Geospatial Imaging – Where we came from and where we are going
Software Engineering for Leica Geosystems GIS and Mapping, LLC
Geospatial Imaging is a relatively new term that encompasses current efforts to measure our world. We are just entering the fully digital chapter of this story. Two hundred years ago a massive project was begun to map the subcontinent of India to a new level of precision and accuracy, which took more than forty years to complete. One hundred and fifty years ago photography became a commercial reality, followed in 1858 by the creation of the first aerial photographs. By the turn of the century the first real photogrammetric systems were being developed. Only fifty years ago the first satellite circled the earth followed in 1960 by the launch of the first remote sensing satellite the TIROS. As the first satellites were being deployed the digital computer was being created, leading to the development of digital systems in the late 1970s and early 1980s for the processing of satellite imagery. Today we have digital aerial cameras, airborne LIDAR systems, high resolution satellite systems, satellite borne radar systems all coupled with GPS providing unprecedented amounts of geospatial data. In creating systems that can integrate, analyze and share all of this data we will have the means to measure and model our world, doing in days, what once took two lifetimes to complete.