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2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Options for Data Purchasers 26 April, 2006 Craig Molander Senior Vice President of Business Development Surdex Corporation.

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Presentation on theme: "2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Options for Data Purchasers 26 April, 2006 Craig Molander Senior Vice President of Business Development Surdex Corporation."— Presentation transcript:

1 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Options for Data Purchasers 26 April, 2006 Craig Molander Senior Vice President of Business Development Surdex Corporation Chesterfield, MO, USA

2 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Outline Surdex Corporation Basis of costs in mapping Technology changes Film and digital cameras Suggestions Q&A

3 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Surdex Corporation Headquartered in Chesterfield, MO (~20 miles from downtown St. Louis) 51 st year of operation ~75 employees Strong acquisition capability and strong partnerships R&D team focuses on software/hardware development/integration to streamline production costs Offerings include: Imagery/LIDAR acquisition: 3 piston aircraft, 3 pressurized turbine aircraft 6 film cameras Intergraph Digital Modular Camera LIDAR (self-integrated) Image scanning (3 of the fastest image scanners on the market) Digital orthophoto production Digital surface model generation from LIDAR, digital correlation, 3D editing Planimetric (feature) capture GIS services: database design, population, compilation

4 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Surdex Corporation Operations across the entire contiguous United States and Alaska Clientele include: Federal government: USDA, USGS, US Corps of Engineers Defense/defense mapping/Homeland Security Mapping State government Local governments Pipelines/utilities Private engineering/environmental Surdex is known for performance and communication Web-based Collaborative Project Management System (CPMS) Dedicated project management Streamlined production emphasizing performance Dedicated R&D group supporting production and customers with unique solutions and process flows Solve your customers problems and they will solve yours

5 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Basis of Costs Mapping companies are capital-intensive businesses… Aircraft: $100K - $4M Aerial film cameras: $150K - $400K Large-format digital cameras: $800K - $1.5M Airborne LIDAR systems: $250K - $1M Image scanners: $50K - $150K Operating with large costs… Workstations… Data storage…. Aircraft hangaring/maintenance/inspections/repair… Surdex: Expended ~$6M in last 2 years on aircraft and instrumentation (75 people) Full-time aircraft maintenance staff Nearly 2 workstations per employee Nearly 2TB of on-line storage per employee…and growing

6 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Basis of Costs Utilization == estimated amount of use for high-expense equipment Higher utilization == lower operating cost per unit/hour Lower utilization == higher operating cost per unit/hour Must exceed fixed costs, leaving only variable costs to deal with By pushing utilization higher, operating costs and prices to the customer are reduced Example: increasing aircraft/instrument utilization Pursue work resulting in year-round flying (not just traditional spring and fall leaf-off periods) – other markets, customers, regions of the country, even continents Perform as much aircraft maintenance and inspections in-house – resulting in more productive time and thus higher utilization Consider higher-performance aircraft that can move from project to project quickly, working around weather problems

7 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Basis of Costs What does this mean…. Acquisition of imagery can be the dominant costs for a project – especially digital orthophotos Allow companies to suggest solutions that minimize acquisition, thus reducing costs As resolution requirements increase, acquisition costs become less of the total – elevation modeling begins to dominate (labor costs) Fly as high as possible to reduce acquisition costs Examples of acquisition costs for digital orthophotos 1-meter (3 foot): ~70% of the total 0.5-meter (1.5 foot) : ~40% of the total 1 foot: ~20% of the total 0.5 foot: ~10% of the total

8 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Technology Changes Film, film processing, image scanning significantly better than 5-10 years ago Can now scan imagery to 10 microns/pixel – used to be 15-25 microns/pixel guidelines Can now scan 800 frames per day – used to be 200-300 Can push acquisition altitude higher for same digital orthophoto quality – thus saving costs by as much as 2X Can re-process acquired imagery by re-scanning to a higher resolution for additional detail Older guidelines for mapping and photography scales may not be valid Digital cameras – last 2-4 years Offer multiple spectral bands from same flight (panchromatic, red, green, blue, and near infrared) – less cost for additional products (especially color infrared) Higher bit depth accelerates automated processing (digital matching) and ability to see into the shadows to some degree Much higher signal-to-noise – higher quality resulting in higher interpretation value

9 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Technology Changes LIDAR – last 6-8 years Ability to see through the trees Day/night and nearly all-weather acquisition – optimizes utilization Can reduce net costs of topographic mapping – combined with imagery coverage – by reducing labor costs

10 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium What Does this Mean? General rules for digital orthophotos: Fly as high as possible – scanning at higher resolution For detailed elevation models – use LIDAR combined with 2D breaklines collected from imagery PROVIDED the imagery will not be used for topographic mapping at a later date – requires LIDAR data for detail

11 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Film vs Digital Resources ~300 film aerial mapping cameras in North America ~30 large-format digital cameras in North America Economics Film cameras cost ~$200-400K and last 15-20 years Large format digital cameras cost $1-1.5M and last 4-8 years Which one costs more to operate – and results in higher pricing? Digital does save film, film processing, film titling, and image scanning costs – but this is not as significant a savings as instrument vendors believe… Digital does provide other advantages Quality Multiple spectral bands/products from single acquisition See into the shadows…

12 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Frame Digital Systems Much like (frame) film cameras, utilizing matrix (2D) CCDs RGB, NIR often at lower resolution than panchromatic (B&W) bands Color/false color infrared (CIR) requires pan sharpening – addition of higher resolution panchromatic data to lower resolution RGB/CIR Most systems stitch images from separate cameras into a virtual (single) frame (Intergraph Digital Modular Camera, Vexcel UltraCam) An advantage for production companies: acquisition is different than film, but production tools are unchanged ABGPS is standard operating procedure, IMU is optional

13 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium DMC In Surdex Cessna 441 (Conquest)

14 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium DMC Image – ~3 GSD

15 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium DMC Image (Close-Up)

16 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Pushbroom Digital Systems Ground scenes imaged unto linear (1D) CCD arrays as the aircraft moves Bands are separated by beam-splitters – or separate optical paths – resulting in separate alignments for bands Require ABPGS and IMU (inertial measurement unit – angular rotations) to reconstruct geometry for each line of imaging Requires different production tools – but these are becoming common/standard and offered by more vendors Good for orthophoto programs – minimized obliquity in the flight direction As opposed to frames, imagery is captured in strips or pixel carpets – though often broken down into frames for convenience or stereoscopic editing Resolution may be gated by aircraft speed – cannot fly too fast or pixels will be stretched

17 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Leica Geosystems ADS-40 Pushbroom scanner Some bands are mounted off-nadir Simultaneous forward/backward panchromatic Multi-spectral R,G,B,NIR ADS-40

18 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Multi-Spectral Some digital systems actually acquire multi-spectral imagery (MSI) Analogous to existing commercial remote sensing satellite systems Support of classic classification operations True MSI: Defined as multiple bands acquired in non-overlapping segments of the spectrum Not all digital cameras actually do this – many actually overlap responses for RGB bands, but separate out near infrared Problem: converting MSI I into good rendition of natural color can be problematic…especially if bands are too narrow and/or too widely separated As often defined in requests for proposals, MSI is actually RGB & CIR Film would require multiple flights (one color, one CIR), or Multiple cameras in a single aircraft

19 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Interpretive Value Low signal-to-noise level of digital cameras (improved sharpness) may change data purchaser specifications in the future Experienced users of digital systems know that digital has 1.5-2X the interpretive value of film-based imagery of the same resolution (GSD) For example, a 2 GSD digitally-acquired ortho will be as interpretive as a 1 GSD film-acquired ortho End-users must examine this carefully – requirements may be changed to reduce price In-work test by Surdex Digital (DMC) and film acquisition over a test range only minutes apart Total of 7 different altitudes ranging from 3 to 1 meter film resolution Orthophotos being generated to compare interpretive values at varying resolutions Will utilize blind evaluations by staff and customers – GSD will not be disclosed Within next few weeks…

20 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Digital Myths/Misconceptions… Direct to production… Aircrews must copy data to transport drives – (2-6 hours) – and may miss FedEx deadline Reality is that data is not always in the production facility the next day All digital systems require a post-processing step for radiometric adjustment, stitching, ABGPS/IMU incorporation, etc. – that can take as long as (or longer) than image scanning cycle for film systems Cheaper for the end-user… Digital systems ($1-1.5M) are far more expensive to purchase than film systems ($250-400K) – extremely capital-intensive Digital systems will essentially last 5-8 years (before technology turnover) vs the 15-20 years for film systems – and may need expensive upgrades High-resolution (1 GSD and better) require much more terrain modeling and the net cost difference versus film may be neglible Net effect: digital can be up to 10-25% more expensive Digital can be cheaper when multiple bands (panchromatic + RGB + NIR/CIR) are required (which would cause multiple film flights)

21 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Digital Myths/Misconceptions… Film is dead… Less than 10% of the acquisition systems in North America are digital Film still has its place…and is expected to be around 10-15 years For select large programs (eg: USDA National Agriculture Imagery Program) digital systems are indeed becoming prominent: NAIP is 1-2 meter resolution digital orthophotos (DOQQs), with long-term goal of automated classification 2003: 10% digital 2004: 25% digital 2005: 40% digital 2006: 50% digital Owners of film cameras purchasing digital cameras: Many opt to add digital cameras, since film cameras still make $ Some have replaced film cameras in a nearly total transition to digital – depends upon a companys business model and market verticals

22 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Radiometry Digital offers simultaneous panchromatic + RGB + NIR (or MSI) Film restricted to panchromatic or RGB or NIR or CIR The primary distinguishing advantage of digital systems… Multiple products for marginal additional price….as opposed to (costly) multiple flights for film systems Better support of classification work (eg: impervious surfaces) From the customer standpoint, often attracts additional project funds from hydrology and natural resources (CIR is often the key here) Combined with greater bit depth, provides much more information that allows better automated processes such as aerotriangulation, elevation data extraction, and classification

23 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Digital – Multiple Products Panchromatic (B&W) Color Color Infra-Red (CIR)

24 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Bit Depth Most digital systems capture up to 12 bits/pixel (bpp) of dynamic range in each band Film systems exhibit at most ~9 bpp in production, typically 8 bpp 12 bpp vs 8-9 bpp amounts to 8-16X more information Digital systems have much higher signal-to-noise metrics Film is estimated at 1.5-3.0:1 – suffers from image scanning failing to recapture all of the information on film (+ scratches, lint, dirt…) Digital is estimated at 4.0-6.0:1 The second most important advantage of digital systems Can see into the shadows with 12 bpp This is generally only an advantage to production (automation and compilation) efforts Most customers are not interested in the additional 2X storage and complicated image enhancement required – though this will change over time Extreme advantage to automated processing involving image matching

25 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Re-Exploitation Film has a unique advantage – ability to re-scan imagery at higher resolutions for value-added products Digital systems are constrained to the GSD at time of acquisition Film example: 1:40,000 film scale can produce quality products at: 50 micrometer/pixel resolution ~= 2 meter GSD (excellent quality) 25 micrometer/pixel resolution ~= 1 meter GSD (excellent quality) 12.5 micrometer/pixel resolution ~= 0.5 meter GSD (good quality) 7 micrometer/pixel resolution ~= 1 foot GSD (marginal quality)

26 2006 MidAmerica GIS Symposium Suggestions Define the products required (format, media, accuracy,…) and NOT the process to produce them This encourages creativity from the mapping companies Require mapping companies to describe the processes they will use Use an RFI (request for information) process prior to the release of the RFP (request for proposal): Determine how mapping companies may approach the problem Re-visit product specifications Will result in a refined RFP that takes advantage of new technologies, new processes Emphasize performance and qualifications over pricing for the best results

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