Of Use To Society

It is a great blessing to have been created with marketable skills (I try to remember to always be thankful to the Creator); it is a greater blessing to get paid to work on interesting projects (“if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life!”). And an even greater blessing is when one of those interesting projects turns out to be Of Use To Society.

So I happened across this video from Walter Scott (CTO/Founder of DigitalGlobe), a short talk at the 2010 “Where 2.0” conference. He’s talking about geolocational accuracy of satellite imagery, and at 5:16 in the video he starts talking about me!

BAE Systems (red logo, lower right of the slide at 5:16) is where I work, and the “Metric Information Network (MIN)” is the R&D I have been working on part- to full-time for the last 4 years or so (my boss John Dolloff invented it, and I (and a few others) created the prototype). That graph on the left hand of the slide (which Scott says “looks like a bunch of measles”!!) was made by me for a MIN-based study of the accuracy of WorldView-1 imagery that John & I co-authored. It will appear in an upcoming issue of PE&RS, and a similar paper was presented at ASPRS this year. If you’re up for it, here’s a link to the original theoretical paper.

What is The MIN? As Walter Scott well explains in the video, the MIN is a “statistical technique” that can improve the accuracy of imagery geolocation (and ground points), even with “nobody sitting on the ground with a GPS receiver saying ‘X marks the spot’.” (Although the MIN can also fuse accuracy from traditionally surveyed ground control.) Scott highlights one of the core features of MIN technology by adding, “What’s nice about these techniques is the more imagery we add, the more accurate it becomes.”

Anyways, I started watching that video, because I have a professional interest in DigitalGlobe and imagery taken by their constellation of satellites, and I about fell out of my chair when I saw that slide. It’s immensely gratifying (even better than this)! Next time you’re looking at Google Maps, and the street graphics line up with the pixels of asphalt, think of me; that’s what I do!