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High-tech map quest for pilots

Loveland, US: When it comes to digital images, most people are familiar with jpeg files. But for pilots who need to download images quickly in order to read a 3-D map of a city – to discern military targets or ground hazards – jpeg files can come up short. Hence, Numerica Corp.- Loveland-based information-sciences firm in a partnership with TechniGraphics – a geospatial-services company, has developed new GIS technology, GIS Encoder software.

The GIS Encoder software can decompress and produce accurate 3D digital maps and then wirelessly stream the data to mobile devices. It is the latest government-contract success story for both small companies and the product is moving forward just as the firms are each going through a major growth spurt.

The software will address shortcoming for military pilots flying over urban environments. Typically, image data that must be decompressed onto devices with memory constraints – such as mobile phones and PDAs – will lose fine details such as elevation and other 3-D elements. The deficiencies are especially troubling for low-flying pilots who need an accurate read on antennae towers, power lines, trees and even church spires when they are scanning a digital map.

Numerica and Technigraphics/CACI are both members of GIS Alley, the regional GIS industry cluster. Personnel from the two companies had first crossed paths via a networking group of Northern Colorado defence contractors several years earlier, so when their staffs met to discuss a collaboration on the GIS Encoder project, each knew what the other brought to the table.

Numerica had its mathematical brainpower. Technigraphics brought its geospatial expertise. The collaboration has enabled the companies to win a Phase II SBIR grant from the government to further develop the product and explore commercial uses.

Source: www.ncbr.com