LiDAR Goes Mainstream

ENVI LiDAR allows you to run a 3D spatial analysis to identify trees encroaching on power lines.
  Recent headlines in mainstream publications have featured an acronym familiar to those of us in the remote sensing community – LiDAR. The Denver Post recently touted "Xcel keeps dead trees off power lines with LiDAR mapping," while the Sydney-Morning Herald reported on the LiDAR-aided discovery of a 1,200 year old city in the jungles of Cambodia. While the remote sensing and GIS communities are more familiar with LiDAR and the cool things that are possible with it, the rest of the world is catching on. That’s why we created ENVI LiDAR with automated tools and an intuitive interface, so users of all skill levels can easily get information from their LiDAR data.

The Denver Post article by Mark Jaffee discussed the threat posed by the more than 3 million acres of pine-beetle infested trees to the 13,000 miles of Xcel power lines. Traditionally these lines were checked on foot, racking up lots of man hours and running the risk of missing something or erring on the side of caution and cutting down trees that aren't actually a risk. Mike Zemlock, the helicopter pilot interviewed for the article said, "LiDAR is a quick and easy way to measure large areas." Zemlock has also flown LiDAR projects on rail lines, power lines, and pipelines.

No surprise that LiDAR solves practical problems, but who knew it could help uncover a lost civilization, ala Indiana Jones style? The story, as reported by the Sydney Herald, is full of high-tech and high drama. After LiDAR images stripped away the thick Cambodian jungle canopy in the mountainous Phnom Kulen region to reveal hidden structures, Australian Archaeologist Damien Evans set out to confirm the discovery. He made the trek navigating through dense undergrowth on small paths in the jungle with a one-legged guide named Heng Heap. Did we mention the region is strewn with active land mines?

In this instance, LiDAR was able to uncover what years of painstaking ground research had been unable to -- temples, canals, and Buddhas carved into rock but now overgrown with moss. The medieval city, called Mahendraparvata, is thought to be some 1,200 years old.

What practical or super cool things are you doing with LiDAR data?
Join the conversation on our LinkedIn page.

The Down and Dirty of Remote Sensing
Using Landsat Data to Map Crop Residue

Remote sensing allows for the rapid acquisition of tillage information that is important for environmental and agricultural analysis and policy. Guy Serbin, who currently works as an imagery processing analyst with the USDA, recently developed an operational process for mapping tillage residue with Landsat data using ArcGIS and ENVI+IDL. Check out the case study to get the nitty gritty on tilling practices and how to extract tillage information from Landsat data.  
Image created by Dr. Baojuan Zheng.

Whether you are mapping crop residue, creating vector objects from LiDAR for further analysis in your GIS, or looking for hidden treasure in far away jungles, ENVI for ArcGIS can help you get the job done. You can use ENVI for ArcGIS to analyze virtually any type of geospatial imagery, including hyperspectral, multispectral, panchromatic, LiDAR, and SAR, in any environment -- on the desktop, in the cloud, or online. This flexibility allows you to easily implement time-tested, scientifically proven, ENVI image analysis tools without changing your existing workflow, or switching back and forth between software packages.

Notes from the
2013 Esri International User Conference

Earlier this month, many of you were either in San Diego for the Esri User Conference, or watching the news coming from there. This year the Esri User Conference drew over 14,000 geospatial professionals from over 130 countries.

Exelis VIS at this year's Esri User Conference in San Diego.
  Jack Dangermond, Esri president and founder, gave the opening keynote during the plenary, and spoke on the event’s theme, “GIS - Transforming our World,” and how online GIS is becoming an essential component of society’s infrastructure. “GIS leverages the best science and technology,” Dangermond said. "Building on your existing work, you will transform our world."

Jaye Lampe, Exelis VIS president and Lawrie Jordan, Director of Imagery at Esri both echoed this sentiment during the Exelis VIS Press Breakfast hosted during the conference. Lampe highlighted how the integration of ENVI and ArcGIS on the desktop has evolved to include server and now cloud and Web-based technology, and how that is being employed by customers to solve various industry problems.

Visitors to the Exelis VIS booth at this year's conference got to try out new interactive touch screen demos with scenarios that challenged users to extract information from an image. Each scenario explained how ENVI could assist with a task while also saving time and resources. Scenarios included routing emergency responders through passable roadways after an earthquake struck Haiti, detecting change over a nuclear refinement site in Iran, and identifying and directing fire crews to wildfire hotspots in California. Exelis VIS donated money for each individual that played via the Exelis Inc. Action Corps to Team Rubicon, a San Diego based charity uniting skills of military veterans and first responders.

Complimentary ENVI & IDL Training
— Come and Get It!

  Now through the end of 2013, classroom trainings for ENVI and IDL in Boulder, CO, Herndon, VA, and Charlottesville, VA, are being offered at no cost. This promotion is valid for all regularly scheduled public classes during the 2013 calendar year. If you are already a customer, or thinking of becoming one, contact your account representative for more information or to sign up.

View our 2013 Classroom Calendar and take advantage of this limited time offer!

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See us at these upcoming trade shows:

Esri Australia User Conference
September 4-6, 2013
Brisbane, Australia

September 20-23, 2013
Honolulu, HI


Learn about ENVI and IDL applications and functionality with these videos:

New Sensors Provide Superior Data to Increase Geospatial Knowledge (Live)

Enabling Warfighters with Geospatial Applications

View all recorded web seminars.


Imagery Speaks
Web-enabled Geography, No Longer Just a Dream

Sub-pixel Analysis Works Great with Landsat 8

The IDL Data Point


See all Exelis events and training.

Extending ENVI with IDL
August 13, 2013 - Charlottesville VA

Scientific Programming with IDL - Boulder CO
August 21, 2013 - Boulder CO

Exploring ENVI
September 10, 2013 - Boulder CO

Exploring ENVI
September 17, 2013 - Bracknell, UK

Exploring ENVI
September 17, 2013 - Herndon VA

Exelis VIS in the News

Dave Gonzalez, Solutions Engineer at Exelis VIS, discusses advanced ENVI image analysis across the ArcGIS platform
Summer 2013 GIS Cafe

Precision Agriculture Yields Growth for Geospatial Companies
June, 2013 GeoDataPoint

Interoperable Geospatial Solutions Strengthen Homeland Security
May, 2013 Earth Imaging Journal

Heads in the clouds
April, 2013 GeoConnexion

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