Feature Analyst, the flagship product for Visual Learning Systems Inc., is changing the way mapping is done within the US Forest Service. The Remote Sensing Application Center (RSAC) of the Forest Service has purchased several copies of Feature Analyst and has completed its year-long testing of its capabilities. The summary publication of this study points out:
(Feature Analyst) has several benefits that make it of particular interest to the Forest Service. These include:
§ Feature Analyst provides feature extraction tools previously unavailable to the Forest Service.
§ The software is relatively easy to use.
§ Feature Analyst operates off the existing Forest Service software platforms – ArcGIS, ArcView, and ERDAS Imagine.
§ The hierarchical learning approach of Feature Analyst makes it easy to achieve the best results possible.”
Feature Analyst has been used to map individual tree crowns, canopy coverage, different species, land-use, land-cover, fuel loads, trails, and many other features important to environmental agencies. In addition, an Imaging Notes article found Feature Analyst to be a valuable tool for Fire mapping. The article states:
“Overall, Feature Analyst classified the image into thematically correct classes substantially better (80.6%) than PCA or image-differencing classifiers (55.6%).”
o Feature Analyst was the only technique that distinguished burn and non-burn areas 100% correctly.
o The best way to classify future fuel loads is to adequately distinguish between lethal and mixed-tree burns. Feature Analyst was 100% correct in determining these classes.