Rabu, 06 Agustus 2008

LPS 9.3 Preview: KML Export

We're getting late in the release cycle for the upcoming LPS 9.3 release (the beta testing phase has now started!) so I thought I'd start previewing some of the new functionality we're releasing.

An increasing number of geospatial applications are supporting KML (although the word "support" can mean a lot of things), so mentioning that we'll be able to export the LPS Block File as a KML file isn't earth-shattering news. However, KML in the context of photogrammetric applications is relatively new and there are some interesting implications.

First I'll show how the exporter works and then get into what some of the uses are. Here's a screen capture of a small photogrammetric project in the LPS Project Manager, in area of Waldkirch, Switzerland.As you can see it is a relatively "complete" project. There are triangulated images, GCPs and Tie Points, some DTMs, and orthophotos. From the Project Manager, we have a new drop down entry in the "Tools" section called "Export to KML". Click on this and the following dialog appears.The dialog allows you to choose which elements of the photogrammetric project (Block File) you would like to export. Check the various boxes and then you can hit the "Export" button to generate the KML file.

For this dataset I've uploaded the output KML file here. Feel free to download it and check it out. Note that the various photogrammetric data elements (e.g. Ground Control Points) can be turned on and off. Here is a screen capture of the file in Google Earth.
So this brings us to the question, why is this relevant? The first thing that comes to mind is project tracking and status reporting. Photogrammetric/mapping projects are increasingly completed in disparate geographic areas. This can make project tracking a challenge. While there's a mixed-bag of current approaches to project tracking, a KML file can provide a relatively compact (especially if you leave out the tie points) and visual representation of what parts of the project are complete. For example, an organization with an office in the USA that is working with a partner in another part of the world could request daily updates of status for a large digital ortho project. By looking at the "orthos" layer, the project coordinator could not only see how many are complete (like they may currently do with MS Excel or other spreadsheet apps) but also see a visual of the completed project areas. Thus, they could see if the "challenging" parts of the project had been tackled yet (e.g. rugged terrain or urban areas) and manage accordingly.

I'll talk about this a bit more in future posts, as well as hightlight some of the other solutions we've been working on this year. We're certainly looking forward to getting the new release out!

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