Monday, January 12, 2009

Leica XPro: A First Look...

Last week I had the opportunity to learn more about Leica XPro, the new ground processing software for the ADS40/ADS80 airborne sensor. You may have seen the press release from ISPRS last summer announcing the partnership between Leica Geosystems and North West Geomatics Ltd.

Some background information: GPro has been the post-processing software for the ADS40 pushbroom sensor since it's introduction to the market several years back. Coupled with ORIMA, it produces various image products ranging from raw images to triangulated stereo pairs and digital orthophotos.

Leica XPro is the successor to GPro, and is a completely new software package that offers some innovative tools for streamlining the ADS workflow.

Here are a few of the benefits that impressed me:

- There's a new viewer that is blazing fast. Since ADS sensors collect long "pixel carpet" strips of imagery, the file sizes can be fairly large (which can be a big advantage when it comes time for image mosaicking). This allows for a quick quality control check right after the data is downloaded. The viewer allows RAW images to be previewed prior to georeferencing and also supports virtual on-the-fly viewing of L1 (georeferenced) imagery. The viewer also has the ability to apply radiometric corrections on the L1's. Here's what the viewer looks like with an ADS80 FCIR image loaded:

- There's been a complete overhaul of the aerial triangulation methodology. Like GPro, ORIMA-M is the backbone of the triangulation system, however XPro has created a "grey-box" version of it. ORIMA's CAP-A bundle adjustment software is still embedded with the system, but the user interface has been completely updated. There is a completely new system for point measurement (featuring the new viewer technology), and improvements have been made in autocorrelating points across images. You can also load a DSM of the project area (GTOPO30 comes with the software, or you can use your own), as displayed below:

- Also new for the triangulation system is an innovative color coded quality "heat map" of sorts, which allows for an interactive analysis and refinement of weak areas (e.g. point review, new automatic point measurement runs, etcetera). The number of APM points required for a solution has also been dramatically reduced.

Once the imagery is triangulated, XPro can also perform distributed orthorectification processing. Like GPro, the system is also uses CONDOR.

Here are some images of varying resolutions over the same area showing what you can expect out of the ADS80. Feel free to click on the images below to view the full screen captures.

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