Geo-imaging formatting by company helps firefighters in California

November 6 '07: Two geospatial technology companies have partnered to provide responders in California with detailed images of last month's wildfires, reported recently. The companies, TerraGo Technologies and GeoEye took the large file images, each totaling about 19 gigs each, and compressed them into pictures only 600 mb each so that the pictures could distributed more easily.

The images were compressed into PDF format. "GeoEye collected the data in both true color (multispectral) and false color (near-infrared), since destruction from fire is more readily observed in a false color image," reported. "The false color images were taken in near-infrared light spectrum, so the reddish colored areas actually show green or living vegetation and the blackened or charred areas throughout most of the images show areas that have been burned by fires."

GeoEye has worked with responders in the past. Most notably the company partnered with Mechanical Turk to provide additional imaging during the search for the missing adventurer Steve Fossett who disappeared in the Nevadan desert mountains.

Karen Morely, the senior director of marketing and photogrammetry expert at TerraGo said, "This prepacking of GeoPDF files ... has helped emergency and disaster relief workers respond more effectively, but this data will also be useful for those who are tasked with recovery and rebuilding projects."

"Because we can achieve these kinds of compression ratios - better than 30 to 1 - and create GeoPDF files that are easy to use anywhere with or without an Internet connection, we're seeing the format deployed more and more in emergency management and recovery operations," Morely said.