RSI's IDL Software Helps Map Forest Fires in Western U.S.
Satellite Images Showing Blaze Available on Web Within 90 Minutes
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
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 www.RSInc.com
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Kodak and IDL Software are trademarks of Research Systems Inc.
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Source: Material used in press releases is often supplied by external
sources and used as is.