Tool Name: ERDAS Imagine
Version Number/Release Date: 14.00.01 Dec.5 2014
Developer Website: http://www.hexagongeospatial.com/products/remote-sensing/erdas-imagine
Reviewed by: Sarah Kelly
Review Date: 10 February 2015
Tags or Keywords:
GIS, Geospatial technology, Raster image, Remote Sensing
Overview of Features and Purpose:
ERDAS imagine is a suite of geospatial authoring software designed to create digital images used in GIS ( Geographic Information System) mapping or CAD software. Remote sensing is used to analyze an area; a spatial model of this data is then created and reported visually. The suite can be used to produce these visual results in 2D and 3D, as well as to create video and map compositions. Users are able to work with raw data that they can then interpret and use for their intended purpose. An example given on the website for the suite details the use of the software to examine arable land use in Northern Ireland. https://p.widencdn.net/aw7okv
In the case study, the remote sensing data taken from the land was able to indicate which areas contained shale and which areas were arable- this specific information was then used by farmers to apply for government grants for funding. Using ERDAS Imagine in this instance was a more efficient, cost effective and accurate approach than surveying land using traditional methods. The use of this technology aided in the development of this rural landscape and became part of a movement toward sustainable economic growth in Northern Ireland.
Target users and Ease of use:
This software can be used in fields such archeology, urban planning and civil and environmental engineering. Geoscientists in areas of study involving land use like forestry, for instance, or companies involved in locating natural resources such as fossil fuels are target users for the company. E training is free and accessible on the Hexagon website in the form of a list of video tutorials. The videos that I watched moved quickly and were often difficult to follow or contained terminology that I wasn’t familiar with. I think this type of program is something that would require a course or instructor training to be able to use productively. The product website seemed to be targeting companies rather than an academic users. Although it was designed for “ease of use”, I imagine the product is targeted towards users who already have a background in GIS. This may be a feature less related to the content of the software itself than to the website copy. Language use here seemed to make an attempt to demonstrate ERDAS Imagine’s complexity rather than accessibility. The software is available on campus for students in the Geography department int the GIS and Remote Sensing Laboratory http://geography.ua.edu/facilities/.
Cost: about $8,500
Requirements: ERDAS Imagine can be used with 32 bit and 64 bit hardware and operating systems.
Comparable and Rival Tools:
Integrated Land and Water Information System (ILWIS): This tool was designed for research through a Dutch university (free and open source) http://www.itc.nl/Pub/research_programme/Research_output/ILWIS_-_Remote_Sensing_and_GIS_software.html
Natural Resources Database (NRDB) : This tool was designed for people in developing countries to use in order to manage their own resources (not a commercial resource- their website does not appear to be completely finished) http://www.nrdb.co.uk
Notes: I am interested in seeing how tools like ERDAS Imagine could be used in outside of their intended application/purpose. The availability of this kind of program and the ability of a user to produce digital images can be a way to think about photography and “realism” in a different light. Landscape has been an important part of the tradition of art and is continuing to evolve with the development of new technology. GIS software has been applied in the context of fine art production ( examples I’ve seen use aerial photography), as artists also seek new ways of understanding the world we live in. For example, Dutch artist Gerco De Ruijter used images from Google Earth to creation stop-motion images for his short video, CROPS.