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What do the Kentucky Derby and Remote Sensing Have In Common?

ASPRS, of course!

Patrick Collins

Held at the Galt House hotel, this year's conference offered a great mix of all things remote sensing over a three-day agenda. It was also co-located with a Joint Agency for Commercial Imagery Evaluation(JACIE) conference, which created a nice atmosphere where some of the best and brightest minds from science and academia could meet.

Eyes in the Skies

One of the most apparent trends I noticed at this show was the amount of exhibitors that had something to do with Unmanned Aerial Systems,or UAS. With the pending approval for UAS to fly commercially, many folks are beginning to offer services surrounding these sensors. Several booths were showing off actual cameras, as well as the different ways to mount them onto aerial systems without disturbing the accuracy of the data collection.

Other companies had their own planes and were offering to fly project sites as needed while several small systems were available for purchase direct from the vendor. Along with this were the software platforms capable of handling, analyzing, and disseminating the large amounts of still and full motion data that these systems capture. Needless to say, the UAS industry is set for huge growth in the near future, and many of the companies at the ASPRS show seem poised to capture their fair share of the market.

ENVI User Group

We also held our annual ENVI user group at the show. It was a two-hour session that occurred during the show on Tuesday. We had a good turnout, and covered some of the great additions we've made to the ENVI product line. This included highlights in the latest release of ENVI 5.1 such as the new Regions of Interest and Mosaic tools, as well as info on what's new in ENVI LiDAR and SARScape.


We took a portion of the user group to highlight some of our uses within the UAS market space, including our ability to catalog and serve real-time full motion video, and our ability to process data from UAS's and extract information from the data.

Finally, we wrapped up the session with an update on our enterprise and cloud-based technology. We highlighted the performance increases we've seen in our latest release of ENVI Services Engine, and discussed the benefits of ENVI for ArcGIS®,which enables ENVI functionality across the Esri® platform using ArcGIS for Server.

Off to the Races

All in all, I think it was a great conference. While the location may have been somewhat prohibitive for some of the previous attendees, Louisville provided a nice backdrop for the conference. I think my favorite part of the weekend was the opening reception, which was held at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs.


Attendees were treated to a tour of the grounds, and were given the ability to walk right up to the track. During the tour we learned that a horse only has one chance to run the Derby, when they're three years old. This made me think of the growing UAS industry and the race that is about to begin with deregulation of commercial flying of these systems. All of these companies are poised and waiting for the starter's gun, ready to be the first one out of the gate in the hopes of winning the big prize!


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