Monday, March 31, 2008

An Overview of Leica Photogrammetry Suite 9.2

I mentioned on Friday that LPS 9.2 is now shipping, so I thought I would follow up with some of the features and benefits. I'm not going to go over every single item, since most of them are located here already.

The main release theme in 9.2 is a focus on robust performance. What does this mean? Well, there aren't tonnes of new features or modules, but we put major effort into improving existing components: in particular terrain processing, orthophoto generation, and mosaicking workflows.

The terrain improvements largely focused on the ATE (Automatic Terrain Extraction) and TE (Terrain Editor) modules. In ATE there is actually quite a bit of new functionality. In addition to rolling in "Adaptive ATE" capabilities and other enhancements in the LPS 9.1 service packs, we added "object filtering" capabilities. Object filtering is basically designed to remove surface features such as trees and buildings. Since ATE results can vary greatly depending on factors such as the sensor type, contrast, light conditions, scanning quality, and so forth, we also added several user-definable settings for object filtering. Depending on the project area, users can define the target object width/height for removal, as well as several other parameters such as slope threshold, smoothing, topographic type, and more. On the whole we've seen pretty decent results with this new option. Of course the results can vary greatly between datasets (e.g. removing a group of detached single family homes in relatively flat or gently rolling terrain is different from trying to remove a group of row-houses with pitched roofs in hilly terrain...), but on average filtering can reduce editing times by 30% or so when producing bare-earth terrain products.

The main new feature in the Terrain Editor (TE) is a new "Terrain Following Cursor" option, which is a great way to QC your terrain datasets. When enabled, the cursor follows the terrain surface, so you can easily see if you are off the ground and hence need to do some editing. Also in 9.2 there are some significant performance improvements when working with large (e.g. over a couple of million posts) LTF (Leica Terrain Format) TIN terrain datasets. Here's a screenshot of where to find the new icon for the Terrain Following Cursor:
This version of the Terrain Editor also features performance improvements when working with large (e.g. several million points or more) LTF files.

Leica MosaicPro improvements largely consisted of under-the-hood memory consumption cleanups that allow the tool to handle significantly larger projects. In addition, the dodging interface has been cleaned up, the feathering algorithm updated, and a long-requested "undo" button for seam editing has been added (hint: the "backspace" keyboard button will under vertex-by-vertex edits if you want to go back a couple but haven't "accepted" the overall seam edit). Another major improvement for MosaicPro is the ability to batch script the entire process and kick it off from a command line prompt. This enables a nice workflow for people that use the same radiometric settings across multiple projects - all you need to do is open up the application to edit your seams. After that you can save them as a file and then script the whole operation.

Something that isn't in the What's New document but is a major improvement concerns orthorectification speeds. The team spent some time on algorithm optimization and the result was a significant speedup in processing times when using LTF TINs as a terrain source. The exact improvement will vary with the size of the LTF, imagery, and so forth, in general we're seeing speedups of 25-30% or more. This can significantly reduce overall processing time for large projects.

That's all for now. There are a lot more enhancements and features (new sensor models, RPC triangulation improvements, the Terrain Prep Tool, and more...), but these are the main themes of the release! In a future post I will write about our improved support for medium-format digital camera workflows, along with the updated releases of PRO600 and ORIMA.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Leica Photogrammetry Suite 9.2 Shipping!

Just a quick note to say that LPS 9.2 is now officially shipping. While it has been available online for over a month now, the DVDs are now shipping. I'll post an update soon on the main benefits of the new release.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Welcome to the Fiducial Mark

Welcome to the Fiducial Mark!

Over the past several years the once clear lines between photogrammetry, remote sensing, and GIS have become increasingly blurred. Once rigid workflows have become fluid, which means various tools/products/methods can be used to achieve a variety of results. While the traditional photogrammetric product was an orthophoto, the various by-products used the final product generation, such as 3D terrain and feature data, have become important products in their own right - and often outside the "traditional" photogrammetry domain.

I've started this blog to discuss geospatial and mapping technologies, product developments, workflows, and industry events. My main interests lie in the areas of digital photogrammetry, specifically terrain processing workflows, orthophoto production, mosaicking, and various airborne sensor technologies. Other interests include 3D city modeling and visualization, data sharing, and enterprise geospatial technologies.

Thanks for stopping by!