Department of Natural Resources leverages web-based ENVI visualization tools.

Research Systems Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Company, announced that the State of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is purchasing RSI's ENVI on the Net (EON) technology to create a new statewide digital basemap for use in multiple mapping applications. EON is a Web-based visualization and analysis tool that will allow the DNR to process a variety of satellite and aerial imagery, integrate the images with a geographic information system (GIS) and share important data with a variety of DNR divisions.

EON is based on RSI's ENVI Software, a visualization and analysis program used in remote sensing and GIS applications. Because EON is a Web-based application, government agencies like the State of Alaska can lower their costs while benefiting from the functionality of a powerful image processing package.

According to Bill Kiger, a natural resource specialist for DNR's Division of Outdoor Parks and Recreation, the Alaska DNR will use EON to process Landsat 7 satellite data for the creation of a new statewide digital basemap, and will also use SPOT 5, DigitalGlobe and IKONOS satellite image data for other State of Alaska projects. DNR will use the basemap for GIS applications including planning, change detection, resource assessments, mining claim locations, environmental reviews, fire management, insect infestation assessments, image analysis and classification, and public meeting presentations about land management issues. This basemap will also serve as a component of Alaska's I-Plan, a participatory venture to create a national map.

Kiger initiated the utilization of satellite imagery and an image processing program to effectively represent the various natural assets in Wood-Tikchik, the largest state park in the entire U.S. Covering 1.6 million acres of Alaskan land, Wood-Tikchik is sprinkled with interconnecting lakes, recreational areas, rivers and private properties. After acquiring satellite imagery of the state, Kiger acquired the software tools needed to process and display the imagery, including ENVI. Eventually, Kiger recognized a need to share the tools and data with several state agencies involved in mapping and planning, and decided upon EON for its Web-based capability.

Examples of Alaska DNR's EON applications will include:

  • Archaeology: using satellite image data to analyze vegetation change for the identification of archaeological sites Recreation Land Sales: using global positioning satellite (GPS) and satellite image data to stake out and survey parcels
  • Easements: determining public versus private properties
  • Mining Lands and Water: evaluating remote mining developments to plan environmentally sensitive access routes and other infrastructure
  • Oil and Gas: conducting change detection and tracking infrastructure development
  • State Trails: using high-resolution satellite data to map and illustrate trail access for communities
  • Interpretation and Education: using imagery to help the public understand the state's natural resources and recreational opportunities "EON will help DNR divisions perform automatic change detection, create legal descriptions of lands - even determine which properties have changed due to glacial river erosion and deposition. These types of analyses can help us appropriately identify and assess, when applicable, individuals who are financially responsible for specific lands," Kiger said. "Otherwise, we would have to resort to staking out these areas by boat or plane."

Kiger said that EON is extremely cost-effective for a state agency. "Because of its unlimited licensing, we don't need to purchase desktop licenses for all users," he said. "In addition, EON runs on any machine and is not resource intensive like other image processing packages. This is important for many agencies that don't necessarily have the latest and greatest computer systems," he added.

RSI is fully customizing EON for Alaska's DNR. Because EON will be tailored for both technical and non-technical users, anybody who needs basemaps can easily access them on the DNR Web site.

EON will initially be used to process and annotate 500 Landsat satellite image scenes, as well as overlay the images with other text and imagery that constitute the basemap. ENVI's vector capability and the recent availability of an ArcGIS plug-in to ENVI will enable EON users to incorporate a wide variety of file formats and easily edit vectors.