Advanced Imaging


Industry News

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

GeoEye-1, World's Highest Resolution Commercial Satellite, Will Use SGI Technology to Process Image Data

via PRNewswire

ORLANDO , Fla., GEOINT 2006, Booth 207, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --In anticipation of the spring 2007 launch of an extremely high-resolution Earth imagery satellite, GeoEye (Nasdaq: GEOY), the world's largest commercial satellite remote-sensing company, purchased high-bandwidth, high-performance computer technology from SGI (Nasdaq: SGIC). At the Dulles, VA, ground station for the new GeoEye-1 satellite, four SGI(R) Altix(R) systems were delivered during the first calendar quarter that will drive core satellite image processing for the .41-meter panchromatic (sensitive to all visible colors) and 1.65-meter multi-spectral (sensing and recording radiation from invisible as well as visible parts of the electromagnetic spectrum) imagery. GeoEye-1 is anticipated to collect more than 700,000 square kilometers -- billions of bytes -- of high-resolution imagery every day. A long-time SGI customer supplying imagery to the U.S. government, international governments and a growing number of commercial clients, GeoEye selected SGI systems because the record amounts of image data from the new satellite will require 4X the processing power.

"We have three satellites currently in orbit -- OrbView-2 and 3, and IKONOS -- but when GeoEye-1 becomes fully operational, it will be the world's most powerful and most accurate high-resolution commercial imaging satellite. It's going to collect more imagery on a given day than any commercial system currently on orbit," said Don Koboldt, senior principal geodetic engineer, GeoEye. "I chose SGI Altix because it has 64-bit processing power, not 32, and because there's a lot of computing power required for everything we do, including modeling the sensor and re-sampling all this data onto a geographic system. Not to mention the actual volumes of pixel data that has to be processed. It's both an I/O-bound problem and a compute problem, and SGI is taking the lead in designing systems for this need."

The GeoEye-1 satellite's ability to go down to a .41-meter resolution means, in simple terms, the high-resolution imagery taken from orbit and processed by the SGI(R) Altix(R) 350 systems will be capable of discerning objects on the ground 16 inches in size or larger. At that resolution, one would be able to identify home plate on a baseball diamond or count the manholes on a city street.

In general, GeoEye's products are utilized in a wide variety of applications including defense and intelligence for large area mapping, state and local governments for urban planning and mapping, insurance and risk management, environmental monitoring and disaster relief. Such imagery is also ideal for on-line mapping search engines.

GeoEye recently won a $19.6 million contract with the U.S. Government to supply imagery and value-added products and services to several Federal agencies including the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Park Service, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).GeoEye uses a variety of off-the-shelf software and writes many in-house propriety codes at its St. Louis office, where much of the high end value-added work for the U.S. Government is produced. All the codes are written to be multi-platform, which makes the open system, Linux(R) environment of the SGI Altix systems perfectly compatible with the requirements set by the company.

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