RSI's IDL Software Helps Map Forest Fires in Western U.S. Satellite Images Showing Blaze Available on Web Within 90 Minutes

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 � RSI

Rochester, NY, June 21, 2002 - Eastman Kodak Company's Research Systems Inc. announced that its IDL software, The Interactive Data Language, is helping to map forest fires that have spread throughout Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Western Canada. IDL software is used to quickly process and display satellite images in near-real time so that scientists, researchers, and the general public can evaluate the impact and status of fire blazes across large geographic areas.

"For tracking the path of a fast-moving wildfire from space, the timeliness of processing and viewing satellite images is crucial," said Liam Gumley, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center. "IDL software is indispensable for this purpose, and is vital to our ability to display the satellite images on the Web within 90 minutes of their collection."

Gumley uses IDL software to process and visualize image data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra satellite. Raw data collected by the satellite are received at the University of Wisconsin's ground station, and converted to image products in Hierarchical Data Format. By processing the data using IDL software and custom C code, the images are available to the public on the Web within 90 minutes. IDL software is used to automatically generate images of specified geographic areas every time the satellite passes over that region. For monitoring the blaze of forest fires, IDL software is key to having frequent, up-to-date imagery.

According to Gumley, there are numerous practical applications for the use of satellite data processed using IDL software. The timely processing and visualization offered by IDL software enable wildfire mapping, short-term weather prediction, coastal monitoring and accident investigations. "IDL's fast processing capabilities, combined with wide geographic satellite coverage and direct downlinking techniques, allows us to image events today so that decision-makers can act quickly and responsively," he said.

Liam Gumley is a researcher in the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has worked with MODIS and other satellite data for eight years. He is the author of "Practical IDL Programming," published by Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Real-time images of the Western U.S. wildfires, collected by MODIS and processed by IDL, are available here.

The MODIS image from the NASA Terra satellite, was acquired and processed at the Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

About Eastman Kodak Company and infoimaging

Kodak is the leader in helping people take, share, enhance, preserve, print and enjoy pictures -- for memories, for information, for entertainment. The company is a major participant in infoimaging -- a $225 billion industry composed of devices (digital cameras and PDAs), infrastructure (online networks and delivery systems for images) and services & media (software, film and paper enabling people to access, analyze and print images). Kodak harnesses its technology, market reach and a host of industry partnerships to provide innovative products and services for customers who need the information-rich content that images contain. The company, with sales last year of $13.2 billion, is organized into four major businesses: Photography, providing consumers, professionals and cinematographers with digital and traditional products and services; Commercial Imaging, offering image capture, output and storage products and services to businesses and government; Components, delivering flat-panel displays, optics and sensors to original equipment manufacturers; and Health, supplying the healthcare industry with traditional and digital image capture and output products and services.

About Research Systems, Inc

RSI supports more than 200,000 worldwide users of its image and data analysis, visualization and application development software products. These products allow businesses to develop, deploy and manage imaging applications and are designed to increase developer productivity and reduce time to market for software projects. The company's primary markets include medical, remote sensing, defense, oil & gas, engineering, automotive and aerospace, among others. Additional information can be found at and

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2002 Kodak and IDL Software are trademarks of Research Systems Inc.

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