Paragon aims software at feds

Paragon Imaging Inc. Woburn Mass. this month rolled out to the federal market a new product that company officials say will mean saved time for federal imagery analysts.

The new offering is a software package called Electronic Light Table 7000 R.3. The software surpasses its predecessor ELT/6000 in that it allows users working with satellite or aerial imagery to take a shortcut when creating a new image from an existing one. The product runs under SunOS 4.1x and Sun Solaris 2.x on Sun Microsystems Inc. workstations Hewlett-Packard Co.'s HP-UX 9.x Unix derivative and Digital Equipment Corp.'s Digital Unix 3.x.

Imagery analysts evaluate and manipulate images to bring out and define details that are not apparent at first blush. They make determinations such as what the elevation points are which buildings are schools and which buildings are factories. And they add their own information to images - such as notes or overlays of older images - to create what is essentially a new image that will require disk space for storage.

TimesaverELT/7000 however saves the changes to an original image as a separate file rather than saving the entire image. This approach saves disk space and time according to Jack Connors vice president of domestic sales for Paragon. Time is saved in opening and in transferring files he said.

The ability to avoid the creation of a new image file each time an original image is processed by analysts also is expected to mean less confusion when several analysts work on the same image to create different products.

The issue of time and space management is one that is seen as crucial to leaders of agencies such as the National Imagery and Mapping Agency whose customers include military and national policy planners who want immediate access to maps and images.

"There has to be a way to contain this data and get it down to a manageable level " Connors said. Moreover image analysis is the foundation for making the maps - paper and electronic - that NIMA customers use. "[Imagery analysts] need to be able to see detailed information and rapidly assess what's going on " said Jeff Tippen a physical scientist specializing in mapping at NIMA. "What they're going to do is provide me with a source package that tells me what's going on " Tippen said. The faster analysts can pass along that information the faster customers can get their maps he said.

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