Stellacore Corporation is a team of brilliant programmers that writes mind-bendingly ingenious photogrammetric software applications. While the software itself is extremely powerful, it can also be overwhelming for users. Stellacore retained Blue Sky GIS to create the procedures, user manuals, and training documents, as well as to perform the software testing and validation and conduct the training and customer support for a wide array of software suites:
- OrthoVista: Still the aerial mapping/survey industry’s best mosaicking software.
- Englewood/Pixmap: Instrumental in revolutionizing the orthorectification industry, dropping the price of off-the-shelf aerial photography by over 99%. Pixmap was used to create the first high-resolution imagery content for what eventually became Google Earth.
- PhotoTop: Automates the creation of 3D digital models of countertops directly from regular photographs without requiring the manual creation of the CAD drawing. The 3D models are then fed into the giant granite cutting robot which cuts out the countertop to the precise required dimensions.
- PictoVera: Orthorectification software for digital sensor platforms that produces imagery that is almost two times higher resolution than the imaging system manufacturer’s specifications without lowering the flight altitude. PictoVera also reduces image processing hardware costs by over 90% and utilizes a project set-up algorithm that automatically detects and loads project input images and files.
- Lift/TCT: Software to calibrate multiple imaging sensor arrays and automatically generate 3D colorized LiDAR digital models from billions of data point in mere minutes on a single computer platform. Lift/TCT was originally designed for a helicopter-mounted sensor array that generates 3D vegetation surveys along utility corridors in compliance with regulations enacted after the 2003 blackout that darkened the Eastern US for days.
It was taking 3 technicians a month to generate 1-meter resolution imagery for a city-wide aerial photo mosaic. At that rate the product was barely meeting production schedules and profitability targets. Stellacore Corporation had written a sophisticated software suite that dramatically improved productivity, but it was rather difficult to use. Blue Sky GIS designed the procedures for using the software, providing valuable feedback that improved the user interface. In the first pilot project one technician created the city-wide product in one month, and immediate 300% productivity gain. Blue Sky GIS wrote the user manuals and training materials and began training and customer support for the software. Blue Sky GIS designed the entire production process, including documentation updates, compliance with FGDC meta data standards and accuracy reporting, project tracking, including online product status reporting for sales staff and customers, and regular re-evaluations of the procedures to constantly identify procedural and software solutions for increasing productivity. Within 6 years the throughput was down to one week of technician time to produce 1-foot resolutions imagery with coverage areas more than doubled for each metro market area, in other words averaging well over 100% annual efficiency gains.
A client specializing in an innovative standardized testing product was receiving feedback from their customers that comparing results from adjacent schools wasn’t as useful as comparing results from schools with similar demographic compositions. But access to demographic profiles for individual schools is not readily available. Demographic data for school districts is easy to come by, but isn’t available at the school level. Demographic data about individual students is protected by privacy concerns. The demographic profiles for individual schools could be determined if the school attendance boundaries were available, however only 2½ states even compile their statewide school attendance boundary maps, much less make them publicly available. Asking 12,000+ school districts for demographic profiles for individual schools is impractical, to say nothing of asking each of the 120,000+ public schools. Mountain Measurement retained Blue Sky GIS to create a methodology that could reverse-engineer those school attendance boundaries from which the demographic profiles could be extracted. Since Minnesota, Delaware, and Washington DC had school attendance boundaries available, the demographic profiles for the reverse-engineered school attendance boundaries could be compared to the demographic profiles for the known school attendance boundaries. The profiles with the best statistical matches would point to the models that generated the most accurate school attendance boundaries. Results were presented at “Generating Artificial School Attendance Boundaries”, presented at the American Educational Research Association, 2009 Annual Meeting San Diego, CA.
The Quinault Indian Nation in southwestern Washington had aerial photos of their timber lands from up to 40 years ago. For timber resource management applications the photos needed to be orthorectified and mosaicked, however there was no contemporary ground survey to those archival photographs as is normally needed for orthorectification. The Quinault Indian Nation retained Blue Sky GIS to perform the orthorectification and mosaicking. Despite the fact that decades of logging had dramatically altered features in the photos, Blue Sky GIS was able to match the photos and create a mosaic of the imagery spanning 40 years. Sample videos were also created showing a “4-dimensional” change in the project area over time.
Pixxures, Inc. had not only sold a mapping product they did not yet know how to produce, in order to meet project budget requirements they had made commitments to produce the product through a partner company in Mexico. Pixxures retained Blue Sky GIS to create an experimental workflow for the digitization of a set of over 20,000 USDA maps. In just one month Blue Sky GIS created the procedure, trained Pixxures’ project managers in the procedures in English, and then translated the entire workflow into Spanish and conducted the training on-site in Mexico City.