Canadian Space Agency uses Atlantis Scientific hyperspectral processing software

Officials at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) needed a software tool that would save development time for hyperspectral processing for their Earth Observation Application Development program.

By John McHale

ST-HUBERT, Quebec — Officials at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) needed a software tool that would save development time for hyperspectral processing for their Earth Observation Application Development program. They found their answer with a software package from Atlantis Scientific in Nepean, Ontario.

Initial support will be for the AVIRIS sensor from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., and a profiler and imaging sensor from Ekwan, a mining and prospecting company in Toronto, says Patrick McConnell, president of Atlantis Scientific. Upon completion of the project, the CSA will receive a copy of the software for customer demonstration.

AVIRIS, short for the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer, is an Earth remote optical sensor, JPL officials say. It delivers calibrated images of the upwelling spectral radiance in 224 contiguous spectral channels, or bands, with wavelengths from 400 to 2,500 nanometers. The instrument flies aboard a NASA ER-2 airplane — a U2 plane modified for increased performance — at about 65,000 feet above sea level at about 450 miles per hour, JPL officials say.

Normally when a company is processing a line of hyperspectral data it can take them anywhere from six months to a year, he explains. "We can do it in less than two weeks," McConnell claims.

"Our software package will be able to efficiently process and manage thousands of square kilometers of data," says John Wessels, manager of research and development at Atlantis Scientific. "In addition to processing for the AVIRIS and Ekwan sensors, development of this capability will position us to provide hyperspectral processing for space-borne sensors such as ARIES, MERIS, and Hyperion."

The software is based on an existing Atlantis computing toolkit called Performance Emphasized Production Environment for Remote Sensing, or PEPPERS. It runs on the Linux operating system, McConnell says because "it is more flexible for processing in parallel." Linux, he says, "is the best operating system to develop a parallel system on an internal local area network."

Hyperspectral data significantly improves the accuracy of identifying ground surface materials such as metals, minerals, and vegetation, Atlantis officials say. These capabilities are useful for the military, coastal and ocean monitoring, transportation, mining, geology, forestry, and precision farming.

The Atlantis hyperspectral processor will compensate for sensor characteristics, correct for atmospheric effects, identify constituent components of each pixel based on spectral signature, and provide analysis and rapid visualization tools, Atlantis officials say.

Atlantis Scientific specializes in processing and analysis of remote sensing data, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) processing, interferometric SAR, image analysis, spaceborne and airborne data acquisition, and advanced signal processing applications.

For more information on Atlantis Scientific contact Patrick McConnell by phone at 613-727-1087, by mail at 20 Colonnade Road, Suite 110, Nepean, Ontario K2E7M6, by e-mail at pem@atlsci.com, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.atlsci.com.

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