The Future of Weather Observation is Coming Soon! GOES-R

Author: Joey Griebel

If all goes according to plan, next month the GOES-R weather satellite will be launching and the next generation of weather forecasting, solar activity monitoring, and lightening detection will be here. This advanced satellite will change how quickly and accurately we are able to monitor and predict hazardous weather and help give those in harm’s way the time needed to prepare and evacuate. The GOES-R satellite will include:

Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) – an advanced imager that has 3 times more channels, 4 times better resolution , and 5 times faster than before. All of this leads to better observation of severe storms, fire, smoke, aerosols, and volcanic ash.

Geostationary Lightening Mapper - The lightning mapper will allow mapping of lightning strikes on ground, as well as lightning in the atmosphere. Researchers have found that an increase in lightning activity may be a sign of tornadoes forming, thus providing the data to detect tornadoes faster.

Space Weather Observation - GOES-R will work with NOAA instruments to gather information on radiation hazards from sun that can interfere with communication and navigation systems, damage satellites, threaten power utilities.


Harris Corporation has been supporting NOAA with some aspects on the GOES-R Satellite construction and will be providing the Ground System Support, as well as the 16.4 Meter triband antenna needed to stay in touch with it.

Now what does this have to do with ENVI? Once GOES-R is operational and collecting data, ENVI will be working to support the Harris Weather groups WXconnect systems for data validation and visualization, supporting the ABI data directly in ENVI, as well as working with NOAA to help continue to create advanced products in the future. It is an exciting time for NOAA with this milestone launch and an exciting time to be working with ENVI to get to work the advanced data that will be coming down!

Below are the baseline products, as well as some future products that can be expected.




Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI)

Absorbed Shortwave Radiation: Surface

Aerosol Detection (Including Smoke and Dust)

Aerosol Particle Size

Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD)

Aircraft Icing Threat

Clear Sky Masks

Cloud Ice Water Path

Cloud and Moisture Imagery

Cloud Layers/Heights

Cloud Optical Depth

Cloud Liquid Water

Cloud Particle Size Distribution

Cloud Type

Cloud Top Height

Convective Initiation

Cloud Top Phase


Cloud Top Pressure

Currents: Offshore

Cloud Top Temperature

Downward Longwave Radiation: Surface

Derived Motion Winds

Enhanced "V" / Overshooting Top Detection

Derived Stability Indices

Flood/Standing Water

Downward Shortwave Radiation: Surface

Ice Cover

Fire/Hot Spot Characterization

Low Cloud and Fog

Hurricane Intensity Estimation

Ozone Total

Land Surface Temperature (Skin)

Probability of Rainfall

Legacy Vertical Moisture Profile

Rainfall Potential

Legacy Vertical Temperature Profile

Sea and Lake Ice: Age


Sea and Lake Ice: Concentration

Rainfall Rate / QPE

Sea and Lake Ice: Motion

Reflected Shortwave Radiation: TOA

Snow Depth (Over Plains)

Sea Surface Temperature (Skin)

SO2 Detection

Snow Cover

Surface Albedo

Total Precipitable Water

Surface Emissivity

Volcanic Ash: Detection and Height

Tropopause Folding Turbulence Prediction

Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM)

Upward Longwave Radiation: Surface

Lightning Detection: Events, Groups & Flashes

Upward Longwave Radiation: TOA

Space Environment In-Situ Suite (SEISS)

Vegetation Fraction: Green

Energetic Heavy Ions

Vegetation Index

Magnetospheric Electrons & Protons: Low Energy


Magnetospheric Electrons & Protons: Med & High Energy

Solar & Galactic Protons

Magnetometer (MAG)

Geomagnetic Field

Extreme Ultraviolet and X-ray Irradiance Suite (EXIS)

Solar Flux: EUV

Solar Flux: X-ray Irradiance

Solar Ultraviolet Imager (SUVI)

Solar EUV Imagery


Comments (0) Number of views (2620) Article rating: 4.7

Categories: ENVI Blog | Imagery Speaks





Take Your Analytics to the Data

Author: Joey Griebel

ENVI Services Engine: Change Detection

I was recently on NASA’s Earth Observatory where I was reading about the shrinking glacier in Montana’s Glacier National Park. They acquired 8 images dating from 1984 going through 2015 that focused near Lake McDonald where the Jackson and Blackfoot Glaciers were very visible in false color images. They put together a slideshow showing the time series of the extent of the glacier loss due to global warming and the changing climate. The one thing that stuck out in my mind was how time consuming it must have been to search for the data to find images that didn’t have clouds, than download the data… and after that you would still need to run your analysis or comparison.

In the past few years we have started to see a shift to where users want to run the analysis where this data resides, for instance on applications like Amazon Web Services. As we continue to implement more and more ENVI tasks on Amazon Web Services, you can truly take your analysis to the where the data is. In the Change Detection example below, one of our engineers put together a quick interface utilizing ESRI basemaps to define the area of interest. By linking to ESRI’s endpoint (Landsat.arcgis.com) you can stream in the Landsat data available for that area of interest. In this example, we can search for the area we are interested in seeing (Glacier National Park), see what data is available during different years, filter out the data based upon cloud coverage, and then apply Spectral Indices if wanted:

Once you have found the two scenes you want, you simply click change detection and the ENVI tasks run through the steps of the normal analysis and provide updates along the way:

In no time at all, you are given the results of the quick change detection analysis that shows you in Dark Red (red is what has fled the image from time 1). The blue areas shown in the result are new areas to the scene. In these scenes it looks like snowpack that hasn’t quite melted. If you take a look at the examples provided on Earth Observatory, they focus on the Jackson and Blackfoot glacier, which are the areas you see in the Dark red below:


This gives you an idea of how you can further the original visual comparison and create shape files to highlight the glacier loss without having to take the time to comb through data for the right set and then download it for analysis. The possibilities for applications like this are really endless as we continue to wrap ENVI functionality into ENVI tasks. ENVI Services Engine allows you to quickly and easily take the analysis to where the data is and save time on downloading, as well as utilize powerful processing tools.

Give it a try yourself here


Comments (0) Number of views (1756) Article rating: No rating

Categories: ENVI Blog | Imagery Speaks





Imagery of the Month – Fort McMurray Fire Roars On

Author: Joey Griebel

The Fort McMurray Fire is still making headlines and shows no signs of slowing down more than three weeks after it began. The devastating path of the fire has burned over 2018 square miles and destroyed some 2,400 homes and buildings. Wildfire Manager Chad Morrison is expecting weeks, if not months, of fighting the fire as it continues its path North crossing over from Alberta into Saskatchewan. Hot, dry weather conditions combined with only millimeters of moisture on the southern end of the fire haven’t helped containment efforts.

NASA continues to aid the firefighting effort by capturing a vast amount of Imagery over the fire from their Modis, Landsat 8, and Suomi NPP satellites (shown below). The sensors on the satellites allow penetration of the clouds and smoke and make it possible to see hotspots using thermal and IR bands. This helps those managing the firefighting efforts to deploy assets in areas where there are hotspots, regardless of the smoke of cloud coverage. The imagery captured also aides in the recovery efforts and allows the government to widely asses the areas burned and see what has survived the blaze.

Clear weather aligned with Suomi NPP’s flight over Fort McMurray on May 24th giving a spectacular view of the fire. The image shows the sheer size of the burn and the intensity at which it continues to burn.

(Credit Nasa/NOAA)

The Image above has been processed, making it easy to identify the burn scar, as well as see where the fire continues to roar near the North side of the scar. Having both thermal and visible imagery makes it possible to classify cloud, smoke, land, and then the active blaze itself.

Though the Suomi Image is my image of the month, there was one additional image from Joshua Stevens at NASA Earth Observatory from May 12th that shows another close perspective from Landsat 8 of the burn scar itself surrounding Fort McMurray and the fire burning to the South/Southwest.

(Credits: NASA EarthObservatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey)

The contrast of the burn scar and surrounding healthy vegetation shows the extent the fire has scorched this area. Hopefully, additional wildfire crews that have been approved, and cooperating weather, will help get the upper hand on the blaze in the coming weeks. Containing the fire is just the first step in getting the residents of Fort McMurray on the road to rebuilding their town. 

Comments (0) Number of views (2215) Article rating: 5.0

Categories: ENVI Blog | Imagery Speaks





UAS: A lot of buzz, but still working on the take off

Author: Joey Griebel

No matter what industry you are in right now, you've probably heard the hype around UAS and what that could mean in terms of productivity, savings, and real-time analytics. The possibilities that UAS acquired data offer are incredibly exciting, whether it's no longer needing to charter a helicopter for corridor mapping, being able to tell a farmer in real time where his crops are struggling, or quickly deploying thermal cameras for search and rescue operations.

For more than a year or so now, the buzz has been building. But in reality, things have been slow to get off the ground. This is in large part due to the FAA’s restrictions in this space that limit Commercial/Government operators. The good news is the FAA is learning and adapting and as it gets more information it is starting to make it easier on UAS section 333 exemption holders.


(Hyperspectral Imager from AIBOTIX)

As the FAA continues to make progress in accessing the situation, there was a promising announcement made on March 29th:

After a comprehensive risk analysis, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has raised the unmanned aircraft (UAS)“blanket” altitude authorization for Section 333 exemption holders and government aircraft operators to 400 feet. Previously, the agency had put in place a nationwide Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) for such flights up to 200 feet. The new COA policy allows small unmanned aircraft—operated as other than model aircraft (i.e. commercial use)—to fly up to 400 feet anywhere in the country except restricted airspace and other areas, such as major cities, where the agency prohibits UAS operations. “This is another milestone in our effort to change the traditional speed of government,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “Expanding the authorized airspace for these operations means government and industry can carry out unmanned aircraft missions more quickly and with less red tape.”

While 400 feet might not sound significant, what the FAA did was actually double the flight ceiling height. This means that UAS operators can potentially capture twice the data they could previously. That's a big deal! For a large area of interest, flying a UAS at the 200 feet ceiling might not have made sense because it would have been too time-intensive to cover the full area, especially when a lot of UAS have limited flight times. As the FAA restrictions continue to loosen on commercial UAS operators, 2016 could very well  be the year we start to see more UAS projects taking off. It will be exciting to see how this type of data collection transforms our industry.

Comments (0) Number of views (1840) Article rating: 5.0

Categories: ENVI Blog | Imagery Speaks





Extending your ENVI Analytic Capabilities for UAV Imagery

Author: Joey Griebel

As 2016 is off to the races, one of the many exciting happenings at Harris Geospatial is the recent partnership with Icaros Geospatial Solutions and the addition of an Icaros OneButton™ Extension in ENVI. With over 1 million hobby drones sold during the holiday season, those capable of flying drones and the presence of UAS/UAV acquired data will only become more prevalent in the upcoming years. What that means for those providing analytic tools to make actionable information from the data is we need to find a way to work with the data and get accurate results.This is where Icaros comes into play.

Icaros allows a user do a variety of processing to their data sets including photogrammetric geocorrection, aerial triangulation, digital terrain modeling, and the key piece -- orthomosaic production. They have options that range from "one button" where you simply click and run the processing to "one button pro" where you have more manual options to insure accuracy and where you can do additional QC like replacing a bad scene from the mosaic. These capabilities bridge the gap between acquiring UAS/UAV data andactually being able to run analytics and provide answers in a timely fashion.On the other end of the spectrum, ENVI+IDL is able to bring not only post processing analytics, but tackle one of the huge problems facing UAS/UAV acquired data, data integrity from sensors and the ability to pre process the data and insure bands are aligned before it is ingested in Icaros.

With the partnering of ENVI+IDL, you have an end-to-end solution for working with UAS/UAV acquired data. You have the ability to verify the data lines up and pre process if needed, easily ingest and stitch large swaths of data using Icaros One button, and then ingest the data into ENVI and work with it as you would satellite imagery.

Comments (0) Number of views (5499) Article rating: 5.0



















© 2017 Exelis Visual Information Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of Harris Corporation