DigitalGlobe announced that its QuickBird imagery, with 3D visualization technology from Evans & Sutherland Computer Corporation is being used in new and innovative ways by ABC News during the broadcast network's coverage of the war in Iraq. The combination of DigitalGlobe satellite imagery and E&S's Environment Processor (EP() technology, gives viewers a realistic, current perspective of Iraq's geography.
Using QuickBird imagery in combination with state-of-the-art processing techniques, E&S developed a 3D database for ABC News that depicts Iraq and surrounding areas as well as other key locations in the Middle East. Modeling techniques were utilized to extract specific features in specified areas of interest. The database shows the aircraft, land vehicles, ships, and infantry involved in the operations and depicts several possible scenarios for the U.S. operations. The staff at ABC News (has) integrated the database into their news creation process for viewing and can create new scenarios to reflect actual events as they receive information from the Pentagon and other sources.
QuickBird satellite imagery has the highest resolution of any commercial satellite imagery in the world, showing details on the ground as small as 60 centimeters in diameter. By using these highly accurate photos with E&S's EP, ABC News is able to represent real-world events in a 3D perspective. The 3D simulations, many of which depict actual events within hours of their occurrence in Iraq, will be featured in ABC News reports depicting the progress of the war.
"This new technology will give our viewers a heightened understanding of the geography of this region," said Jeffrey W. Schneider, ABC News vice president. "It has been and continues to be a terrific tool for ABC News to use in order to convey important information to the American people."
"E&S EP technology creates whole new possibilities for a variety of visualization applications," said Gene Frazier, E&S strategic visualization vice president. "Until now, the time required to create visualization databases made their use impractical for anything that required rapid creation or quick changes. With EP, we have reduced the time required to create a realistic 3D database from months to weeks and days with updates performed within hours."
"The news media has rarely had the opportunity to show the public realistic, current views of a restricted location during a time of breaking news," said Herb Satterlee, CEO and chairman of DigitalGlobe. "Providing satellite imagery of Iraq and presenting it in a 3D view enables the public to make assessments about the geography and facilities in an area to which we would otherwise have no visual access."
E&S worked with GIS Xpress, an imagery service provider for Photon Research Associates (PRA) of San Diego, Calif., to obtain the QuickBird imagery from DigitalGlobe.