SAN DIEGO - GeoEyeâ¢, the world's largest commercial remote sensing imaging company, has selected BAE Systems' SOCET SETÂ® and ClearFliteÂ® software for a project that will create three-dimensional maps for hundreds of airports worldwide. Pilots and air traffic controllers will be able to use the new maps to guide aircraft into and out of airports.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded GeoEye a $3.7 million contract in June to complete the 3D mapping project, which involves the creation of airport mapping databases for 365 airports by June 2007. NGA and other international standards organizations define the database specifications for airport authorities. GeoEye will combine the 3D capability of its IKONOSÂ® and OrbView-3 stereo imagery with BAE Systems' SOCET SET and ClearFlite software to create the detailed maps.
An airport mapping database is a geospatial database that contains features - such as runways, taxiways, terrain, buildings, and obstacles - near an airfield. Operators use the information to develop safe, direct flight patterns that save time and fuel and increase the number of flights per hour. Training organizations use the databases to familiarize pilots with hazards before they fly over an area for the first time.
"The project is about getting aircraft into and out of airports safely," said Dejan Damjanovic, program manager for GeoEye. "The databases will help NGA scout the safest paths and allow companies to build simulators to familiarize pilots with hazards. ClearFlite supports that need by providing precise measurements derived from photographs, rather than data collected from manual surveys."
BAE Systems' SOCET SET geospatial analysis software is used to create digital elevation models, while ClearFlite, a SOCET SET module, extracts the information from stereo images required to build the mapping databases. "ClearFlite creates the 3D obstruction identification surface model automatically, conserving time and allowing analysts to operate in real-time stereo mode to identify obstructions with a high degree of accuracy," said Curt Lima, BAE Systems program manager for ClearFlite.
The current project is the largest of three airport mapping database awards GeoEye has received from the NGA since 1999 for large-scale mapping projects using IKONOS stereo imagery in parallel with SOCET SET and ClearFlite software.