ERDAS’ primary product line is ERDAS IMAGINE, a revolutionary geographic imaging software solution. With ERDAS IMAGINE, our customers, regardless of their GIS background, can visualize, manipulate, analyze, measure, and integrate any type of geographic imagery and geospatial information into 2D and 3D environments.
Executive Director Development, ERDAS, Inc., UK [email protected]
- Please tell us about the ERDAS IMAGINE products, and of ERDAS’ plans for the Remote Sensing, GIS Market in India.
ERDAS’ primary product line is ERDAS IMAGINE, a revolutionary geographic imaging software solution. With ERDAS IMAGINE, our customers, regardless of their GIS background, can visualize, manipulate, analyze, measure, and integrate any type of geographic imagery and geospatial information into 2D and 3D environments. The aim of ERDAS IMAGINE is to simplify image processing by offering a sophisticated and tightly integrated system that hides complex processes from the user through wizard-based tools and automated routines, and allow anyone to extract information and create results from imagery.
ERDAS, along with (Remote Sensing Instruments) RSI, an ERDAS distributor, recently opened ERDAS India in Hyderabad. I’ve been very impressed by the commitment of the Indian government to geographic imagery technology and its widespread adoption. The decision-makers, together with government ministers, are making an investment that will pay dividends for themselves in the future.
- In your opinion is image-processing software reasonably priced? Should software developers practice a dual pricing scheme? If not, why?
I think that ERDAS’ image processing software is very reasonably priced.The cost of our software is based primarily on the application needs of our customers, which range from a very basic image processing solution to the most advanced research & development solution. With that in mind, you can configure the software solutions to match specific price budgets.
ERDAS does not use the dual pricing system. We allow our international distributors to set a price for their market that is based on the services they offer, the product demand and any local taxes if applicable.
- What is in your opinion on the chances that ERDAS will develop products in India?
One of the reasons that I am in India and at Map India is to establish a development center with ERDAS India, because we have been impressed with the ability and the technological skills of the personnel here. One aspect of our plan is to establish a center that will help us develop core products in collaboration with our engineering team in Atlanta (Georgia, USA). This group will work with us to co-develop and develop specific Indian capabilities, working together with the Indian Remote Sensing Centre.
- How do you foresee the use of image processing for non-traditional, non-geographic professionals?
I don’t see software, in its present form, as being used in a non-traditional, non-geographic way. At ERDAS, we specialize in taking the imagery and extracting information that goes into GIS to make accurate maps.
I think that based on what we’ve seen in several presentations today (Map India 2001), that the use of GIS is going mobile. I think what you will see is a very different market that uses server-side mobile GIS to find the answers to everyday situations. For example, if a customer wanted to take a daytrip, and wanted to look at the current road conditions to look for rockslides, they could go onto the Internet and look at the current road conditions. They wouldn’t care about DTMs or slope analysis, the person using the server-side, hidden, mobile, GIS application would only want the information about the road conditions.
Based on the server side, image processing will become a server-based operation providing information to the GIS that people use through mobile phones, PDA’s and any other mobile computing platform that will be available.
- What is your opinion about the market for IRS/PAN data after the launch of IKONOS? Would the GIS community, image processing and RS community prefer to have costly IKONOS data or the 5.8 resolution PAN data?
Every time a new satellite is launched, there is speculation that the older and lower-resolution satellite data will become obsolete. I don’t personally believe this. As high-resolution data become available, people find uses for them. For example, 1-meter photography data will be used primarily for mapping purposes, like urban aerial mapping. But very few organizations will be able to afford (in terms of money, time and effort) to use the highest resolution data for every single application in their territory. A regional government, for example, may use high-resolution data for mapping the cities and villages. But when the government has a need for low-resolution data to map the outlying areas, it may use LANDSAT, SPOT, etc. for agricultural applications. That same government may use a 5-meter PAN data for urban planning, and move to 1-meter aerial photography to capture data in the city center. I think we can agree that all image data targets or sources are very complementary and won’t become obsolete.
- Is there a market for 2.5 Meter CARTOSAT data, which India plans to launch late this year?
I think there will be a market for 2.5-meter data, but it depends on distribution and availability of the data. If the user can’t get the data in a timely fashion and can’t use it in his GIS, then that will cause problems. As long as it is available to the customer in a timely fashion, at a reasonable price, in suitable format for use, then there is a market for the data.
- How has the strategic alliance with Space Imaging enhanced the future global business activities of ERDAS?
We have a very close relationship with Space Imaging that benefits both ERDAS and Space Imaging. From my point of view, we are working closely with them, to ensure that our software handles their data extremely well. We are currently implementing the IKONOS rational functions (the mathematical model of the sensor) in the ERDAS IMAGINE software range, which will allow our users to create highly accurate DEMs, orthophotos and 3D features.
- Can you elaborate on ERDAS’ education packages that are made available to students, academicians and researchers?
At ERDAS, we offer extensive discounts on our software for use in an educational environment. We offer discounts to researchers because we want them to be able to carry out their research while providing them with the latest technologies being used with real-world applications. This means that Universities can supply well-qualified staff to both commercial and government customers. ERDAS also has a Higher Education Annual Kit (HEAK), program available to universities and colleges. The program brings industry standard image processing and GIS-related technology into the classroom at an affordable price. The HEAK is essentially a low annual fee that allows multiple seats of our software to be installed throughout laboratories and classrooms – it has proved incredibly popular throughout the world.
- Are these schemes also available in India?
Yes, these educational packages are available in India. For more information about our education packages in India, contact ERDAS India at +91 403 074 066 or at Plot #7, Type-I, Kukatpally Industrial Estate, Hyderabad, India 500072.