Solving the ‘Big Data’ Challenge to Drive Smarter Decisions

As our world changes, we collect new data to understand the changes and to take action and respond. Geospatial data is big … really big. It’s no secret that the rise of “big data” in the geospatial sector has created tremendous challenges for organizations that need to process and store massive volumes of imagery data in near real time.

Capturing, managing and leveraging big data has become more difficult as organizations are now required to provide faster end-to-end delivery of geospatial imagery – while still effectively managing the exponential growth in storage requirements, user demand and performance expectations.

Fortunately, Intergraph is making tremendous strides in helping organizations best leverage this data. Our Enhanced Compression Wavelet (ECW) technology allows organizations to compress terabyte-sized imagery files to five percent of their original size, while retaining full image quality and lightning-fast display performance.

Any organization with significant and growing volumes of imagery can make use of the ECW format, as it delivers the best user experience while reducing pressures on IT resources. The optimized compression technology produces significantly smaller files that can be rapidly viewed. Transfer of imagery throughout an organization is easy due to the reduced file size; therefore data is more accessible for end users. This means lower total IT overhead and a great improvement to the bottom line.

Recently, one of Europe’s leading electricity and gas companies, RWE Deutschland, used our solution to map imagery for all of Germany. This involved organizing and managing 370,000 individual imagery files covering more than 365,000 square kilometers of land area. The imagery itself was very sharp, with a high resolution of 20 centimeters. This meant RWE needed to deliver more than 15 TB of imagery data – a huge volume ― on demand in a high-availability, high-performance environment.

The project also required that the imagery be available 24/7 to users with minimal connectivity, delivering the data to a variety of different client applications.

Intergraph’s solution for the project was built around two major components. First, a high-security, high-availability cloud service in Europe hosted the application.   Second, through ERDAS APOLLO, Intergraph provided the management and rapid delivery of the imagery and other GIS data.

An extensive evaluation performed by the Intergraph team determined that it was possible to merge the original 370,000 individual files into one file.  The compression could be done using Intergraph’s ECW format technology, and the result would meet all the customer’s requirements. By using ERDAS IMAGINE, the process produced a single, visually lossless 1TB ECW.  This ECW file is 14 terapixels in size; weighing in as the largest ECW image ever created, and quite likely the largest single image of any format in the world.

This is a prime example of how larger organizations can handle big data more easily, leveraging massive volumes of data in new and unique ways.

Helping organizations transform geospatial data into useable information – that’s shaping smart change.


Mladen Stojic
Vice President Intergraph Geospatial

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