument or did I break the instrument? Luckily I found out that you just needed to press the power key for a couple of seconds to turn the unit on. The function keys are very nice. No need to touch small buttons on the touch screen, since most options are available under Function keys. This took me some time to get used to, since I am used to a data collector without function keys. But the more I used the instrument, the more I started using the Function keys.

Stake Out

The stake out is very intuitive. It is easy to load 500 points for a stakeout job. The only strange thing on the screen is that the display shows the message forward -53.123 meter. The forward notice gives me the feeling

I need to move forward, but the minus sign

gives me the feeling I need to move forward in

a negative direction, so that means backwards.

This is based on the following idea: The dis- tance between you and the orientation point (in most cases the instrument) has to become smaller. So, in case the stake out point is between you and the instrument the distance has to become smaller which is shown by the minus sign. Although this explanation by the support engineer sounds nice, I can not get used to that minus sign. The manufacturer remarks that the visual guides can be changed within the configuration of the

stake out application.

User Friendliness during Surveying (One Man)

Since I am used to an optical plummet I was wondering how I should turn on the laser plum- met because this was not discussed during delivery of the instrument. So I turned on the instrument and the laser plummet turned on automatically and the accurate digital bubble was shown on the screen. Also a tool for measuring the height of the instrument was in the carrying case. This spe- cial measuring tape has two sides. One side has a normal centimetre scale and the other side has a scale which takes the slant angle into consideration. At an instrument height of

the other side has a scale which takes the slant angle into consideration. At an instrument

December 2008

Product review

0.5m the difference between vertical height and slant height is 10mm and at an instrument height of 1.8m this difference is 3mm. This is taken care of by the special scale, which you can see via a special mirror, avoiding the need to lie down on the ground in order to take a reading. When I turned the remote unit on, it made an automatic connection to the total station, which is very user-friendly feature. After creating a project and entering the station number, I aimed at the backsight. First I thought that for my backsight I would have to use the datacollector, but the screen on the instrument shows the same as the screen on the datacol- lector, so the backsight can also be initiated from the instrument. In order to do so, I want- ed to put the pole firmly in the grass, but the shock was too much for the holder, and the datacollector fell to the ground. Later the sur- vey support engineer explained that I should have locked the holder by pushing a special button, which I had seen but did not know what it was used for. This special button avoids the problem of the datacollector accidentally com- ing loose in its holder. The second time I used a backsight I did not want to initiate it from behind the instrument, so I choose to walk to the backsight location and put the prism on the point. Since I just had the pole and no tripod with me, I put the pole up-side-down to improve the accuracy. The prism has a nice point which is the centre of the prism, and this point you can put on top of your nail. In this case you need to take the datacollector off the pole and than you realize it does not fit properly in your hand. The manufacturer remarks that there is a hand strap available to attach the data collector to the wrist in case the surveyor does not want to make use of the holder connected to the prism pole. I surveyed a lot of points to test the tracking and after making some adjust- ments to the tracking settings I was happy. You

Also, a tool for measu- ring the height of the instrument was in the carrying case. This special measuring tape has two sides.

carrying case. This special measuring tape has two sides. The charger can charge up to four

The charger can charge up to four batteries at the same time.

can tell the instrument what it should do in case it loses the prism. Should it stop and do noth- ing or should it keep moving in the same direc- tion with the same speed as it was moving before it lost track? Should it initiate the Power search after loss of lock or should it initiate the ATR (Auto target Recognition, which is another way to find the prism)? First the setting was that it should move on for three seconds and than stop and wait. Since I thought that it would automatically start the search I would stop as soon as I heard that the tracking was lost and wait for the instru- ment to find me again, but that of course did not happen. So after changing the settings to my preferences, I walked up very close to the instrument and was impressed by the tracking of the instrument. Even at half a meter distance the instrument was still following the prism and

I could continue surveying the side of the bicy- cle lane on which the instrument was set up.

Even with great tracking the instrument will lose the prism due to obstructions. In this case you can use the power search feature to find the prism again. This works very well except for two occasions. In my case there was a significant height difference on the testing location. When

I moved too much in a vertical direction I first needed to rough aim the instrument in a verti-

cal direction before initiating the power search otherwise the instrument would not find me.

If the instrument is already aiming at the prism

or the approximate direction of the prism and you press the power search, the instrument will not find the prism. It presumes that the prism it was tracking is not the correct prism and therefore ignores it. Stepping aside a few steps and initiating the power search quickly solves this. The manufacturer remarks that if the instru- ment is pointed at the prism a surveyor should not perform a power search but press DIST instead. The instrument will then lock onto the prism without having to perform the power search first in which case it presumes that the prism at which the instrument is pointed at is not the prism that the surveyor wants to find. So if it is the prism the instrument should lock onto just press DIST.

the prism the instrument should lock onto just press DIST. Battery holder. Reflectorless Measurement The reflectorless

Battery holder.

instrument should lock onto just press DIST. Battery holder. Reflectorless Measurement The reflectorless measurement
instrument should lock onto just press DIST. Battery holder. Reflectorless Measurement The reflectorless measurement

Reflectorless Measurement

The reflectorless measurement works very nicely. Measuring to black gravel works to approximately 75m. This is one of the most difficult targets to measure since the angle of inclination is small and the colour of the object is dark, which means that it absorbs most of the sig- nal. A black chimney and sign- posts could be measured at a distance of more than 100m. However, measuring a cable above the highway at 218m was not possi- ble. With reflectorless measurement to cor- ners of buildings you still need to be very careful. Aiming at the corner of building with another build- ing just 29m behind it, may result in incorrect values in the order of meters. The manufacturer remarks that this only occurs when using Tracking as the EDM type in which case the instrument con- tinuously does single inde- pendent dis- tance measure- ments (so no checks are being performed). When doing a single measurement on the cor- ner of a building with the reflectorless EDM, the standard mode

of a building with the reflectorless EDM, the standard mode “The instrument has two similar operating
of a building with the reflectorless EDM, the standard mode “The instrument has two similar operating

“The instrument has two similar operating panels on the sides.”

16

with the reflectorless EDM, the standard mode “The instrument has two similar operating panels on the
By replacing a small part of the charger you can also charge older types of
By replacing a small part of the charger you can also charge older types of

By replacing a small part of the charger you can also charge older types of batteries.

of the charger you can also charge older types of batteries. should be used, in which
of the charger you can also charge older types of batteries. should be used, in which

should be used, in which case the instrument does three independent distance measure- ments. If there are big differences between the measured distances the instrument will give a warning that multiple surfaces are being measured and the user should check the point that was tar- geted.

For reflectorless measure- ments to corners I still pre- fer to use special offset functions of software, such as measuring two points on the wall and than aim to the corner and measure only angles and store the intersection. Unfor- tunately I have not been able to find this kind of solution on this instrument. That manufacturer remarks that with the application COGO (standard/free application) an intersection point can be cal- culated based on two points measured on a wall and a TPS obser- vation. It was not clear that the sur- veyor wanted such functionality before he began testing so this was not explained dur- ing the initial training.

so this was not explained dur- ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional
so this was not explained dur- ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional
so this was not explained dur- ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional
so this was not explained dur- ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional

Scanning (Additional Function):

ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional software option reference plane was also
ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional software option reference plane was also
ing the initial training. Scanning (Additional Function): use The additional software option reference plane was also
use
use

The additional software option reference plane was also installed on the instrument, which makes it possible to

the

instrument for scanning. In case the points dif- fer too much from the predefined area a warn- ing can be given. During this scanning phase the instrument stopped responding and

showed a strange screen. Pressing ESC or OK had no effect. In addition, the power off did not work, so finally I just removed the battery and the message on the screen was gone. Turning the instrument on again solved the problem. You can continue scanning and don’t need to define the reference area again, but you do need to define the scanning area again. In order to survey (scan) a facade with a 5cm grid the instrument is busy for more than the whole day. Unfortunately the software does not give the option to use TRK or fast, so the whole survey has to be done in Standard mode. The scan- ning option is a nice feature but I don’t see many applications where it can be used and effectively save time. A pile of sand might be a nice application, but in case you can access it,

it is faster to survey the break lines. Adding

some points (during your coffee break, since it now is a zero-man solution) by doing a scan with a bigger interval is an option.

Software

A big benefit of the software is that you can

configure it to suit your own needs. The REC button is by default stored under the F3 key, which is in the centre of the datacollector, and therefore difficult to press without looking at the datacollector. Jasper, the Leica Support Engineer, pointed out that this key can also be defined to the user’s preference. So I could place it under the F6 key which is on the side of the datacollector and make it much easier to find without looking at the keys. Nowadays it becomes more common to mea- sure directly in the map. The software gives you the ability to do so, but the points surveyed are not automatically shown in the map. The manufacturer remarks this is strange because every point measured is directly shown in the screen. It is not clear what happened here and maybe the zoom level should have been adjust- ed. To show the points surveyed you need to refresh the screen. Lines can be drawn in dif-

Product review

ferent colors and symbols can be assigned to points, so a proper map can already be made in the field. In the case where two points are very close together you cannot zoom in further than the scale of 0.5m, which means that on the screen you see an area of around 2m², which is not sufficient to see if the side of a small tree or the centre of a small tree has been measured. I rarely use the help in any software but since this is a new instrument to me and I could not immediately find what I was looking for I just gave it a try. “No help available” was the reply. The graphic display or the database seems to slow down the interface. In the case of the scan a total of 700 points were measured and changing from the scanning screen which contains the numbers of points measured, the number of points which still have to be mea- sured, and the number of points rejected plus how much time is needed to finish the job, the system is busy for 10 seconds to build up the graphic display and after those 10 seconds it continues with the measurement. 3500 points 49 seconds. Going from the graphical screen to the scanning screen, you don’t see any delay in the measuring of the scanning points. The output from the instrument to the CF card is easy to understand. Export formats are limited to user defined Ascii or GSI or DXF. The manufacturer asks why is the word ‘limit- ed’ used? Because of the self definable ascii export we can transfer data from the instrument to almost any kind of software package. You can define what you want to export and in which format.

Summary

• Instrument follows prism very well

• Power search works nicely when you do not move too much in the vertical direction

• Datacollector is designed to be on the pole

• Scanning a nice but rarely useful option

• Reflectorless measurement to corners needs attention

• The user-assignable keys can make the software user friendly

Léon van der Poel lpo@leop-bv.nl is a professional surveyor and educator. This article represents his own opinion. For more information, have a look at www.leica-geosystems.com. Many thanks to Leica for providing the reviewed instrument

Reaction of the Manufacturer

The manufacture noticed that in some situa- tions the user lacked some TPS-1200 experi- ence to know which choices he could make to make his work easier which is not so strange when taking into account the fact that he only had about 2-3 hours of training and no prior experience what so ever with a Leica TPS1200 total station.

about 2-3 hours of training and no prior experience what so ever with a Leica TPS1200

December 2008

Article

Instruments and Solutions for Earth Observation

A new Generation from Jena

Jena-Optronik GmbH is a true pioneer of multi-spectral cameras for spaceborne and airborne applications. With promising cutting-edge technologies, the company operates as one of the international leading providers of optoelectronic instruments and systems for aerospace and security. Consequently, Jena-Optronik develops instruments for the acquisition of information, information processing and data representation. For more than 30 years the company has been providing precise solutions which result in successful products and projects in space as well as on Earth.

By Gerald Albe and Annett Feige

space as well as on Earth. By Gerald Albe and Annett Feige One of the latest

One of the latest developments: The multi-spectral aerial camera Jena Airborne Scanner JAS 150 © Jena-Optronik GmbH.

Observing the Earth line-by-line

The main emphasis of Jena-Optronik is on the application of optoelectronic technologies for Earth Observation and Remote Sensing. Whether meteorological satellites or cameras for the acquisition of environmental or geo- information data – the solutions are primarily designed as a long-term, continuous informa- tion source. This technology trend is support- ed by one of the latest developments – the multi-spectral aerial camera Jena Airborne Scanner JAS 150s. The sensor's advanced con- struction enables the simultaneous acquisi- tion of nine bands of information: five panchromatic CCD lines capture photogram- metric and 3D information, while four lines capture data in the red, green, blue and near- infrared band. Therefore only one flight is needed for multi-spectral, panchromatic, coloured orthophotos and data for the digital surface model. The JAS camera’s counterpart in space is the product line JSS (Jena Spaceborne Scanner). This satellite-based observation system bene- fits from the experience gained with our multi- spectral camera MKF 6, which was a six-chan- nel camera on the MIR Space Station operating in a single frame modus and using film as the imaging and storage media. Jena- Optronik applies modern imaging principles and components to build low-cost optical spaceborne scanners in the VIS/NIR and SWIR wavelength ranges. This leads to instrument designs optimised with respect to minimum size and mass, power consumption, and cost. The first Jena Spaceborne Scanners were the payload of the RapidEye mission. The RapidEye satellite system is composed of five identical earth observation satellites each equipped with one multi-spectral imager from Jena-Optronik as the heart of the platform. On top of a DNEPR rocket all five satellites were launched from Baikonur, Kazakhstan on 29th of August this year. With the help of the imagers, the German company RapidEye AG will establish a commercial geo-information service able to gather over 4 million km² of high resolution, multi-spectral imagery per day. Covering the Earth’s surface continuously line-by-line (pushbroom principle) the Jena- Optronik imager enables the precise data acquisition of a 75 kilometre-wide (approx) strip of land with a pixel size of 6.5 metres out of 630 kilometres. Working in five spec-

18

(approx) strip of land with a pixel size of 6.5 metres out of 630 kilometres. Working

December 2008

Article

Detail Jena Airborne Scanner JAS 150: Connection to rack © Jena-Optronik GmbH.
Detail Jena Airborne Scanner JAS 150: Connection to rack © Jena-Optronik GmbH.

tral channels, and covering the wavelength range from visible to near infrared, it will pro- vide pin sharp, multi-spectral, high resolution images. The formation of the satellite system enables constant global coverage and there- fore up-to-date information on a daily basis. Due to the high repetition rate, the data gained will provide important information in the fields of environmental monitoring, land- scape architecture and disaster management. Beyond that there is going to be an increased commercial benefit for potential end users such as agricultural insurers, who need to forecast or report damages, institutions such as the EU, companies which trade in agricul- tural commodities and farm corporations that rely on precision crop management. With the development of the multi-spectral imagers for RapidEye Jena-Optronik success- fully entered the market of satellite-based earth observation instruments. The Jena- based company will be a member of the core team of Sentinel-2 for optical earth observa-

tion and Sentinel-3 for the observation of the oceans within the European earth observation program GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security). Furthermore, the imaging radiometer METimage is a planned German contribution for future operational Earth observation plat- forms in polar orbits (EUMETSAT Post-EPS). A core item of the instrument is a rotating tele- scope scanner to cover the large swath width which all polar platforms need for global cov- erage. The derotated image makes possible

the use of in-field spectral channel separa- tion, which allows the user to tailor individu- al channel GSD (ground sampling distance) and features like TDI (time delay and integra- tion). State-of-the-art detector arrays and read-out electronics can easily be employed. The reflecting telescope design can be expect- ed to support the most demanding upcoming requirements on image quality and ground resolution. METimage is supported by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

High Performance Data Acquisition

The Jena Airborne Scanner JAS 150s together with its photogrammetric processing software provides data with very high spatial resolu- tion, positional accuracy and radiometric res- olution. Using the JAS 150s, images with a ground pixel resolution of 5 cm [2 inches] at a flight altitude of 1000m [3280 feet] can be achieved at multiple stereo angles. When flying over an area, it is possible to record the nine CCD lines, including four multi-spectral bands as well as five stereo panchromatic channels, simultaneously in identical high resolution. Using the five stereo panchromatic channels the number and size of blind spots can be minimized. With the ASM software in combination with SOCET SET or inpho software the acquired data can be used for mapping of large areas as well as for creating highly-precise digital elevation models and orthophotos. Software integrations for further processing software packages are possible on request. Jena- Optronik offers the adaptation to all preva- lent peripheral systems in order to reduce

costs. It also offers several different modes to acquire a JAS150s, including buying, leasing and renting. Further performance features of the Airborne Scanner JAS 150s:

A new high-performance lens for all nine channels provides the highest geometric accuracy

High-precision geo-referencing with an aver- age error in subpixel range

High radiometric resolution of 12 bit

Gocher Heide, Germany © Jena-Optronik GmbH.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

of 12 bit Gocher Heide, Germany © Jena-Optronik GmbH. Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com December 2008 19

December 2008

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Article

Article 3D image, City of Jena, Germany © Jena-Optronik GmbH. • Extremely stable and reliable •

3D image, City of Jena, Germany © Jena-Optronik GmbH.

Extremely stable and reliable

Identical high resolution in all channels

The spectral separation of the RGB und NIR bands is optimally suitable for remote sens- ing requirements

With the thermally stabilized sensor head solid data acquisition is possible even under difficult environmental conditions

A 1.1 TB solid state storage, which can be swapped during the flight, allows uncom- pressed, lossless and secure data recording

Three different types of rack systems for camera control, data storage, operation and monitoring of the acquired data are avail- able as per customer requirement

Strong Partnership

Founded in 1991, Jena-Optronik GmbH was built upon the space department of Carl Zeiss Jena from Jenoptik and DASA (which became later a part of today’s EADS). In 2005, JENOP- TIK AG took over all shares. In recent years the company has become one of the leading instrument and system providers in the avia- tion and aerospace market. In addition, Jena- Optronik offers comprehensive services for the analysis of recorded data. Today Jena- Optronik, which has around 140 highly quali- fied employees at its site in Jena, is a 100 per- cent subsidiary of JENOPTIK AG. The location

of Jena, the German Optical Valley, is endowed with the unique potential of tradition and experience. The combination of abstract and applied research together with a powerful industry is outstanding within Germany. Since January 2008 the defence and aerospace business has been combined in the JENOPTIK AG Defence & Civil Systems divi- sion. This division combines electrics/- electronics, mechatronics, laser sensor systems, infrared technology, optics, opto- electronics and software within complex com- ponents, systems and facilities. It focuses on the areas of optical sensors and information systems, ground-based observa- tion platforms for intelligence and reconnais- sance as well as military and civil vehicle and aircraft equipment. This includes the genera- tion and supply of electrical energy, stabiliza- tion technology for weapons and optoelec- tronic sensors, radomes for military aircraft as well as composite structure elements for civil aircraft, in addition to mechatronic compo- nents and subsystems. For the security and space industry Jenoptik offers optoelectronic systems, multi-spectral camera systems for earth observation, and sensor systems for orbit and attitude control of satellites as well as software. In the sensor systems area its focus is on

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

21

laser distance measurement equipment for industry and defense, laser sensors for simu- lation, environmental sensors and metrology as well as infrared camera systems for ther- mal imaging, security and night vision. The division maintains production sites in Wedel near Hamburg, Jena, Essen and Altenstadt. The origins of the division go back to ESW GmbH and Jena-Optronik GmbH as well as the sensor systems business unit of JENOPTIK Laser, Optik, Systeme GmbH.

Gerald Albe gerald.albe@jena-optronik.de, 32, born in Thuine, Germany, studied computer science at the University Bielefeld; after his diploma he became responsible for the development of the processing soft- ware for the JAS150 camera of Jena-Optronik GmbH in 2005; since May 1st 2008 Mr Albe is Director of the Airborne Sensors division of the Jena-Optronik GmbH. Annett Feige annett.feige@jena-optronik.de, 29, born in Halle/Saale, Germany; studied Media Design at the Bauhaus University Weimar; after her diploma she became responsible for the public relations activities of Jena-Optronik GmbH in 2004; since October 1st 2008 Mrs. Feige is Director Marketing of the Defence & Civil Systems division within JENOPITK AG. For further information please visit the website:

division within JENOPITK AG. For further information please visit the website: www.jena-optronik.de . December 2008

December 2008

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Article

What exactly is Web 2.0?

The most recent Version of the Internet

Changes can often happen very quickly and that certainly goes for changes in the digital world. The Internet was for a long time just that ‘the Internet’, but nowadays everyone is talking about Web 2.0. But what exactly is Web 2.0? Is it a big change or is it nothing more than a good sounding term that sounds bigger than it actually is?

The term Web 2.0 stands for a new phase that has started in the development of the World Wide Web. The term implies that even more versions could follow, and also that a pre- ceding phase has existed, Web 1.0. If you’ve never heard of Web 1.0, you should not be ashamed. Web 1.0 is a term that has been made up to describe the development phase the internet went through from around 1994 until the beginning of the 21st century. In 1994 the gopher-protocol for internet was surpassed by http-based browsers, such as Mosaic. Experts disagree about the exact date of the end of the Web 1.0 period: where one speaks of 2004, the other mentions 2001with the burst of the internet bubble as the ending period. Web 1.0 was the stage when large numbers of consumers discovered the internet. During this period the first search engines appeared, the first browser war between Netscape and Microsoft Explorer took place and the MP3 became a standard for saving music files. The typical features that distinguish Web 1.0 from Web 2.0, were statistic websites instead of dynamic generated content. Besides that, the use of frames and online guest books were dis-

By Lambert-Jan Koops

tinctive, along with GIF-buttons that had a stan- dard size of 88 by 31pixels and HTML-type doc- uments that were sent through e-mail.

Interactive Web Applications

The change that comes with Web 2.0, is the development of the World Wide Web from a col- lection of separate sites to an independent plat- form with fully interactive web applications. The ‘new’ internet consists of pages that contain functions which allow users to perform a range of tasks. Typical techniques used to enable this are Flash and/or AJAX. With this functionality it is possible to give a website the same look and feel as a normal desktop application, such as Word or Excel, and allow the user to change the contents of a web page in realtime. These are called ‘Rich Internet Applications’ (RIA’s). For this, the user doesn’t need to install any soft- ware on his or her pc, but only needs to start any internet browser. Thanks to Flash and AJAX it is not only possi- ble to offer functions of existing desktop appli- cations on the internet, but also new function- alities, such as forum software and publication tools that have been designed for weblogs.

Also, popular sites such as YouTube and Flickr are typical Web 2.0 products.

Four Levels

The Web 2.0 level of the current software is dependent on the way the consumer makes use of it. Tim O’Reilly, the man who introduced the term Web 2.0 stated that there are four different levels to be distinguished. Appli- cations on level zero work online as well as offline. The packs of level one also work online as well as offline, but have disposition over heavier functions when they are used online. On level two, offline use is still possi- ble, but the focus lies in its online functional- ity. Eventually, level three applications will only function on the internet. This is because they cannot perform their functions stand-alone as they are dependent on input from online sources such as Wikipedia, for example.

A Single Source

One of the biggest carriers of Web 2.0 is Google. The company developed the RIA’s Google Docs and Spreadsheets and is the owner of YouTube. In addition, the company

24

developed the RIA’s Google Docs and Spreadsheets and is the owner of YouTube. In addition, the

December 2008

owns the well-known geographic tool Google Earth, a typical Web 2.0 program of level two. This may sound contradictory, because users who see their internet connection die when using Google Earth, will see the message:

“Google Earth can not establish a new ses- sion with the EarthServer”. Although Google Earth keeps on working only data that are

locally available (in cache) will be displayed.

A reason for classifying Google Earth on level

two, lies in the fact that the basis data for the software come from one single source. If a user were to save all data from the EarthServer locally, he would still be able to deploy a big part of the functionality. In the same way, a route planner can work with part of the roadwork that has been saved in the cache and interaction with other users is not strictly necessary. For extras, however, an internet connection is necessary. For example, those who want to study photos originated by other users through Google Earth, will have to follow the hyperlink to the place on the internet where this photo is saved. Also, for viewing information added by third parties on locations, an internet connection is required.

Map Applications

A company such as Autodesk also talks regu-

larly about Web 2.0 possibilities for the CAD and GIS systems the company develops. Mostly this is done by Geoff Zeiss. The term

is primarily linked with the MapGuide-suite,

which consists of three parts: Autodesk MapGuide Studio, Autodesk MapGuide Enterprise and MapGuide Open Source. It is mentioned explicitly that there is a new func- tionality available for creating Web 2.0-type map applications with the 2009 version of the software. With this functionality end users can view and analyse ‘spatial’ information. To summarize, MapGuide itself is not so much

information. To summarize, MapGuide itself is not so much Tim O’Reilly invented the term Web 2.0

Tim O’Reilly invented the term Web 2.0 and divided the application into four levels.

Web 2.0 oriented, as are the products that can be made with it. However, a product from Autodesk that does have explicit features of Web 2.0 is Buzzsaw. This is a web-based sys- tem that is meant to exchange building infor- mation between owners, commissioners, designers, architects, contractors and other stakeholders during the lifecycle of a build- ing. This all makes it a Web 2.0 software pro- gram from level three. The use of the soft- ware has no value at all if none of the parties update their system at the moment that new information is available.

Sharing Ideas

Actually, all online cooperating tools signify that they’re on level three of the Web 2.0 scale. In this way, a company such as Bentley is occupied with the development of such

Google Earth is Web 2.0 of level two.
Google Earth is Web 2.0 of level two.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

25

Article

products, for example in the form of ProjectWise. Less obvious Web 2.0 develop- ments have, as is the case of Autodesk, not yet been communicated. According to a press release, the BE Careers Networks Resume Center makes use of a new system based on Web 2.0, while the term is also linked to the developing software GenerativeComponents. This deals with a platform that allows users to share ideas and learn about this way of designing. For the company’s geospatial prod- ucts, it makes use of Web 2.0 technology, although until now it has not been stressed much in terms of communication.

GIS on the Web

One company that has published several arti- cles on Web 2.0 is ESRI. For example, it has been mentioned explicitly as a motivation for the development of GeoWeb. GIS on the web is, in the words of CEO Jack Dangermond:”…a big, widely-spread, partitioned cooperation of knowledge and discovery that promotes and maintains the worldwide sharing of informa- tion and interoperability. I foresee a whole set of applications that will cooperate synergisti-

cally for diverging goals. Our current individu- al systems will be adopted in a sort of sys- tem of systems.” Dangermond’s quote may sound rather abstract, but it comes down to the fact that

a product such as GeoWeb is not absolute in

terms of functionality and content. Because end users add data to the system, it will grow into a very rich source of information. It is much larger that the sum of its parts, a very typical thing for a Web 2.0 application.

Conclusion

For some time now, the term Web 2.0 has been mentioned more and more in articles and press releases. However, this does not mean that a revolution is taking place in the digital world. It’s a fact that a whole lot of Web 2.0 functionality has been added to soft-

ware during the last few years, without explic- itly mentioning this fact. For example, look at all cooperating software in the field of geog- raphy, building, designing and planning. Currently Web 2.0 is a fashionable term that

is used more actively by one party than the

other. It’s a term that describes the use of cer-

tain techniques, nothing more and nothing less. A software developer can develop Web 2.0 without knowing he’s working with Web 2.0. For those of you who haven’t heard about Web 2.0 you haven’t missed much, only a def- inition.

Lambert-Jan Koops info@lambertjan.nl is a former editor of GeoInformatics. For more information, have a look at www.autodesk.com, www.bentleyl.com, www.wikipedia.com and tim.oreilly.com.

have a look at www.autodesk.com , www.bentleyl.com , www.wikipedia.com an d tim.oreilly.com. December 2008

December 2008

Article

Making Forest Management simpler and less costly

Magellan’s latest GPS Tools

The latest GIS and GPS technologies are offering new efficiencies for land managers. Forest and woodlot property mapping and management are increasingly more accurate and less time-consuming tasks with the newest handheld GPS receivers. Now field teams can accurately map and inventory more types of data in less time to permit land managers to maintain up-to-date and comprehensive resource data. The rugged all-in-one quality of the new handheld Magellan MobileMapper CX GIS/GPS receiver is proving especially valuable to land managers in both Europe and the United States.

By Robert Wick

in both Europe and the United States. By Robert Wick Navigating to the work site with

Navigating to the work site with the MobileMapper CX.

26

both Europe and the United States. By Robert Wick Navigating to the work site with the

December 2008

Timber trespass can be a serious problem, but once a tree falls on a neighboring proper- ty, it is a little late to discuss property bound- aries. Fortunately, property owners, timber companies and government agencies now have available new tools to make marking woodlot boundaries faster, simpler and less costly. The newest GPS receivers coupled with the latest geographic information system (GIS) software and topographic and orthophoto- graphic map overlays are giving foresters a new and more efficient way to mark forest and woodlot boundaries and better manage the entire spectrum of forest resources. Many foresters in North America and Europe are embracing the new technology. Take Tom Caperton and his son, Stephen, they flag and paint timber parcel boundaries for DeNoon Lumber Company, an Ohio-based lum- ber and timber company. As early adopters of the new technology, the Capertons have been using a Magellan MobileMapper CE GPS receiv- er GIS unit for the past three and a half years. After DeNoon buys the timber on a parcel, Caperton is responsible for flagging and paint-

a parcel, Caperton is responsible for flagging and paint- Marking woodlot boundaries and collecting resource with

Marking woodlot boundaries and collecting resource with the MobileMapper CX handheld GIS/GPS receiver.

ing the harvest boundaries to ensure DeNoon's harvesting crews do not encroach upon adjacent properties. “The timber harvest crews are then instructed to leave a small buffer zone between the flagged boundaries and the harvest line,” he says. All of Caperton’s work is done in real time. “We never go back to the office to post-pro- cess data,” he says. “We must flag and paint while we’re on the parcel.” Caperton carries an external antenna in his backpack as well as the MobileMapper Beacon, which improves real-time positioning accuracy by providing DGPS corrections to the

Article

MobileMapper. But because most of the areas he works in are not serviced by beacons and often he is down in deep ravines, a beacon signal is not always available. However with a backpack external antenna, Caperton says he gets meter to sub-meter accuracy and uses WAAS corrections. DeNoon operates between 10 and 15 timber harvesting crews working 150 to 200 parcels annually in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Using a MobileMapper CE with TDS SOLO Field GIS mapping software, Caperton is continually on the move from par- cel to parcel throughout the region. His sched- ule is so hectic “sometimes logging crews are waiting for us on site when we arrive,” he says.

Heavy Work Schedule

With Caperton’s non-stop work schedule, he estimates he’s in the field marking woodlot boundaries with his Magellan MobileMapper CE, GPS/GIS receiver about 30 hours virtually each and every week during the past three and a half years. “The accuracy of MobileMapper CE and its suc-

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MobileMapper CX
MobileMapper CX

Mappers are loaded with forest digital back- ground maps in 1:10000 scale, showing forest, road and river information, and forest invento- ry data base information. The MobileMapper CXs are used for a wide vari- ety of tasks, including navigating to the forest properties, boundary cutting measurements,

cessor the MobileMapper CX has shown itself

to

canopies where one would normally expect to

forest fire measurements, game cadastre man- agement, game supervision, and biotope stud- ies, including bird nesting studies and animal counts. According to Juris Zarins, GIS division head for SFS, the MobileMapper CX is deliver- ing the one-meter accuracy required for mark- ing forest cutting boundaries and the two- meter accuracy that they require for other tasks. The units run ESRI ArcPad 7.1, a GIS and field mapping software, and are load- ed with the state forest service and orthophoto background maps. SFS chose the MobileMapper CX for its con- venience, simplicity and combination GPS receiver and GIS data collector in a single unit. Since the units would be used by field foresters skilled in analog cartography and surveying methods, but not digital equip- ment, it was important that the new digital equipment be easy to use. SFS considered buying separate pocket PC and GPS devices connected by Bluetooth, but the rugged all- in-one quality of the MobileMapper CX was significantly more appealing. The SFS is a state-administered civil insti- tution within the Latvia Ministry of Agriculture, responsible for pursuing a uni- fied forest policy, controlling observance of the provisions of statutory acts, imple- menting support programs, and ensuring the use of sustainable forest management practices in all of Latvia’s forests. Zarins says, “We are still in the beginning phase of rolling out the MobileMapper CXs. What we like best now is the device’s mobility and the convenience of having a GPS and hand- held PC in one device. Its performance is quite acceptable for our work, particularly since we are able to take into the field large amounts of necessary data, including raster data, and use it together with the ESRI ArcPad application”.

Robert Wick, robertwick@verizon.net writes about the latest GPS and GIS technologies. For more information, have a look at http://pro.magellangps.com

be particularly good even under tree

lose lock at least some of the time,” says Jacek Pietruczanis, Magellan product marketing man- ager, GIS solutions. “The MobileMapper CX is

so

ty to set the SNR (signal to noise ratio) mask

productive under foliage thanks to its abili-

in the receiver. The forester can adjust this level to obtain position data even in very dense foliage. For example, setting the SNR number to the lowest possible level means the MobileMapper CX will only reject very ‘noisy’ signals. This setting should be used only when a position is absolutely required even with the possibility of some error.” The MobileMapper CX is consistently produc-

tive under foliage. But in rare instances, when very dense foliage causes accuracy to fall out- side the sub-meter range, an optional exter-

nal

meter quality. During a recent test conducted by the JRC (Joint Research Centre – European Com- mission), MobileMapper CX was tested and demonstrated in difficult environments, where the conditions of measurements (vis-

antenna can easily improve results to sub-

ibility of satellites) were unstable for the par-

cel

on

both cases MobileMapper CX was achieving

borders due to forest trees, and even

parcels covered completely by forest. “In

surprisingly good results which were below

the

EU

maximum threshold buffer allowed by the

Regulation” says Pietruczanis.

Overseas

In another example of the growing popularity of the new GPS/GIS units, this one on the other side of the Atlantic, the Latvian State Forest

Service (SFS) has just outfitted its entire mobile workforce with MobileMapper CX handhelds. In Latvia these new digital GPS positioning devices are replacing measuring tapes and sur-

vey

compasses.

The

SFS purchased 124 Magellan MobileMapper

CX

handheld GPS/GIS units, which were dis-

tributed to foresters in 11 state-managed forests and 113 local forest jurisdictions. The Mobile-

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December 2008

Article

Solar Cycle and beyond

GNSS Update

The next solar cycle is coming. The “older” surveyors amongst us will remember the last cycle with its peak in 2001. The “younger” generation however has been pampered with stand-alone GPS accuracies of 2-3 meters and sub-meter dGPS results. One can however reasonably expect that this will not last.

By Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk

Russian Proton-K rocket with Glonass satellites en-route to the launch platform.
Russian Proton-K rocket with Glonass satellites en-route to the launch platform.

Sun spots cause heightened amounts of charged particles in the iono- sphere. During normal circumstances a single frequency GPS receiver uses a model to determine the delay of the signal through the iono- sphere. But during a solar storm the amount of particles will deviate from that in the model, resulting in a position degradation of meters. Users of multiple frequency receivers are less affected but will probably show a reduction in baseline lengths. The solution: new signals, but whether they will be available on time remains to be seen.

GPS

GPS Satellite SVN37, which was retired just under a year ago, was re- activated in October and is once again transmitting as PRN01. The satel- lite has only a single healthy clock and as such there is no guarantee

30

that it will operate for long. For that reason it has been set unhealthy initially and is not included in the broadcast almanacs. Meanwhile, the launch of the Block IIR-20 satellite with its L5 demon- stration payload has been delayed again, with an expected new launch date sometime in 2009. Either this satellite or the first block IIF satel- lite must be launched before August 26, 2009 in order to keep the L5 frequency allocation. The delay is the result of problems with the Delta II launcher provided by Boeing while the first IIF satellite is still ‘in development and build’ at Boeing. Boeing has been awarded a $153.5 million contract to demonstrate High Integrity GPS technical concepts. The objective is to combine sig- nals from the Iridium satellites as well as the GPS satellites to enhance availability, integrity, accuracy and the jam-resistant capabilities for war- fighters. Iridium is a satellite communication system with worldwide coverage.

Russian Proton-K rocket on the launch platform.
Russian Proton-K rocket on the launch platform.
is a satellite communication system with worldwide coverage. Russian Proton-K rocket on the launch platform. December

December 2008

Article

Artist impression of the Galileo system
Artist impression of the Galileo system

Terminiation of P(Y) code in 2020

In the last GNSS review the possible termination of the P(Y) code on both L1 and L2 was men- tioned. On September 23, the US Depart- ment of Defense (DoD) published a notice stating that it will indeed cease to sup- port codeless / semi- codeless GPS access as of December 31, 2020. This means that after this date there is no guarantee that the current L1 / L2 type receivers, as used for

example in RTK sur- veying, will work. The DoD has stated that it "will reassess the transition date should signifi- cant GPS program delays arise."

determining that it is functioning as expect- ed. According to SST the new Maser clocks on board Giove-B promise improved accuracy compared to the rubidium clock on Giove-A.

Procurement Plan

The European Com- mission (EC) has nar- rowed the list of potential contractors down to 11. With the procurement process open to non-European companies, a consor-

by

tium

Lockheed Martin is now in the running for building the ground

control system. The procurement as a whole is not progressing very quickly according to Astrium Satellites and Thales Alenia Space which have urged the EC to accelerate the process. At the moment it is expected that no con- tracts will be signed until at least mid-2009. How this will affect the planning of Galileo is unclear.

lead

Interoperability

GPS - Galileo

The United States and Europe have renewed their vows for the interop- erability of GPS and Galileo. Representatives from both have met at the US Naval Observatory in Washington (USA). One result of the joint work has been the so-called common civil signal referred to as L1c (GPS) and E1 Open Service (Galileo). This signal is already being trans- mitted by Giove-B as well as a GPS-Galileo time offset signal.

Glonass

In September 2008 a total of three Glonass satellites had been suc- cessfully launched, bringing the number of satellites to 17 at the time

of writing. Another 3 satellites are planned for launch on December 25, 2008. The intention is still to have 30 Glonass satellites in orbit by

2011.

The good news is that the Russian space program has received addi- tional funding of $2.6 billion from the Russian government, most of which will go into new satellites. In addition, Putin has plans to sign for another $1.8 billion. Meanwhile production of the first Glonass-K satellites is well under way, with the first scheduled for launch in 2010. This type of satellite should last at least 12 years compared to the few years the current Glonass-M satellites last.

Compass versus the World

The interoperability between Chinese built Compass and Galileo / GPS is running less smoothly. So far Galileo / GPS have assumed that Compass would do something about the signals planned on Galileo / GPS frequencies. Although no definitive answer has been given to that assumption, a recent study from Taiwan suggests that interoperability is not high on the Compass priority list. Compass will consist of 35 satellites in total and should begin opera- tion in 2013. Of the 35 satellites, 27 will be orbiting similarly to the other GNSS. Three satellites will be in so called inclined geo-syn- chronous orbits while the last 5 will be geo-stationary. With this mix the satellite visibility of Compass will be improved relative to other GNSS. One of the conclusions of the study is that “Compass alone can pro- vide similar performance to the Galileo / GPS combined system”. As a result there is a good possibility that there is, from the point of view of system design, no need for integration of GNSS over Asia.

Gagan

The Indian government has approved a $169 million funding for the Indian GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) project. According to Indian Aviation Minister Praful Patel the Gagan system would “cer- tainly be in place by 2011”. Gagan is the Indian equivalent to the US WAAS; European Egnos and Japanese MSAS.

Galileo

Surrey Satellite Technology (SST) has received an award from the European Space Agency (ESA) for its contribution to the Galileo pro- gram in general and Giove-A in particular. Giove-A, which was supposed to operate until spring 2008, has already had its mission extended. Furthermore the satellite appears to be more robust than Giove-B since it remained unaffected by a surge of radiation that forced Giove-B into safe mode for a week in September. The in-orbit testing for Giove-B has meanwhile been completed by SST,

Huibert-Jan Lekkerkerk hlekkerkerk@geoinformatics.com is project manager at IDsW and freelance writer and trainer. This article reflects his personal opinion.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

and trainer. This article reflects his personal opinion. Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com December 2008 31

December 2008

Article

Integrating GIS and Remote Sensing for Hydrological Modeling

Spatially Explicit Modeling of Phosphorus Emissions

Surface drainage contains nutrients and pollutants of diverse origin. While point sources are in most cases easily

identified, the diffuse inflow via different channels is difficult to account for. Analyzing annual land-use and

water-balance changes using GIS and remote sensing techniques can contribute to a spatial quantification of the

impact on substance flows in mesoscale catchments. In the framework of the project "SeenLandWirtschaft",

grassland areas of the Mondsee catchment were evaluated with regard to the emission of phosphorus discharge

to surface waters.

By Hermann Klug and Peter Zeil

Integrating various Data Sources for Water Resources Management

Hydrologists incorporate many data sources to assess water quantity and quality in spatially explicit terms. In this respect GIS and remote sensing techniques have emerged as a significant support tool for hydrological modeling. Both tools provide consistent methods for catchment analysis using standardized data sets like climate data (precipitation, evapotran- spiration), digital elevation models (DEM) for surface terrain modeling, land use and land cover (LULC) information derived from up-to-date satel- lite imageries, hydrological data (streams, rivers, ditches, gauging sta- tions), soil properties, and finally information on the geological setting. Together with remote sensing derived layers, GIS is accepted as a stan- dard for assembling and generating water resources information within a spatial decision support system (SDSS). Traditional water resources management systems primarily integrate time

series of observations collected for water resources phenomena. These include, for instance, daily rainfall, stream flow, and water quantity at gauging stations. With the use of GIS, this concept has been broadened to include geospatial data describing the properties of certain water envi- ronments. With an aggregated synthesis of spatial and temporal datasets, the water resources management system evolves into a Hydrologic Information System (HIS). Integrating datasets provides the basis for sys- tematically linking geospatial processes with time series collected at hydro- logical stations. This originates in the fact that the movement of water throughout the environment can be traced and hence makes it possible to construct time-sequenced maps of water and dissolved nutrient flows (Figure 2).

The Phosphorous Emissions – Linking Parcels and Rivers

Ditches, channels, rivers and streams transport water partly contaminated with dissolved or particle-bound nutrient sub- stances. They result from various sources such as waste treatment plants, industry or agriculture. With these substances involved, water quality is decreasing and substantial pressures on the ecosystem are increasing – especially considering the eutrophication of lakes. These driving factors are also affecting drinking and bathing waters. These circumstances are being addressed by the European Union which is making an effort to cope with these pressures through the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), set up in the year 2000. The WFD (Directive 2000/60/EC) seeks to ascertain water quality by identifying point and non-point source effects with subse- quent steps to ease these pressures by estab- lished action plans. The monitoring and evaluation of these action plans require information about the spatially explicit registration of runoff as well as the trans-

Figure 2
Figure 2

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require information about the spatially explicit registration of runoff as well as the trans- Figure 2

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Figure 3
Figure 3

port and substance exchange processes based on quantitative field mea- surements and modeling. While point sources are easy to detect, diffuse sources are difficult to estimate. Nowadays, however, non-point source emissions in particular have substantial effects on the ecological statuses of surface waters. Hence, state-of-the-art integrated modeling approaches are used to link up different input and output datasets. These combina- tions are realized through the ModelBuilder framework in ArcGIS 9.2 and allow for the transparent deduction of phosphorus emission calculations. Mathematical modeling is applied to different spatially explicit processes, controlling flows and fluxes of water and substances in the landscape. In particular, dissolved phosphorus transport as well as particle bound dis- charge of phosphorus are of importance when considering the nutrient status of lakes. This article proposes a geo-processing procedure to enhance spatially lumped and semi-lumped models by including weighted variables to consider the spatial variation of emissions. This procedure is evaluated for the Mondsee catchment in Austria comprising 96 sub-catch- ments where water samples have been taken for calibration. The charac- terization of the nutrient balance has been established by means of the following pathways of distribution: surface runoff, water-driven soil ero- sion, land drainage retention, interflow and groundwater as well as direct discharge through the atmosphere (Figure 3).

Main Objectives

The main objective of the Interreg IIIa project "SeenLandWirtschaft" was to secure and enhance socio-economic and ecological functionality in the Bavarian and Austrian pre-alpine "Lake District" with particular focus on the description of diffuse emissions pathways of phosphorus considering transport-related processes based on topographic and climate influences. Since water pollution control noted an increase of phosphorus loads to the Mondsee and Irrsee in the years 2002 and 2003, the quality of those water bodies (see fugure 6) has seemed to decrease due to the eutrophi- cation of lakes causing toxic algal blooms. If the process of eutrophica- tion and respective oxygen consumption continues, a change from aero- bic to anaerobic conditions might result in the death of plants and fish. However, we assumed a change in the system cycle causing increasing substance flows and hence increased loads of phosphorus to surface waters. Therefore, an investigation program encompassing a measuring program with 96 measuring sites and the development of a dispersion model describing the behavior of phosphorus in a defined hydrological system was implemented.

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The Case Study Area

The pre-alpine Lake District in the wider region around the Austrian city of Salzburg, capital of the federal state of Salzburg, is endowed with about

a dozen medium-sized lakes (plus a large number of small ones). The

study area is embedded in a landscape of hills in the north and west, and alpine mountains in the south. Although the Lake District can be regarded as one natural entity created by glaciers, the lakes are situated in differ- ent administrative regions: some in the federal state of Salzburg, some in what is known as the "Salzkammergut" area which belongs mainly to the federal state of Upper Austria, and some in the German federal state of Bavaria. This has implications for environmental planning and public action, which require collaboration across state and national borders. Accordingly, different parts of the Lake District are subject to different leg- islative conditions regarding, for instance, the regulations governing con- struction, the use of lakeshore areas, (waste) water management, envi- ronmental protection, and the preservation of nature (Figure 4).

Discharge Constituent Processes

Since water is the driving factor for phosphorus transport, a precise reflec- tion of discharge processes is an indispensable requirement. The total vol- ume of rainwater which is not lost by evaporation contributes to discharge.

This net precipitation is then split into two pathways: surface runoff and infiltration. Water infiltrated into the soil can either be transported lateral-

ly through interflow processes or vertically, percolating and contributing to

groundwater recharge. Furthermore, water infiltrating to the soil can be

collected within land drainage facilities (retention). Depending on the kind

of distribution channel the water follows, water concentration time speeds

up or slows down. When there is longer contact time (retention period) of the nutrients dissolved in the water, the self-purification potential of soils and streams lowers the nutrient contribution to the lakes. This buffer capacity or regulation potential is dependent on the efficiency of nutrient degradation through organisms, immobilization or precipitation based on certain soil properties or elements (e.g. Fe, Ca, and Al), the overall reten- tion period, and the filtration rate through the soil.

Phosphorus Concentration Rates

The amount of phosphorus discharge is based on its concentration within organic and inorganic matter of the topsoil. However, inorganic phospho- rus compounds are not easily soluble. In part they are present in mineral form, especially in Al, Fe and Ca bounds. Organic phosphorus connections

they are present in mineral form, especially in Al, Fe and Ca bounds. Organic phosphorus connections

December 2008

Article

Figure 4
Figure 4

occur in adsorbed form in orthophosphate ions and hence are also nearly insoluble. Based on the high phosphorus adsorption potential of mineral soils, the phosphor content of the soil solution is very low. Phosphorus is highly immobile within the soil. Considerable phosphorus loss is therefore assumed by soil erosion processes. Hence, the phosphorus content of topsoil is a crucial parameter in modeling phosphorus emissions. But in a grassland-dominated area like the Mondsee catchment, soil erosion is assumed to be low. However, it is not only soil erosion that causes phos- phorus emissions. Surface runoff and infiltration through macro pores also carry soluble nutrients; this is especially the case under sandy layers, soils with a high groundwater level and after fertilization with slurry shortly before heavy rain events. Therefore, we consider grassland intensity an important parameter explaining phosphorus emissions. The number of cuts is related to the frequency with which fertilizers are brought out. The reason is that the amount of nutrients brought to the field equilibrates the nutrients taken off of the field. Additionally, the datasets from the Integrative Administration Control System (IACS) which provides data on farm and parcel relations as well as livestock numbers help to capture the annual nutrient farm balance and an estimate of the amount of nutrients brought to the farm parcels.

of the amount of nutrients brought to the farm parcels. Figure 5 Estimating the Number of

Figure 5

Estimating the Number of Grassland Cuts

The number of grassland cuts per growing sea- son (during the year 2005 in this case) was taken as the measure for grassland intensity. The assumption is that a higher percentage of inten- sively-used plots (more than two cuts per year) will result in a higher amount of nutrients been offloaded. The nutrient dynamics imply that mate- rial is removed in the form of harvested grass, but also an increase in disseminating manure for bal- ancing out the removal, whereby the timing of the manure offload is critical with respect to precipi- tation. An increased contribution of nutrients transported into the surface drainage seems most likely. Several pathways are possible: surface runoff, drainage channels, interflow, the ground- water system and erosion. Monitoring annual land use changes to locate

areas of different intensities was carried out by the monthly acquisition of satellite imagery from the ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer) sensor. Two ASTER scenes following in sequence are com- bined for Spectral Temporal Change Classification (STCC). This results in a spatially explicit representation of grassland intensity documented by the number of cuts during the 2005 growing season (Figure 5).

Surface Runoff

Surface runoff reflects the portion of water which flows above ground before reaching surface water bodies. Hence, it is dependent on runoff and drainage capacity. While the first mainly depends on average ground slope and vegetation cover (percentage of cover and vegetation type), the latter is influenced by rainfall (amount, intensity, storms, duration, fre- quency), time distribution of precipitation, soil moisture, soil water reduc- tion time based on pore size distribution and pore volume.

Particle Bound Phosphorus Emissions

Soil erosion caused by surface water runoff can be estimated using the

Universal Soil Loss Equation (USLE). Predicting soil erosion by means of USLE has already been implemented as a standard by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN 19798). The predicted erosion represents the potential long-term average annual soil loss in

tons per hectare and year, and this amount of loss is compared to the "tolerable soil loss" limits. The soil erosion equation consists of a number of parameters which can be processed within a GIS: the rainfall and runoff factor by geographic location (R), the soil erodibility factor (K), the slope length-gradient factor (LS) to be derived from DEM data, the crop/vegetation and manage- ment factor (C) to be derived from satellite imagery and/or correspondence with farmers, and finally the support practice factor reflecting the effects of practices that reduce the amount and rate of the water runoff (P).

Interflow and Groundwater Discharge

The process of water percolating into the soil is called infiltration. This subsurface drainage is based on pores filled up with air and water. The amount of water able to infiltrate is dependent upon soil texture, pore volume, pore size distri-

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The amount of water able to infiltrate is dependent upon soil texture, pore volume, pore size

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Figure 6

Figure 6

bution, and soil moisture. When talking about subsurface runoff (inter- flow), we mean the lateral runoff within the macro pore system or matrix water flows while the percolation processes are perceived as vertical. When infiltrating water is blocked by certain soil horizons, the soil matrix cannot absorb more water. In this case, lateral flows following the surface slopes towards more permeable horizons occurs based on hydraulic gradients.

Drainage Runoff

For those agricultural fields which have undergone hydro melioration in recent times, water is captured in drainage retention facilities to dry out the respective parcel of land for better management. In this case water is no longer contributing to groundwater recharge but instead is directly transported through ditches to rivers and lakes. Therefore, data capturing the drainage facilities is required. If these datasets are not available, geo- processing algorithms exist which can estimate the location of those parcels of land which are potentially drained.

Combination of Transport Concentrations

Summing up all the phosphorus emissions from the different pathways leads to a distributed representation of the nutrient discharge. However, as explained above, water discharge is based on a couple of interconnect- ed processes which are influenced by different location properties. Due to these interconnections we are able to conceptually aggregate some of these processes which are strongly correlating and therefore reacting in smaller variances. These semi-distributed quasi-homogeneous units are called Hydrological Response Units (HRU).

Discussion

Geographical Information Systems are perfect tools to support spatial con- siderations in the context of integrated water resources management. This comprises data storage and geo-processing while, so far, the considera- tion of time in a GIS is limited. The time dimension is not fixed as a coor- dinate or time stamp within dynamic processes. A work-around measure is to sequentially number different datasets and allocate them in a certain time span for the representation of flow dynamics. GIS are also limited in modeling special hydrological flow equations. However, Darcy flow algorithms supporting the calculation of pollution dis-

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charge, for example, are available in ArcGIS. The precipitation-discharge models can be applied using map algebra functions such as flow accumu- lation, flow direction and slope within catchments. But again, GIS in com- parison to special hydrological modeling environments remain limited in consistent calibration and validation procedures.

Conclusion

Through ArcGIS 9.x, ESRI provides a sophisticated environment for dis- tributed spatially explicit modeling. In particular, the geo-processing capa- bilities with ModelBuilder, python, VB, VBA and other programming lan- guages besides ArcObjects are convenient tools either to apply already existing methodologies or to develop new ones. Customized tasks can be compiled as Dynamic Link Library (DLL) files and subsequently distributed among the community or directly integrated in ArcGIS. Many free and commercial tools have been developed in recent years, but none of them is comprehensive enough to capture all options. Since not all of them deliver the source code for free, there should be enough space for more than one phosphorus emission modeling (PEM) application in this field. Therefore, hydrological modeling in ArcGIS is neither something new nor does this approach replace an existing solution; it occupies a niche that, so far, has not been filled adequately by other software solu- tions. The specific strength of ArcGIS is the support of different data storage facilities (personal and file geodatabase, Oracle Spatial or any other free spatial database solution) and the performance of the geo-processing tasks. In particular, solutions in dataset interoperability supporting various proprietary and non-proprietary file formats make them very handy and integrable through data exchange mechanisms. Furthermore, the visualiza- tion capabilities in digital or analogous maps, 3D (animations) as well as distribution to virtual globes such as ArcExplorer fit the needs of GIS pro- fessionals. The same applies to the pre-processing steps such as coordi- nate transformation or data quality assurance facilities.

Hermann Klug hermann.klug@sbg.ac.at a researcher at the Centre for Geoinformatics (Z_GIS) at the University of Salzburg, Austria. Peter Zeil has 20+ years of professional experience in water resources management. With a professional education in geophysics and hydrology, his research and in situ project expertise complement the scientific facets of many national and international projects.

in situ project expertise complement the scientific facets of many national and international projects. December 2008

December 2008

Article

Article A GIS Desktop Solution for an Open SDI Open Source in Spain: the gvSIG Project

A GIS Desktop Solution for an Open SDI

Open Source in Spain:

the gvSIG Project

GvSIG is European Commission project for creating a large open source GIS, that had its origin in Valencia, Spain. It was developed for the Regional Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in Valencia, but now has many collaborating organizations for expanding the GIS. This article describes the user requirements for such a system, its functionality as a powerful SDI client and different phases of the project in developing this open GIS.

By Alvaro Anguix, Laura Díaz and Mario Carrera

open GIS. By Alvaro Anguix, Laura Díaz and Mario Carrera View overlapping local and remote data

View overlapping local and remote data from Cadastre WMS and IDEE WMS

Data editing overlapping WMS Cadastre layer
Data editing overlapping WMS Cadastre layer

gvSIG started in 2002 when the Regional Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (CIT) of Valencia started to analyze the process of migrat- ing the organization’s computer system to an open source system. The first phase was to achieve an analysis of different proprietary software applications used in all areas of the organization. The main goal of this exhaustive analysis was to find open source projects equivalent to each proprietary application. When studying the GIS applications used in the CIT, the conclusion was that there was no equivalent in the open source world for these applications, using mainly ESRI and Autodesk products, but there were many open source development projects that could be used to develop an open source GIS with a good chance of success. After an extensive user survey regarding the actual needs of the vari- ous GIS users at the agency, it was determined that a full GIS was not necessary for 90% of the users. Instead they only needed access to spatial data, a simple query capability, and the ability to overlay and check for consistency and basic output. Therefore, the CIT published a call for tenders to build such a client application, with the main restric- tions being that the software should be open source and available for testing in both Java and C++ versions, and to be able to run on both Windows and Linux platforms. The winning bid, consisting of a work-

ing prototype, has since been developed into a fully-functional GIS. In the beginning, the development process was a four-way effort between the government agency funding the project (CIT), the company select- ed to implement (Iver), a university consultant on interoperability mat- ters (University Jaume I), and the wider open software development community.

Platform Independent

An analysis of the current software used by the technicians showed that there was no equivalent open source GIS and CAD software that fulfilled their requirements, the most basic of which were “it must be easy-to-use and powerful enough to cover all their GIS needs.” After this conclusion it was necessary to find out what exactly were the user requirements, and which tools were they using. This was the first task of the gvSIG project. The final report containing the GIS and CAD users needs included an evaluation from users which lead to the con- clusion that 90% of them utilized just 20% of the functionality of the proprietary software. With this information it was deemed affordable and possible to develop a software solution in open source to share with the rest of the GIS community. The main characteristics of the pro- ject inherited from the migration process had to be:

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GIS community. The main characteristics of the pro- ject inherited from the migration process had to

December 2008

Article

Article Colour tables applied over an Envi image • Platform independent • Modular; it must be
Article Colour tables applied over an Envi image • Platform independent • Modular; it must be

Colour tables applied over an Envi image

• Platform independent

• Modular; it must be developed using independent modules adding scalability value.

• License GNU/GPL as the open source license adopted.

• It must follow the current standards defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). The first prototype of gvSIG was released on October 2nd, 2004, and with an ongoing development process newer and more stable versions have been released leading to the current 1.1.2 version.

gvSIG GIS Desktop Application

Nowadays gvSIG is considered a powerful SDI client. As a GIS applica- tion gvSIG is able to work with most of the known data formats includ- ing raster and vector formats like shapefile, dxf, dwg, dgn and most of the geospatial databases such as Postgis, Mysql, Oracle and SDE. It provides the most common GIS tools such as data loading, map navi- gation, distance measurement, and can query map information. It also contains thematic cartography, legend edition using the most common legend types, labeling, feature selection, data tables with statistics, ordering, table relations, table linking, layout manager, geoprocessing tools, CAD, raster processing, etc. Its SDI client condition allows the connection, through the use of stan- dards, to OGC Services like OGC WMS (raster and vector data returned as georeferenced map images), OGC WFS (advanced access to vector data), and OGC WCS (advanced access to raster information), accessing data and being able to overlap and combine it in gvSIG map views. Discovery service client is also provided within gvSIG which can be used to localize data resources within an SDI. The discovery services imple- mented in gvSIG are Catalogue Service (the user can perform searches looking for cartographic resources using keywords like name, theme, scale etc.) and Gazetteer Service (a service with a list of georeferenced terms, i.e., a list in which each toponym has information about its geo- graphic coordinates).

Integrating Advanced CAD Tools

CAD software is used in many fields from architecture to industrial design. The technicians at the Conselleria de Infrastructuras y Transporte used the CAD proprietary software (AutoCAD and MicroStation) for cartographic use. In this migration to OS, it was decided to integrate such tools within gvSIG to get rid of the proprietary software and license costs. At the same time anoth-

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er phase started called “Integrating CAD, geoprocessing and topology tools in gvSIG”. The main goal was not implementing a standalone CAD application but to integrate the required CAD tools within gvSIG. These tools let users rigorously edit the cartographic data. This way users did not need to edit the data using CAD programs, create topology and then analyze the data in GIS applications. With these tools everything was integrated in the same application, so that all the required functionality was available in gvSIG. The 1.0 version of gvSIG incorporated this functionality for the vector data edition. Since then users have been able to modify, create and delete elements as well as edit, for instance, a shapefile, a layer from a spatial geodatabase or a CAD-format file. gvSIG is provided with tools for inserting elements like points, polygons, lines, ellipses, etc., and tools to modify their rotation and symmetry. Newer ver- sions will include frequently-used CAD tools such as lengthen, cut-out, etc.

Integrating Advanced Raster Tools

Nowadays gvSIG provides some of the typical tools of raster GIS. With the current version we can add some of the most common formats to work with raster information like georeferencing images, set image transparency, adjust brightness and contrast, and highlight. Spatial analysis functions are being added to gvSIG as part of the new raster functionality, with visualization and visual analysis tools utilizing

Route calculation with gvSIG
Route calculation with gvSIG
raster functionality, with visualization and visual analysis tools utilizing Route calculation with gvSIG December 2008 37

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3D Extension
3D Extension

histograms, masks, colour tables, and image processing. In the same way gvSIG aimed to integrate both raster and vector worlds by imple- menting an advanced module to vectorize and rasterize data. A parallel project of huge interest is the project being developed by SEXTANTE team. SEXTANTE (Territorial Analysis System of Extremadura

)is a project developed by the University of Extremadura and financed by Junta de Extremadura. Initially it was an application over the SAGA

SIG main development

The intention was to migrate all this func-

tionality to gvSIG This effort has been a success, since the SEXTANTE Extension of gvSIG is now ready and available for download, including functions oriented towards the morphology and hydrology fields. All the available functions developed are listed in the gvSIG website docu- mentation.

Integrating other Advanced Tools

The main goal of gvSIG was cover- ing the requirements of most of the technicians
The main goal of gvSIG was cover-
ing the requirements of most of the
technicians at the Conselleria, this
goal we can consider to have been
reached with the current gvSIG ver-
sion 1.1.2. Furthermore, there were
users at the Conselleria that made
up the smaller percentage having a
real need for more advanced vec-
tor tools for their daily work. Those
tools are currently being developed
within the coming advanced mod-
ules. Some of this new functionali-
gvSIG Mobile

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Article

ty has appeared in the latest gvSIG versions, where we can find fea- tures such as network topology creation, best route calculation, and OGC service publishing wizards.

gvSIG Mobile

At the beginning of 2008, a smaller version of gvSIG was adapted for use in mobile devices. It was gvSIG Mobile. It supports shapefiles, ECW, WMS and images, and is able to make use of GPS systems. Some GPS support tools in gvSIG Mobile are: connection to internal and external receivers, position and coordinate information, centre automatically, saving tracklogs and waypoints, and satellite constellation. In the current version, only the visualization of layers and the genera- tion of GPS tracklogs/waypoints are supported. There is an extension available for gvSIG Desktop which allows cartographic information to be exported from gvSIG Desktop to gvSIG Mobile.

Future Work

gvSIG is a European Commission initiative and a long term R+D+I pro- ject with funds to work in the integration of new functionality over the next few years. By its very nature, gvSIG is an Open Source GIS which allows collabo- rators to grow in number. In the beginning the main partners were three organizations, namely CIT, IVER and University Jaume I. Nowadays, there are many administrations, organizations and various private companies that are providing support at both the national and international level. Some of these include the Instituto Cartográfico Nacional de España, Laboratorio Nacional de Geomática, IRSTV from France, Cartheme in Switzerland, el Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi de Colombia, Joint Research Centre from the European Commission, Instituto de Desarrollo Regional de Albacete, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Prodevelop, Fujitsu, Andago and Confederación Hidrográfica del Guadalquivir.

Alvaro Anguix alvaro.anguix@iver.es works at IVER Tecnologías de la Información. Valencia, Spain. Laura Díaz diazl@uji.es works at the Jaume I University of Castellón (Spain) Mario Carrera carrera_marrod@gva.es is External Assistant at Conselleria de Infraestructuras y Transporte. Generalitat Valenciana. For more information on the project, visit. www.gvsig.gva.es , https://www.gvsig.org

gvSIG source code repository SVN: http://subversion.gvsig.org/gvSIG

, https://www.gvsig.org gvSIG source code repository SVN: http://subversion.gvsig.org/gvSIG December 2008 39

December 2008

Article

Subsurface Geo Building Information Modelling

GeoBIM

In most geotechnical or construction projects civil engineers have to

conscientiously consider both technical subsurface objects and natural bedrock

objects. From a civil engineer’s perspective, there is an urgent need to extend

the Building Information Model concept to the subsurface realm, incorporating

the surrounding natural environment.

By Fritz Zobl and Robert Marschallinger

natural environment. By Fritz Zobl and Robert Marschallinger Figure 1: Geo Building Information Model schematic,

Figure 1: Geo Building Information Model schematic, comprising geological objects (light yellow callouts), hydroge- ological objects (blue callout) and technical objects (orange callouts). Typically, a GeoBIM data set covers complexly- shaped, natural objects as well as the relatively simple shapes of man-made objects. Such a framework can current- ly be best maintained by a combination of B-REP solid modelling and database systems. See text for more details.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is the process of generating and managing building data during a buildings life cycle. Typically it uses three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modelling software to increase pro- ductivity in building design and construction. The process produces the Building Infor- mation Model (also abbreviated BIM), which encompasses building geometry, spatial rela- tionships, geographic information, and quan- tities and properties of building components. Therefore BIM can be used to demonstrate the entire building life cycle, including con- struction, facility management and mainte- nance, demolition and terrain remediation. Typically, BIM and virtual 3D city models por- tray above ground surface technical objects and related properties. Hence, we propose a Geo Building Infor-

mation Model (GeoBIM) as a straightforward extension of the BIM concept – it enables the management of subsurface construction along with all geo-related (subsurface) data, such as geological, hydrogeological and geotechni- cal objects and properties. In this article we describe the components, objects, features, prototype applications and the potential of a GeoBIM.

Virtual 3D City Models & Building Information Modelling

In recent years, most virtual 3D city models have been realised as purely graphical or geo- metrical models, neglecting semantic and topological aspects. KML or X3D/VRML are strong in visualisation but have serious limi- tations regarding spatial relationships and semantics. Therefore, these models are most-

ly used for visualisation purposes but not for thematic queries, analytical tasks, or spatial data mining. Consequently, the City Geo- graphy Markup Language (CityGML) was developed in order to reach a common defi- nition of the basic entities, attributes, and relations that can be shared across different applications. Features of CityGML are, for example, digital terrain models, buildings, vegetation, water bodies, transportation facil- ities or city furniture. Going one step further, BIM technology enables detailed virtual mod- els of complete buildings. A BIM contains the precise geometry and attribute data necessary to support the construction, fabrication and procurement activities needed to realise the building. BIM also accommodates many of the functions for modelling the lifecycle of a build- ing, providing the basis for new construction capabilities and changes in the roles and rela- tionships among a project team. BIM facili- tates a more integrated design and construc- tion process that results in better quality at lower cost and reduced project duration. Architects, engineers as well as owners and facility managers can realise significant bene- fits on projects by using BIM processes and tools to streamline the delivery of higher qual- ity and better performing buildings (6). Currently, BIM and virtual 3D city models mostly imply technical objects and related properties above ground surface. In this arti- cle, we will focus on natural and technical subsurface objects and their role in a GeoBIM framework.

SubsurfaceGeoObjects

Subsurface geo objects build the underground or substratum we live on. These objects are defined by their location, 3D shape, composi- tion, structure, physical properties, dynamics, and history of associated geological materi- als (geological information) as well as their engineering behaviour (geotechnical informa- tion) and technical properties (technical infor- mation). We call this ensemble of objects SubsurfaceGeoObjects (‘S_GO’). The subsurface is predominantly made up of natural objects, formed and influenced by geological and climate processes over millions of years. These objects are named Subsur- faceNatureGeoObjects (‘S_NGO’). From a prag- matic GeoBIM perspective, S_NGO can be split into two categories: geological objects and hydrogeological objects. Due to natural varia-

40

can be split into two categories: geological objects and hydrogeological objects. Due to natural varia- 40

December 2008

Figure 2: Subsurface Geo Building modelling framework - GeoBIM. See text for detailed explanation. tion,

Figure 2: Subsurface Geo Building modelling framework - GeoBIM. See text for detailed explanation.

tion, S_NGO diversify and have a range from micro- to macro scale. Therefore, the elements of these categories can be further separated into several components (this clearly is appli- cation dependent – a tunnelling project in sediments will be based on different design criteria than one in hard rock), with a range from minerals to lithological units for exam- ple. Examples for S_NGO are lithological units like gravel, marble or a shear zone, or a groundwater body (see Fig.1). In any engineering project, besides S_NGO, technical subsurface objects exist. We call these technical objects SubsurfaceTechnical- GeoObjects (‘S_TGO’). Such objects are for example all elements of subsurface infrastruc- ture facilities like pipes, wiring, caverns, gal- leries or tunnels and the subsurface compo- nents of any building (e.g. a foundation, a subsurface parking area etc.). During con- struction of these technical objects, informa- tion about S_NGO is acquired by exploration.

S_NGO and S_TGO together make up the GeoBIM modelling framework (see figure 2).

Subsurface Modelling: B-REP Objects with Database Links

While geometrical solid models portraying S_TGO are the by-product of any up-to-date, CAD-based planning process, data on S_NGO typically have to be acquired in the pre-pro- ject phase by exploration. Usual data sources are mapping, remote sensing, geophysics and drilling. To be able to automatically interact with technical subsurface geo objects, natural subsurface object data have to be trans- formed into solid models of S_NGO. The industry’s standard approach to geometrical solid modelling is B-REP (7), which is offered by CAD systems. Providing NURBS functional- ity, current CAD systems (e.g., AutoCAD, Microstation, CATIA) are able to portray the complex shapes of S_NGO in addition to the geometrically straightforward S_TGO. In these

to the geometrically straightforward S_TGO. In these Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 41 Article CAD

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

41

Article

CAD systems, the total S_GO can be consis- tently combined via Boolean operations. With database information attached, S_GO can then be subject to concurrent spatial and attribute queries in 3D.

Changes in S_GO

Portraying a geotechnical project means keep-

ing track of a dynamic system with S_GO

changes being mostly project-related: the advancement of a tunnel, the excavation of a building pit, drilling and grouting activities, etc., will change both the S_NGO and the S_TGO ensembles. To a lesser extent, nature- induced changes also have to be considered

- e.g. ground water level variation. The consistent incorporation of change in geometry and shapes of associated S_GO objects is a particular challenge for the GeoBIM concept (compare figure 3).

GeoBIM - Application Range and Advantages

Whenever a new building is going to be con- structed, all relevant subsurface objects have to be considered. In construction projects a sound knowledge of position, geometrical shape and properties of subsurface objects is necessary. This pertains to all phases of a sub-

surface building’s life cycle: pre-design, design, construction and operation stages. As men- tioned above, subsurface objects can either

be natural objects (geology, hydrogeology), or

existing or planned technical objects such as cables, drain pipes or tunnels. In order to adapt the building to local conditions and to achieve secure and cost-effective construction, designers and engineers have to consider these subsurface objects at the same time. Access to all data concerning location, shape and properties of relevant subsurface objects,

as well as data quality (statistical information) is of prime importance for the experts involved during the entire project. In tunnelling, this need is expressed by several concurrent devel- opment activities of 3D tunnelling documen- tation software.

A Geo Building Information Modelling

approach enables the full, digital representa- tion of the building process and facilitates the exchange and interoperability of data. Typically, a GeoBIM data set comprises com- plexly-shaped, natural objects as well as the relatively simple shapes of man-made objects. Providing a development platform for design and administration tools of geospatial and geotechnical projects, the location, geometry

Figure 3: Location, shape, properties and number of S_GO changes. Any technical activity will change the S_NGO and S_TGO ensemble of a GeoBIM.

and number of S_GO changes. Any technical activity will change the S_NGO and S_TGO ensemble of

December 2008

Figure 4: S_TGO associated with a tunnelling project (detail of Fig. 0). S_NGO in front

Figure 4: S_TGO associated with a tunnelling project (detail of Fig. 0). S_NGO in front of the shear zone (here:

phyllite rocks) have been switched off to view the tunnelling infrastructure. The emergency shaft’s shell has been rendered transparently to visualise the interior, e.g., the stairs and the elevator shaft. See text for details.

and properties of S_GOs need to conform to open standards. This approach should enable engineers to build better and safer buildings, in a more efficient way.

Two Practical GeoBIM Examples

Geo Building Information Models have been developed using software from Autodesk (AutoCAD Civil 3D) and Bentley (Microstation).

Tunnelling

Tunnelling projects involve highly complex S_NGO and S_TGO arrangements (compare figure 2 and figure 4). During tunnel planning, the building ground is thoroughly explored, yielding excellent data for the setup of the S_NGO solid model. The S_TGO, which is a state-of-the-art civil engineering by-product of the pre-project phase, holds all geometry (B-

by-product of the pre-project phase, holds all geometry (B- Article REP) and attribute data (links to

Article

REP) and attribute data (links to a relational database), describing the tunnel shell and

associated tunnel infrastructure like rails, pip- ing, electric lines and emergency equipment. In the GeoBIM environment, S_TGO and S_NGO can be related by Boolean operations among the solid objects and by database queries involving the geological, hydrological, geotechnical and technical attributes. As an example, the possible impact of the shear zone (Fig. 2) on the tunnel can be highlight- ed by a combination of Boolean intersection of relevant S_GO objects and a database query involving tunnel shell, tunnel infrastruc- ture and security equipment parameters. Once

a consistent GeoBIM has been established for

a tunnel, maintenance work or future tunnel

extensions like a parallel tube or emergency exits can be scheduled in an economic way. Moreover, the S_GO framework is a quantita- tive foundation for technical simulations like air pollution or fire propagation.

Design of Building Pits in Settled Areas

Building projects in urban areas can be chal- lenging because of pre-existing infrastructure. When excavating a building pit, besides geol- ogy and hydrology, all existing subsurface wiring, piping and foundations have to be considered (see figure 5). GeoBIM, in provid- ing the solid-based, full 3D management of relevant data, significantly reduces planning time by integrating in an optimised manner, newly-planned and existing infrastructure. Moreover, the risk of damaging existing sub- surface infrastructure is minimised.

Fritz Zobl, fritz.zobl@oeaw.ac.at, Robert Marschallinger, robert.marschallinger@oeaw.ac.at GIScience Salzburg, Austrian Academy of Sciences. www.oeaw.ac.at/giscience

GeoBIM video link: www.oeaw-giscience.org/ downloadmaterial/GeoBIM

Links/ References:

spline Eastman et al., (2008): BIM Handbook: a guide to building information modelling for owners, managers, designers, engineers and constructors, Wiley

Figure 5: Building pit excavation in an area which was previously covered with buildings. Here, GeoBIM plays a significant role in portraying the existing infrastructure.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

43

a significant role in portraying the existing infrastructure. Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 43 December 2008

December 2008

Conference

ESRI’s EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) User Conference

Biggest GIS Event outside of the US

In London, during ESRI’s EMEA User Conference, the sympathetic ‘regionalisation’, gave this annual event a nice and colourful British touch.

By: Remco Takken
By: Remco Takken

Traditionally, ESRI’s User Conference for Europe, Middle East and Africa is the biggest GIS vendor event outside of the US. In many respects, the gathering of 1,500 people from 6o countries functions as a region- alized summary of its considerably bigger San Diego counterpart. This means that ESRI founder and President Jack Dangermond also gets his own little space in London, where he can further emphasize his vision for a ‘GIS for everyday life’. “We are all coming from many dif- ferent disciplines, working together on common ground.” About the power of geo-information, he says: “we are already convinced, that’s why we are here. But you are guilty of keeping the secret, because GIS is still one of the best kept secrets in the world.”

Financial Crisis in Perspective

While Dangermond refuses to talk too much about what he calls ‘returns on investment and the financial crisis’, thanks to GIS analysis, he does come up with some revealing insights on suburban house foreclosures in

Southern California. “On the map you can easily see that the financial cri- sis didn’t affect the downtown areas so much. Those cheaper suburban homes got more expensive when fuel prices doubled. Maybe this started

the whole thing.

planet. And there is no safety bank, no bail out. The planet changes by our footprint, and it’s affecting the sustainability of what we do.” He also addresses the British floods in the recent past. “There are more important

There’s a different crisis going on, it’s the crisis of our

44

things at stake than money. We know that GIS can do a lot of things, but it can’t stop the floodings.”

Real Life Demo

Strikingly, the real life demo held at the plenary sessions during the first day, showed a flood scenario, with a clear focus on (mobile) GIS and flood disaster management. This indeed has been one of the big issues in the UK lately, where GIS can help. The demo showed GIS has a role to play in flood prediction, prevention, planning and improving response. For non-UK visitors, it was informative to see how British analysts conse- quently pointed out climate change as the primal reason for the recent floods. The ongoing growth of the British population, recent landscape design in risky environments and the oddities of chance calculation weren’t taken into account as you would expect from a country where rain has been a constant factor for centuries. RSA Group underwriter Timothy Mitchell made clear that the floodings indeed were a fairly recent problem. He also commented on risk manage- ment in the western world in general: “As a country develops, insurance develops with it. The good news is that the insurance companies take their knowledge with them into developing countries.” Mitchell elaborat- ed on the use of GIS and spatial information in risk management. Although he concluded that mapping allows insurance companies to do a better job, he wistfully added: “we now have to really use the GIS that we have.”

companies to do a better job, he wistfully added: “we now have to really use the

December 2008

in London

Time Saving Top 10, Imagery Server

As ESRI Inc’s speaker David McGuire, formerly with ESRI UK, rightly stated in his Technology Vision: “Terrorism has incited the city, but today only about six percent of all Londoners see this as their ‘number one’ issue.” McGuire practically played a home game, and it showed in the foyer, where book sales of his recent title “The Business Benefits of GIS; A ROI Approach” skyrocketed.In the ‘Top Ten of Time Savers’ the automatic error report ironically ranked at the number one position, as if to make the point again that ArcGIS 9.3 indeed had many bugs and errors. It topped other useful tricks as ‘pause labels’ and ‘table sorting’. As in San Diego, quite a lot of time was scheduled for a sneak preview of 9.4, due for release next year. With only 50 percent of the conference attendees using 9.3 over 9.2, these ‘forward looking statements’ seemed a bit over the head of the general user. More useful was the explanation around the technical breakthrough of ArcGIS Imagery Server, which is now both vector and imagery software. It not only serves out images to the desktop or to the web, with Imagery Server it is also possible to roam into the metadata of the individual source information of each pixel and see where it came from. The normal process in the case of non-matching aerial photo mosaics was to recreate the entire mosaic. With Imagery Server, newly collected imagery or historical data can be updated one by one.

imagery or historical data can be updated one by one. In the ‘Top Ten of Time

In the ‘Top Ten of Time Savers’ the automatic error report ironically ranked at the number one position, as if to make the point again that ArcGIS 9.3 indeed had many bugs and errors.

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

Conference

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com Conference Two young ESRI employees re-enact their volunteering work

Two young ESRI employees re-enact their volunteering work with MapAction, togeth- er with MapAction Chief Executive David Spackman OBE (in a very British hat). MapAction is a charity that helps to get aid to the right places in disasters, by pro- viding relief agencies with frequently updated situation maps.

Instant Atlas

Without any doubt, one of the outstanding new GIS applications of 2008 is Instant Atlas. Shortly after ESRI UK acquired GeoWise, they released Instant Atlas, essentially a six-step wizard to create a map (re-) using template styles with a nice looking front-end as a result. Gareth Walters of GeoWise showed how you would typically get your data from different sources, pick a style and publish a map with this one tool. With others, rather than geo-focused users in mind, Instant Atlas makes it possible to resize the map in favor of statistical charts. For naming and labeling map points a simple ‘sticky tool’ is provided in order to see which chart belongs to a place on the map. It’s a tool to take seri- ously. For instance, metadata are running down the side of the Table of Contents.

EMEA and MEA

The EMEA formula of this User Conference was a success. By skipping almost all American user stories and cases, a rainbow of GIS related topics emerged out of disparate regions like Australia, Bahrain and, of course, the UK. Although, or maybe because, the 2008 edition of the ESRI User Conference EMEA was the biggest in its 12 years of existence, things are going to be different next year. European users will be invited to come to Vilnius, Lithuania, while the rest of the world (the ‘MEA’ in ‘EMEA’) will be directed to the city of Bahrain. Nice! This might be seen as a gesture both to the ‘new’ European countries in the EU and to the upcoming GIS communities in the Middle East. With great, good humoured speakers, such as Sheikh Nawaf Bin Ibrahim Alkalifa of Bahrain, exotic stands in the Expo and women in full Burqa taking notes on GIS applications during workshops, ‘London 2008’ might very well go into history as one of the most colorful editions of this event.

Remco Takken rtakken@geoinformatics.com is a contributing editor of GeoInformatics. Additional information about the subjects mentioned in this article can be found on www.gisforeverydaylife.com and www.esri.com.

subjects mentioned in this article can be found on www.gisforeverydaylife.com a nd www.esri.com . December 2008

December 2008

Conference

Sharing Worldwide User Experiences

Leica Geosystems HDS and Airborne Sensor User Conference

Booth networking

In San Ramon, California, Leica held the High Definition Surveying and Airborne Sensors Worldwide User Conference 2008.

The company actively invited users to openly share their experiences about the use of their products, both

hardware and software. Cultural Heritage projects, the maintenance and use of oil and gas installations, and many more

topics were discussed during three days of presentations by Leica users worldwide. Also, panel discussions, a plan contest

and a dinner cruise in the Bay Area for entertaining and networking

purposes made this a well organised and informative event.

From October 26 to October 30, the 2008 Leica Geosystems High Definition Surveying and Airborne Sensor Worldwide User Conference was held in San Ramon, California. This event combined two separate events, namely the Leica High Definition Surveying (HDS) Conference and Airborne Sensors Conference. This year’s event attracted 400 visitors, com- pared to 300 in 2007. The conference was designed to allow users to share their experi- ences while visitors were encouraged to net- work in between sessions. In addition, hands-

By Eric van Rees

on workshops were provided which focused on high definition surveying and airborne sensor applications. The High Definition Surveying event covered the latest available information on applications, workflows and business fac- tors, and updated product insights. Also, a plan contest was held whereby companies could share their electronic and hard copy plans (drawings) of civil/survey, building/heritage, and plant projects with others (see text box).The Airborne Sensor part was primarily about in- depth product training, supplemented by user

presentations. Overall, the presentations of the two parallel tracks consisted of user stories with a fine balance between US users and users from outside the US, ranging from China to Belgium. During three days, parallel sessions for both tracks were held.

Offering Hardware and Software Solutions

The conference was opened by Juergen Dold, president of Leica’s Geospatial Solutions Division. In his keynote address, he men-

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by Juergen Dold, president of Leica’s Geospatial Solutions Division. In his keynote address, he men- 46

December 2008

tioned the growing importance of the soft- ware components in Leica’s portfolio, recog- nizing the customer’s need for not only ‘get- ting the rich data, but also sharing the rich data’. Leica offers their clients an integrated product portfolio that combines metrology, geosystems and geospatial solutions. Hexagon and Leica Geosystems therefore decided to do both hardware and software components, a decision that seems to have paid off, as one conference visitor stated, “the software has finally caught up with the hard- ware.” Talking about Leica Geospatial Solutions, Dold stated that “we drive the innovation to improve field and office productivity”. Not only is there more and more information avail- able in organisations, people want to share and manage these data as well through time and their organisation. This increases the value of information, and to manage the data, the ERDAS company launched ERDAS Apollo 2009, a geospatial business system that was also presented during the conference. The conference was not just about successes though: during the conference some of the presentations focused on achieving success particularly in the face of the challenges caused by the current economic turmoil. Two panel discussions were about how to effec- tively market high definition surveying both internally and externally today, and the chal- lenge of attracting and recruiting new staff for laser scanning companies and departments. Several of Leica’s scanning products were dis- cussed in detail, such as the Leica Scanstation 2 and the Leica HDS6000, together with the accompanying software, Cyclone and Cloudworx. These products were also on dis- play in various booths outside the conference

HDS Plan Contest

For the first time, Leica introduced a plan contest so that conference attendees could share their work with others. Electronic and hard copies of drawings and plans were reviewed in three categories, namely ‘Plant’, ‘Civil Survey’ and ‘Buildings/- Heritage’. The winners are:

Building/Heritage

First Prize: Allen & Company Second Prize: BHC Rhodes

Civil/Survey

First Prize: Manhard Consulting Ltd. Second Prize: Dynasty Group

Plant

First Prize: Allen & Company Second Prize: RLS Group

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

Conference

Group Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com Conference Juergen Dold, president of Leica’s Geospatial Solutions

Juergen Dold, president of Leica’s Geospatial Solutions Division

halls. The purpose for which Leica’s HDS prod- ucts are used varies greatly, as do the type of organisations that use these products. Multinational organisations as well as single- person companies were present to share their experiences, problems and solutions.

Modelled Point Clouds

Andreas Marbs from the Fachhochschule Mainz (The University of Applied Sciences), Germany, discussed the latest performance tests of the Leica ScanStation2 (pulse scan- ner) and Leica HDS6000 (phase scanner). The University of Applied Sciences compared the performance of both scanners with a list of other brands tested. To do this, they chose a user’s approach to measure the accuracy of the laser scanners. For this they compared the results of modelled point clouds against known geometry in the object space, verified by precise surveying methods. The result is a comprehensive report about scanner perfor- mance. The HDS6000 turned out to have the ‘best overall performance’of all phase scan- ners tested, with an average accuracy at close range (<10 meters), excellent accuracy at mid range (10 to 25 meters), and by far the low- est noise (up to 25m) of all tested phase scanners. The Leica ScanStation2 showed the

“best overall performance” of tested pulse scanners; it was the only scanner of this type having noise below 2mm over the whole range of white and gray reflectivity. It also had the best accuracy based on spatial distances between spheres.

Paul Walsh of StatoilHydro

It also had the best accuracy based on spatial distances between spheres. Paul Walsh of StatoilHydro

December 2008

Conference

Conference Paul Walsh from StatoilHydro, Norway, spoke about the company’s growing use of HDS, including extensive

Paul Walsh from StatoilHydro, Norway, spoke about the company’s growing use of HDS, including extensive project, operations, and maintenance uses of TruView. StatoilHydro is one of the world’s largest crude oil and gas suppliers and the biggest seller of oil prod- ucts in Scandinavia. The company uses TruView for photorealistic laser scan data rep- resentation of its oil and gas installations, and brings them to the engineer’s desktop. It is intuitive, free and web based, and functions as central overall laser scan administration and maintenance. Besides that, it offers free measuring and mark-up possibilities. 3D visu- als play an important role in the concept of solving the challenges of having personnel, suppliers and systems offshore, onshore and in different countries. Walsh stated that it is important in “bringing the data to the experts rather than bringing the experts to the data.” Since StatoilHydro currently has the world’s largest implementation of PDMS (Plant Design Management System) Global, including 41 PDMS facility models in 3D, this is more than necessary. How does a small civil/survey firm take advan- tage of HDS in a stressed economy? Gus Rios of Diamond West (California) explained how his company managed to take advantage of HDS in the last year. In 2005-2007, business for Diamond West was very good with 75%

Juergen Dold giving the opening keynote.

of its projects done for architects, government and developers, and the remaining 25% gen- erated through engineering and service providers. In January 2008, a challenging economy began: the company had to do some serious marketing by visiting and speak- ing at conferences, and undertaking serious networking initiatives. The company succeed- ed in successfully filling the void by provid- ing consulting services to past scan clients and 3D visualisation to new clients (architects and developers). With this new strategy, the company saw its 2008 revenue share change, with 50% now coming from architects, devel- opers and government, and 50% from engi- neering and service providers. Conclusion: by acting smart, it is indeed possible to take advantage of HDS in a stressed economy.

Eye Candy

One field that sprung out in terms of eye candy, was the preserving of cultural heritage and archaeology projects in various regions of the world. One of the most entertaining speakers was Conor Graham of Gridpoint Solutions (Northern Ireland). His informative and often funny presentation showed the use of laser scanning for architectural stone surveys, archaeological surveys for land development approvals, and much more. This two-man

company was the first to offer HDS services in Northern Ireland and because of this, they tried to cover as many HDS sectors as possi- ble, although their focus lies in the commer- cial and public funded heritage/archaeology sectors. Graham discussed such a project:

scanning the 14th century Nenagh Castle Tower, for a public plan to conserve and restore the tower and its surroundings. An HDS survey met all the client’s requirements, namely a 3D HDS archive, 2D ‘unwrapped stone by stone’ external elevations and 2D external sections. Graham was also very posi- tive on the benefits of HDS for site measure- ment, since it allows sites to be handed over for the construction phase much sooner because heritage and archaeological features are recorded fully, accurately, and very quick- ly. Publication of heritage site archives on the web, via TruView, also adds value for clients.

3D Modelling

A similar application for cultural heritage was shown in the Airborne track at October 28. Professor Li Deren from Wuhan University (China) spoke about digitalizing the Mogao Caves, which form a system of 492 temples containing Buddhist art. His presentation focused on generating 3D data of all the caves and the 200 km2 area around them, in order to create high-precision 3D models and

48

data of all the caves and the 200 km2 area around them, in order to create

December 2008

Conference

Conference Conor Graham of Gridpoint Solutions discussed a project on scanning the 14th century Nenagh Castle

Conor Graham of Gridpoint Solutions discussed a project on scanning the 14th century Nenagh Castle Tower in Northern Ireland.

Virtual Architectural Environments, using sev- eral 3D visualizing technologies. To achieve this, point clouds were created with laser scanners of the caves and objects, to which textures were added from raw images. The end result was a textured, highly accurate vir- tual model in 3D. By far the most impressive visuals came from the first presentation on Wednesday October 29, where David Mitchell (Historic Scotland) and Doug Pritchard (Glasgow School of Arts) explained how Scanstation2 was used for her- itage projects. They showed highly-textured 3D models of castles, bridges and the like, in breathtaking visuals that are used for tourism purposes. Although some attendees were crit- ical of the high costs involved in huge pro- jects of this sort, and were sceptical of their continuation when the economic tide is low, the speakers stated that this project turned out to be a financial success and that it can attract tourists to Scotland who are curious to see the ‘real thing’. Chris Ogier from ERDAS presented ERDAS Apollo, a photogrammetric workflow from the desktop to the web. ERDAS creates software designed to turn imagery into information. For extending geospatial data to business appli- cations throughout an organization, they introduced ERDAS Apollo, a suite of enter- prise products that includes ERDAS Apollo

Server, ERDAS Apollo Image Manager and ERDAS Apollo Solution Toolkit. The suite was launched in August 2008 and is meant for organisations which have multiple CAD, GIS, remote sensing and photogrammetry systems and want to deliver their data through the internet, among other things. With ERDAS Apollo Server, raster and vector data can be published, catalogued and consumed. With ERDAS Apollo Image Manager, large volumes of gridded data can be served and managed centrally throughout the enterprise. ERDAS Apollo Solution Toolkit is an advanced web toolkit for building sophisticated web portals,

Conor Graham
Conor Graham

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

49

geospatial applications and e-commerce abili- ties. This suite is just one step towards a big geospatial business system from ERDAS, from which other components will be released later.

Conclusion

The conference covered many different topics from many different countries, and judging from the reactions of visitors, it was a big suc- cess. The presentations were without excep- tion of a very high quality and the organisa- tion of the event was flawless. Everyone enjoyed the networking opportunities during the conference, and also a cruise dinner in the Bay Area, which was a nice occasion allowing everyone to enjoy the spectacular views of San Francisco by night. Leica and all the attendees can look back on this user con- ference with satisfaction. As hardware and software technologies are constantly evolving and being used for innovative and exciting new applications, such as forensics, this real- ly is just the beginning.

Eric van Rees is editor in chief of GeoInformatics. For more information, have a look at www.leica-geosystems.com. Thanks to Geoff Jacobs for providing imagery.

information, have a look at www.leica-geosystems.com . Thanks to Geoff Jacobs for providing imagery. December 2008

December 2008

Article

Looking forward to a Harmonious Future together

3D Laser Scanning and its 2D partners

In a perfect world, harmony would be applied to 2D survey and a rapidly

encroaching 3D perspective. Since 2001 projects and organisations like CyArk

and Heritage3D have embraced 3D technologies and tried to better understand

and use them within a cultural heritage context. This article discusses three

themes: the breakdown of 2D-3D barriers, the merging of digitisation

technologies like those of photogrammetry and laser scanning (at least in

terms of processing) and finally the increasing attempts to future-proof ancient

monuments and historic landscapes by producing ever-more detailed and

precise digital records which could survive erosion, vandalism and conflict.

A number of practical examples are used to illustrate the points made.

By Adam P. Spring, Caradoc Peters and Andrew Wetherelt

Arguments about the role of 2D and 3D are not new. With the development of perspective by Renaissance artists like Leonardo DaVinci and Filippo Brunelleschi, the flat medieval art of the church was thrown into disarray. The flat medieval art survived however because per- spective can only give an impression of 3D. Perspective cannot provide accurate z coordi- nates for the depth, and so 2D was needed for more serious technical drawings. 3D can also be seen as potentially deceitful or affected by artifice as it was an artistic technique associat- ed with special effects to draw the viewer's eye in a particular direction or to create illusions.

Even today people connect 3D representations with cinematic effects, clever illusions or com- puter games, whilst 2D has remained the domain of the rational and academic. This has clouded people's perception of what digital 3D is about. A perspective in a 3D world can be measured as accurately, easily and readily as from a conventional or digital 2D plan. Perceptions, or rather misconceptions, more than anything else hold the archaeological community back from the more widespread use of digital 3D recording. The boundaries between 2D and 3D, in terms of academic ver- sus popular, rational versus impressions have

Figure 1: Gwithian archaeological landscape, showing

the bronze age site of GMX also with elevation colour coding. Excavated by Charles Thomas et

al 1949

- 1969 .

become fuzzy. Indeed, for those who feel more comfortable with 2D drawings, a 3D point cloud can generate these as well.

Similarities between Laser Scanning and Photogrammetry

Surprisingly such 3D point clouds suffer vary- ing criticism depending on the means by which they are generated. Since 1998 the rise of the mid range laser scanner has had many a photogrammetry specialist shaking their fist with a knowing and rebellious, "I've been doing this sort of thing with cameras for years". Whilst it is justified to put new tech- niques through their paces, criticisms of laser scanning have not wholly gone beyond the superficial and have predominately centred on cost. Fundamentally laser scanning and photogrammetry are very similar. Both cap- ture photometric and geometric information – which means they deal with shape, colour, texture and size – to produce a cloud of points made up of x,y,z co-ordinates. Granted it is possible to produce similar, greatly watered down, results using a well-estab- lished survey tool like a reflectorless total sta- tion on an automated setting. However it is the speed and amount of information gener- ated which separate potential 3D survey tools out from those traditionally associated with 2D survey plans. A further distinction may be

50

survey tools out from those traditionally associated with 2D survey plans. A further distinction may be

December 2008

made between photogrammetry and mid range laser scanning, with the latter allowing for instant results

made between photogrammetry and mid range laser scanning, with the latter allowing for instant results in the field.

The Merging of Digitisation Technologies

Initially laser scanning and digital photogram- metry developed within a geomatics communi- ty, and this was equally true of their early appli-

cation and growth in archaeology. As they were new technologies, there was much concern with workflows and technical issues like accuracy and error. Indeed an experimental and special- ist dialogue has dominated the literature. This is an unavoidable stage in the progress of any new technique, but not one that need ultimate- ly stick or hinder its wider application. As a result, a number of misconceptions abound about what 3D digitisation represents. For example, that digitisation is for geeks, that it cannot produce useful archaeological plans and sections, that it is for single objects or struc- tures and has no place in the real world of land- scape archaeology, and perhaps worst of all that it is a lightweight irrelevance producing pretty models for public entertainment and tit- illation. Geeky, digitisation is certainly not, and its tech- nologies are much more accessible and easy to use than is popularly believed. Although it will still take a long time to generate surveys of landscapes as opposed to sites, in the short term this can be resolved by meshing smaller terrestrial scans and photogrammetry surveys with those generated from the air like LIDAR and from outer space such as satellite image based Google Earth. LIDAR and Google Earth images are compatible with terrestrial laser scanners, so there is no problem with meshing them together. Indeed, the idea that the 3D imagery is just for entertainment is probably strongly influenced by the fact that such images are most com- monly associated with computer games and more recently with the cinema. The simple fact

Article

is however that a 2D image has less informa- tion than its 3D counterpart. 2D images are more selective and interpretive, which can be a good thing when specific information is required, but at least with digital 3D recording the choice to display in 3D or indeed in 2D is instantly and readily available. Once the archae- ologist overcomes her or his fears or miscon- ceptions about laser scanning, the task is (as is common for most new approaches or tech- nologies) one of asking the right questions. Instead of asking for a plan or section for exam- ple, why not ask for what features of an object or structure need to be recorded, and at what resolution or degree of accuracy this will be needed. As for particular views or angles, this is something that can be generated at the mod- elling phase. The archaeologist can manipulate the object using a modelling programme until the required view is achieved, and an image can then be generated from that for publica- tion.

Criticisms and Misconceptions

There are other criticisms of laser scanning that are misjudgements that arise from a lack of engagement with the technology – for example, the idea that extreme cost and the need for specialist expertise prevent any real- istic access by ordinary archaeological practi- tioners. Whilst laser scanners are presently costly, prices are continuously reducing like many other electronic goods in contrast to most other goods. Despite present prices, the speed of capture of millions of points in a few hours compared to hundreds of points possi-

Figure 2: Hellenistic Theatre, Butrint, Albania – 3rd cen- tury BC. Scanned at 20 mm
Figure 2: Hellenistic Theatre, Butrint, Albania – 3rd cen-
tury BC. Scanned at 20 mm resolution. Firm surface
geometry and range of visibility made it ideally suited
to
scanning.

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and range of visibility made it ideally suited to scanning. Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 51 December

December 2008

Article

Article bly captured by a conventional total station operated by an experienced surveyor means that the

bly captured by a conventional total station operated by an experienced surveyor means that the value in terms of costed hours of work is soon recuperated. Here one must remember that the accuracy of a laser scan- ner can be as great as 5mm, so this is high definition documentation (HDD). As for the software to process and model the resulting point cloud (the mass of millions of points generated), it is already available as open- access programmes downloadable from the Internet – for example the modelling pro- gramme Blender. The idea that laser scanning is a highly spe- cialist and technical activity beyond the reach of ordinary mortals is likewise questionable. Companies like Leica and Riegel provide short training courses for customers requiring only three days, putting it on a par with various health and safety courses like First Aid. Tuition for open access software is readily available on the Internet including on YouTube. User communities have forums where people pre- sent their problems and receive advice. Photogrammetry too is beset with similar atti- tudes. However, a number of programmes such as MESHLAB and Photosynth are avail- able to download free of charge with full easy to follow instructions. Finally, there is a widespread belief that digi- tal technologies are in competition with each other: the false debate between laser scan- ning and photogrammetry; and that between laser scanning and digital remote sensing.

The false Debate between Laser Scanning and Photogrammetry

Recent literature has attempted to pit survey- ing and recording technologies against each other in a pointless struggle for existence. The fact is that these technologies are compatible and complementary. Photogrammetry and laser scanning both rely on diodes that measure electromagnetic radiation. The only difference is which parts of the electromagnetic spectrum are being measured – visible light or infrared, and the use of mosaic filters that bias green light in cameras (in order to reflect the natural bias in human eyes). Also, once the data has been captured from a camera or a laser scan- ner, the data is equally recognisable by pro- cessing and modelling software. Indeed LIDAR, GPR or any other recording instruments will produce digital coordinates that are compati- ble with and indistinguishable from all other digital coordinates.As for photogrammetry and laser scanning being in competition, they actu- ally complement each other in the nature of what they record. Photogrammetry is excellent at recording surface textures and colour differ- ences. Laser scanners record depth directly without having to resort to software that can calculate the z or depth values. The values pro- duced by laser scanners are not influenced by problems of contrast, and colour values can- not create visual illusions. Critically moving between these technologies can help the sur- veyor obtain a keener more accurate picture of the objects recorded.

Figure 3: 3rd Century Baptistery, Butrint, Albania, showing 20th century Italian alterations made between 1924 and 1926 by Mussolini. Pillars were added to make it look more “Roman”.

alterations made between 1924 and 1926 by Mussolini. Pillars were added to make it look more

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alterations made between 1924 and 1926 by Mussolini. Pillars were added to make it look more

December 2008

Figure 4: 3rd Century Baptistery, Butrint, Albania, showing Mussolini’s pillars reconstructed to the height of

Figure 4: 3rd Century Baptistery, Butrint, Albania, showing Mussolini’s pillars reconstructed to the height of the highest standing example. Modelled in Cyclone.

The False Debate between Laser Scanning and Digital Remote Sensing

Aerial and satellite imagery as remote sensing techniques have already been transformed by digital scanning technologies, and they can cover larger areas faster than terrestrial scan- ners. There are however some new ways in which terrestrial laser scanners can provide new additional information as yet inaccessible from aerial or satellite imagery. LIDAR scans and Google Earth provide what is known as 2D + 1D. In other words 2D images, which are then processed to calculate depth and transform to

a sort of perspective 3D. Just like perspective

drawing it is not possible to be absolutely sure

of the third coordinate, the z coordinate, as it

is not directly measured. Laser scanning, how-

ever, does measure the z coordinates directly. Aside from providing directly measured z coor- dinates in more detailed surveys, laser scan- ning complements the dimensionality of digital data produced by Remote Sensing. Remote Sensing is essentially looking from a distance or spying from afar. As such it only has one direction of gaze. Take a landscape of cliffs over- looking a plain. An aerial view or a satellite image reveals the relief accurately with the slope of the cliffs and the surface of the plain. However, if there are any caves in the cliffs or uneven folds in the plain these could be missed or smoothed over as a unidirectional recording would have no way of revealing them.

Article

On the other hand, laser scanning can capture, work with and recreate a primitive form of 4D (3D plus 1 D), which is essentially what archae- ology is all about. The full 3D data can reveal the abovementioned folds and irregularities in the landscape. Additionally, the fourth dimen- sion can be recreated. People and their actions are expressed through the passage of time or at least through chronologically arranged data. 3D images from different times are compared or animated through modelling programmes to create the fourth dimension.

Future-proofing Ancient Monuments and Historic Landscapes

The role of mid range laser scanning and other digital techniques within archaeology is clear. Entire landscapes can now be recorded to scale, in real time, and preserved as digital archives for time immemorial. Much in the same way field reports are revisited and revised in the pre- sent, these digital records or time slices can also be revisited in the future. The theoretical and methodical implications such 'meta' arte- facts (digital artefacts produced from the coor- dinates of originals) encourage are endless, and as time goes on we shall see new branches of archaeology develop along with the technology as the quality and range of data increases. With the rapid evolution of technology comes a continued alteration of storing data. Much in the same way the floppy disk was replaced by

data. Much in the same way the floppy disk was replaced by Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

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data. Much in the same way the floppy disk was replaced by Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

December 2008

Article

Figure 5: The Bassett Monument at Carn Brea (1836) and a Tor which formed part
Figure 5: The Bassett Monument at Carn
Brea (1836) and a Tor which formed part of
an earlier Neolithic Tor enclosure. This
shows the potential for scanning prehis-
toric ritual landscapes also.

the CD and DVD these too will inevitably be replaced by something else. This has direct implications when it comes to the storage of any archaeological information saved in a digi- tal format. Projects like those run by Ruth Tringham and Michael Ashley (UC Berkeley) at Çatalhöyük and organizations like the Archaeological Data Service (ADS) have started to address this issue by utilising the constantly developing nature of the Internet. The most interesting forum for Scandata (sets of coordi- nated points created from scans) is the CyArk Foundation (CyArk.org).

Examples

The following examples demonstrate the power of recording cultural heritage as 3D point clouds of spatial information. The data comes from fieldwork carried out using a mid-range laser scanner.

have been impractical to do, let alone to be repeated easily many times in order to monitor its continuous alteration.

Butrint, Albania – Hellenistic Theatre

Firm geometry and wide open space presented through the Hellenistic Theatre at Butrint, Albania (Figure 2), reflect- ed the easy at which data can be captured from very few positions – in this case just two. In terms of the way in which the laser scanner was constructed to interpret the world, this is largely due to the 360 to 270° window of rota- tion that is allowed by the particular type of laser scanner used for this job.

Carn Brea, Cornwall

The juxtaposition between the weathered and irregular surfaces of the Neolithic tor and the geometrically sound 1836 Bassett Monument (Figure 5) visualises a fundamental difference between High Definition Documentation (HDD) and the recording of archaeological monuments with conventional or established survey tools like the Total Station. Unlike the Total Station or 2D survey, HDD is not concerned with the capture of individual points. The main differen- tiation lies in the capture of entire surfaces in one traverse and the rapid acquisition of data in the field.

Gwithian, Cornwall

The Gwithian project was conducted in July and August 2008. It included mid-range laser scan- ning of the archaeological landscape in west Cornwall where parts of the 1949-1969 excava- tions by Charles Thomas took place, as well as Ground Penetrating Radar sampling of specific areas. The laser scanned point cloud produced from the project was done at 10 cm resolution over a 150 metre range and consisted of 5 ScanWorlds (modelled areas created through scanning) which covered a 64 hectare site in one day. Whereas Airborne LIDAR data is con- cerned with capturing height from above, the ground-based laser system used allowed for a higher resolution Digital Terrain Model to be generated that also allowed for the colour cod- ing and enhancement of archaeological features within that landscape as seen from the eleva- tion colour coding in Figure 1. Prior to the advent of mid-range laser scanning, any record- ing of the geomorphology of a landscape would

The Baptistery, Butrint, Albania

Between 1924 and 1926, a group of Italian archaeologists funded by Mussolini were sent to Butrint to reaffirm a strong Roman presence on the site. A direct consequence was the re- interpretation and supposition of this agenda on to the material record. The Italian archaeol- ogists placed a ring of columns in the centre of the monument in order to 'restore' it to a more Roman look. This is demonstrated through the re-jigged Baptistery as seen in Figure 3. The Italian columns were digitally exaggerated in digital space through modelling as seen in Figure 4.

Conclusion

In this article, we have tried to highlight the var- ious factors that must be considered using a mid range laser scanner to record and preserve archaeological sites and artefacts as digital arte- facts within their own right. The relationship between the physical world and the digital envi- ronments are not that straight forward and

there are several elements that need to be taken into consideration. This is especially the case when we refer back to such meta artefacts

in the future. In 2005 the Minister of Culture in

Great Britain addressed the value of laser scan- ning the heritage sector by seeing it as a means

of recording and preserving sites that are under

threat, as she put it no substitute for the real thing but an alternative. This paper builds upon this by suggesting whilst ScanWorlds are no substitute for the actual thing they can act as

a very valuable information tool proving the

information present or the technology is taken for granted. A standard of practice must be put in place that accommodates for the develop- ment of laser scanning in archaeology in the long term. With the rapid evolution of such young technology the impressive data sets already available can only get better. In many ways a methodology needs to be developed that has purpose in mind. What gets done with the information after acquisition is as important as how it is acquired. In the long term the recurring importance of addressing each scan job with purpose in mind should also incorporate how the scan data can be used in the immediate and long term, as well as by whom it could and will be used (think about how the modeller could use this data and data such as note and photos gathered in the field).

Adam P. Spring, Heritage3D Project Officer, adamspring@gmail.com, Heritage3D.org

Caradoc Peters, University of Plymouth, Truro College Campus, rutcpeters@plymouth.ac.uk, www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/dynamic.asp?page=staffde tails&id=rutcpeters

Andrew Wetherelt, Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, A.Wetherelt@ex.ac.uk, www.exeter.ac.uk/cornwall/academic_departments/cs m/staff/andrew-wetherelt/index.shtml

Websites:

The authors would also like to thank Jon Mills, University of Newcastle and Paul Bryan, Head of Metric Survey, English Heritage, Meg Conkey, Ruth Tringham, Michael Ashley, Alex Baer, John Chenoweth and Sara Gonzalez at UC Berkeley, Rand Epich at The Getty Conservation Institute, , Sharron P. Schwartz, Robert Van Der Noort, Jean Taylor, Ainsley Cocks, Arjun Sharma, Daniel Hunt, as well as the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscapes World Heritage Site, Cornwall Heritage Trust and the Camborne School of Mines Trust.

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Mining Landscapes World Heritage Site, Cornwall Heritage Trust and the Camborne School of Mines Trust. 54

December 2008

Column Data Discovery While the Shapefile and KML have both helped with data sharing, there
Column Data Discovery While the Shapefile and KML have both helped with data sharing, there
Column
Data Discovery
While the Shapefile and KML have both helped with data sharing, there
is limitless volumes of content that is remains inaccessible to users. For
a variant of reasons, the content is either locked up in proprietary for-
mats (DWG, ESRI File Geodatabase, MapInfo TAB) or is not indexed by
search engines. Paul Bissett of WeoGeo calls this “hidden content” and
claims that while there are approximately 800 TB of discoverable data
out there, 91,000 TB of digital content is not indexed and in turn not dis-
coverable. This means that only 0.009% of digital content is searchable
and if we equate this number to my local library with over 500,000
books, it means that I could only find 4,400 of them – a massive failure
of the Dewey Decimal system!
Data discovery and accessible content is important to the successful inte-
gration of the GeoWeb into our workflows. Unfortunately, we are proba-
bly missing critical datasets that could help us design tools to visualize
problems or solve questions. A client asked me the other day what web
services were available for their project and wanted to get a list for a
meeting she was having with her staff. The question highlights the chal-
lenge confronting us – where do we go to find spatial data services on
the web?
Google is attempting to index this “hidden content” but they cannot do
it alone. ESRI and Google have teamed up to make ESRI’s web services
discoverable by Google and other projects such as GeoServer have also
worked to make their services discoverable by Google’s Geo Search API.
This is a great start, but it still requires owners of the content to enable
their discovery by Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! Some data owners would
not benefit from making their data discoverable because of a variety of
reasons including security, proprietary concerns and development costs.
But for the data that is available, we need a Google search for spatial
data, and we need the equivalent of
Amazon.com for selling data.
James Fee james.fee@rsparch.com is Geospatial Manager at RSP Architects Ltd.
Have a look at his blog www.spatiallyadjusted.com
Ltd. Have a look at his blog www.spatiallyadjusted.com Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 55 D e c

Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com

55

at his blog www.spatiallyadjusted.com Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 55 D e c e m b e

December 2008

Article

Migrating Vernon’s existing Mapping Platform

Implementing Geocortex Esstials

Located in British Columbia Canada, the City of Vernon is home to 36,000 people. When issues with performance and compatibility arose in their internal GIS system, the city decided to migrate to ESRI’s ArcGIS Server for the deployment of server-based enterprise GIS. From there, they began their search for an efficient, out-of-the-box application framework that provided cutting edge tools and required minimal staff maintenance involvement – the solution:

Geocortex Essentials.

By Trisha Twiss

Essentials screenshots

Geocortex Essentials. By Trisha Twiss Essentials screenshots N estled 440 km northeast of Vancouver, B.C. Canada,

Nestled 440 km northeast of Vancouver, B.C. Canada, the City of Vernon is home to 36,000 people. With its snowy mountains, lush winer- ies and sunny beaches, Vernon seems to have it all. One of the key tools in managing the largest city in the North Okanagan Regional District is the City’s internal GIS application, originally based on Autodesk MapGuide open-source technology. When issues of perfor- mance and compatibility with the Regional District arose, the City of Vernon began searching for an internet mapping solution to replace their existing system. With a staff of about three hundred, they recog- nized the need to find an efficient and functional mapping platform that would perform at least as well, if not better, than MapGuide. The City also knew that with 50-80 internal GIS users in various depart- ments, they needed an out-of-the-box application that would require minimal staff involvement in developing the tools and functions they needed. After considering new web-GIS technology being released at the time by both Autodesk and ESRI, the City of Vernon decided to migrate to ArcGIS Server for the deployment of its server-based enter- prise GIS. From there, they sought ought options for an efficient, out- of-the-box solution. After initially starting the development of a Geocortex IMF/ArcGIS Server

Connector-based site, some compatibility problems with ArcSDE 9.2 relating to SDE annotation led to Geocortex Essentials, which was still

ArcSDE 9.2 relating to SDE annotation led to Geocortex Essentials, which was still Essentials screenshots 56

Essentials screenshots

56

ArcSDE 9.2 relating to SDE annotation led to Geocortex Essentials, which was still Essentials screenshots 56

December 2008

Essentials screenshots a relatively early product. However, the City decided to license Latitude Geographics’ Geocortex

Essentials screenshots

a relatively early product. However, the City decided to license Latitude Geographics’ Geocortex Essentials upon release of version 1.2 given the variety of new features and the GUI-based Geocortex Essentials Manager.

Enterprise GIS for the City

December 2007 marked the start of Geocortex Essentials 1.2 implemen- tation in earnest, with “super user” training beginning in February 2008 to initially deploy the new application. General staff were introduced to

Article

the application in March 2008 with open-house demonstrations. One challenge posed by the transition to a new GIS application was the issue of data transfer, given that the City’s existing MapGuide reports couldn’t be integrated with other applications. The technical team devised a solution; replicated data from MapGuide reports was deliv- ered in the form of working report templates that were compatible with Essentials. This effectively solved the issue of current and future data transfer by giving the City the means to complete their own data entries and conversions. To capitalize on their new application, City of Vernon also had Geocortex Essentials customized to integrate their TempestTM property manage- ment software. “One of the main reasons we chose the technologies we did was that we wanted the ability to integrate our existing sys- tems and software to create a true enterprise GIS for the city,” observes Barend Donker, GIS Coordinator at City of Vernon.

Though there have been a few reports related to the speed of the 9.2- based application during times of heavy traffic, the system has been well-received by City of Vernon staff and the City is planning to lever- age new versions of ArcGIS Server and Geocortex Essentials as they come available.

Trisha Twiss is writer and can be reached at info@latitudegeo.com For more information, have a look at www.geocortex.com

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Educating GIS Professionals Worldwide www.unigis.org/uk Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 57 December 2008

December 2008

Article

Where Virtual Reality Technology meets GIS

GeoVisionary

GeoVisionary started out as a 3D visualisation suite for the British Geological Survey, but became more than a tool for geologists: it makes data available also for external clients and visitors. The surveyor and geologist don’t need to move from 2D to 3D anymore after using GeoVisioary. Andrew Connell explains what GeoVisionary is all about, how it works and what the future has in store.

The Inception of GeoVisionary

GeoVisionary is a happy accident. Out of the blue, Virtalis was asked to provide a 3D visual- isation suite for the British Geological Survey (BGS). A pioneer of modern geology, BGS has an international reputation for excellence. What began initially as a simple suppler-customer relationship has burgeoned into a rich partner- ship where both organisations have fed the other with ideas and expertise. Virtalis supplied a Virtual Reality (VR) suite for BGS’s head office

By Andrew Connell

GeoVisionary developed jointly by Virtalis and the British Geological Survey allows the user to really immerse themselves in multi-source data in real time.

and then another to its regional office in Edinburgh. Once BGS realised the power of VR technology, it asked Virtalis to help them devel- op a stereoscopic surveying fieldwork software application. BGS aimed, with Virtalis’ help, to create a 3D model containing detailed data about the subsurface of the UK. BGS’ geolo- gists at the time were using various software packages to help them develop their 3D mod- els, including GoCad, ArcScene and Fledermaus. Virtalis has also helped develop a software

application to aid interpretation of geology within the UK’s Assynt area and the North Pennines Geopark. Using the tracking system, the Virtalis team quickly created a demonstra- tor system capable of immersing the user in the virtual 3D geology and landscape, enabling them to explore their data.

More than a Tool for Geologists

As this prototype model gained more and more features and groups of people came to

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a Tool for Geologists As this prototype model gained more and more features and groups of

December 2008

Article

Article GeoVisionary enables the visualisation of terabytes of geoscience data, and allows other data, such as

GeoVisionary enables the visualisation of terabytes of geoscience data, and allows other data, such as geotechnical, environmental and geochemical information to be overlaid onto it, giving a complete picture.

see it, there was a general realisation that the model, but more importantly the technology that lay behind it, could have an impact on many more spheres than just geology. As soon as the first demo version of what has become GeoVisionary was developed, it became apparent that BGS and Virtalis had created something of much greater signifi- cance than either of them ever intended. In late 2006, Dr. Stuart Clarke, a survey geolo- gist at BGS and responsible for the develop- ment of many of the 3D models, commented:

“The 3D element doesn’t just interest geolo- gists. It makes our data available to visitors and external clients by bringing them to life. Being able to represent in 3D what already exists could help tear down the barriers between specialists and non specialists.”

What is GeoVisionary?

Geologists and surveyors naturally think in 3D, but until now they have had to translate their ideas onto a 2D record. This 2D record, in the form of a map, then has to be re-inter- preted into 3D. With GeoVisionary, the need to move from 3D to 2D and back again is negated. A project team can work together to construct a 3D model, interact with the data and interpret them as a group. These provide the capability to look at models from any angle, allowing users to interact with the stereoscopic 3D environment dynamically and share the experience with others. Viewing models in this way can reveal features and

correlations not previously appreciated by the surveyor, and, just as importantly, they allow those without training to envisage 3D from 2D maps and cross-sections with ease.

BGS has found that when planning or analysing a field survey, it can use GeoVisionary to assimilate material from vari- ous sources. For example, aerial photographs

from vari- ous sources. For example, aerial photographs Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 59 December 2008

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from vari- ous sources. For example, aerial photographs Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 59 December 2008

December 2008

Article

Article can be draped onto a digital terrain model and radar, satellite imagery, digital bore holes,

can be draped onto a digital terrain model and radar, satellite imagery, digital bore holes, mine plans and any previous geological data can be overlaid, giving the most complete pic- ture possible. Although it is possible to use GeoVisionary on a laptop or tablet PC out in the field, it looks stunning when one is able to view the data in 3D. BGS uses it on its Virtalis StereoWorks system consisting of a single large screen onto which stereo images are rear projected by a Christie Mirage S+4K using a Sun Ultra40 workstation as the image generator. The projector is capable of extreme- ly high resolution and brightness, boasting one and a half mega pixels. The entire room’s control system has an integrated wireless touch panel, so that light and sound are all controlled from a single point. BGS’ VR rooms seat 18 people, and also have a wireless IS- 900 tracking system from Intersense, allow- ing people to interact immersively with their models.

Communication is Key

Although GeoVisionary has not yet been used in a surveying context by any users except BGS geologists, it is clear that this technolo- gy has changed the way in which they work. Virtalis has found that first and foremost VR technology fosters communication. The sys- tem allows teams of geologists to survey an area before commencing fieldwork, thus build- ing an understanding of the terrain, combined

with any existing interpretations. This initial assessment allows surveyors to effectively tar- get fieldwork in areas where surveying is most required. On completion of fieldwork, the sur- veyors can check their field interpretation in the virtual landscape. This team approach allows colleagues to work together on pre and post studies – things that had traditionally been solitary studies in the past. BGS surveyors report that, far from being sub- ject to interference from colleagues on their projects, a team approach has managed to avoid rework on several occasions, especially over the exact boundaries of the survey area, giving truly seamless mapping. Junior col- leagues can work alongside senior ones in the VR suite and, during the shared pre-sur- vey stage, areas of especial interest can be targeted. GeoVisionary can also give surveys the kind

of advantage that only those with a budget

stretching to a helicopter can dream of, as it allows the surveyor to suddenly fly up to 20,000 feet to obtain an altered viewpoint, or

a wider perspective. As no features are

obscured by topography or landscape fea- tures, BGS survey teams have reported that, once they have digitized their fieldwork data, they are left with an efficiently gathered, sin- gle coherent picture. BGS scientists have branched out to use GeoVisionary on non-UK datasets. They have even deployed it in seabed environments and

on inter-planetary remote sensing data, such as that available for Mars. Current work also includes mapping projects in Ethiopia and Tajikistan.

GeoVisionary – How it Works

GeoVisionary enables the visualisation of underlying geological modelling in 3D and allows photographs, maps and other related geoscience data, such as geotechnical, envi- ronmental and geochemical information, to be overlaid onto it. Initially, the team developing the GeoVisionary prototype took parts of the UK’s ground sur- face model provided by Intermap Technologies and draped certain key geo- science data sets, such as its digital bedrock and superficial geology from DiGMapGB50, on to it. The initial prototype results were encour- aging, but limited then by the amount of data that could be loaded into the system. Nevertheless, teams of geoscientists were able to view and interact with the surface and subsurface models over regions of the UK for the first time using immersive visualisation technology, or VR. These early successes led to more testing and development, with the creation of a UK wide virtual field reconnaissance system, integrat- ing national scale data holdings, existing 3D surface and subsurface models and a variety of geoscientific or geo-environmental layers. Another key aspect of the design was to

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and a variety of geoscientific or geo-environmental layers. Another key aspect of the design was to

December 2008

enable the integration of already powerful GIS systems and associated geographic data, thereby avoiding a re-invention of systems that were already very familiar to BGS geosci- entists. This was achieved by combining the functionality of the i3DVF and Mobile Integrated Data Acquisition System (MIDAS) into a single Virtual Field Reconnaissance (VFR) tool that allows geological surveyors to review mapping at both local, regional and UK scales. Delegates from the recent ESRI show in the UK were astounded to see their own familiar data rendered in 3D Everyone that has seen GeoVisionary remarks that what impresses them is the quality and detail of the images the team has achieved and its speed. It is possible to “fly” to any part of a model in seconds. Nor is a powerful workstation needed to operate GeoVisionary. GeoVisionary was designed for geologists in the field using laptops and in the office using single or clustered Sun workstations. Even so, there are 70 billion triangles and 15 trillion pixels in the initial UK dataset alone, which is understandable when you consider there are height measurements every five metres and photographs of the terrain give a pixel for every 25 cm. The System has built in seamless streaming of multi-resolution levels of data, merging additional detailed pictures, geological notes, historical maps and subsur- face data from boreholes in real time. GeoVisionary is infinitely scalable, because the system only remembers where it is look- ing at any given moment. Each field of view comprises two million triangles which are updated 100 times a second. The novel data formats give the ability to visualise as you fly, continuously streaming both geometry and photography to imperceptibly update the world around you, giving a landscape that rapidly morphs before your eyes.

Article

a landscape that rapidly morphs before your eyes. Article Snowdon viewed in GeoVisionary. The 3D landscape

Snowdon viewed in GeoVisionary. The 3D landscape visualising software was developed jointly by Virtalis and the British Geological Survey.

The Future

Over the last year, the Virtalis Development Team has been honing and refining the sys- tem and adding useful features to allow users to easily get the best out of GeoVisionary. The idea is that the technology, or high speed ren- dering capability, is hidden from the user. Although from a programming and VR per- spective what we have done is highly com- plex, the aim, if GeoVisionary is to become a GIS communication tool, is to make it as sim- ple to use and intuitive as possible. Refining the user interface and the data exchanges are the first priorities, as GeoVisionary would then become a specialist, niche software, able to be used by a broad range of people and organisations. GeoVisionary will be ready to ship in New Year 2009 and is the fruit of two

years’ research between BGS and Virtalis. In addition, the Virtalis development team has already identified a series of more sophisti- cated features to add and is also creating spe- cialist modules for specific market sectors. BGS’ contacts in a range of organisations, be they commercial or governmental, are help- ing immeasurably to obtain market feedback for the future direction of these GeoVisionary variants.

By Andrew Connell a.connell@virtalis.com is technical director of Virtalis Limited Andrew Connell is a world authority in Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. For more information, have a look at www.virtalis.com

For more information, have a look at www.virtalis.com Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 6 1 December 2008

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For more information, have a look at www.virtalis.com Latest News? Visit www.geoinformatics.com 6 1 December 2008

December 2008

Calendar 2009 Januari 09 January - 07 February Exhibtion of Evolution from Local Measures to
Calendar 2009 Januari 09 January - 07 February Exhibtion of Evolution from Local Measures to
Calendar 2009
Januari
09 January - 07 February Exhibtion of
Evolution from Local Measures to the
Meter
Braine-l’ Alleud, Belgium
Internet: www.fig.net/events/2009/
23-25 February Trimble Dimensions
Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.
Internet: www.trimble.com
history_2009.htm
23-25 February ESRI Petroleum User Group
Conference
Houston, TX, U.S.A.
Tel: +1 909 793 2853 ext. 2894
E-mail: kshearer@esri.com
Internet: www.esri.com/pug
27-29 April ESRI Southeast Regional User
Group Conference
Jacksonville, FL, U.S.A.
Tel: +1 909 793 2853 ext. 4347
E-mail: prattanababpha@esri.com
Internet: www.esri.com/serug
25-29 May, International Conference on
Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre in the
21st Century
Moscow, Russia
Tel: +7 9499) 261 62 43
Fax: +7 (499) 267 25 18
E-mail: forest_230@miigaik.ru
Internet: www.miigaik.ru
May
19-22 January DGI Europe, The Fifth Annual
Geospatial Conference
London, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 207 368 9465
Internet: www.dgieurope.com
June
24-29 January SPIE Photonics West 2009
San Jose, California, U.S.A.
Tel: +1 360 685 5407
Fax: +1 360 647 1445
E-mail: PeterB@SPIE.org
Internet: www.SPIE.org
26-28 February Navigating the Future of