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Speak up! Answers are just a shout away

Guss Wright

What does a soldier do when he or she runs into difficulty while using ENVI software? To answer this question you have to consider and understand the culture of most military organizations. Army geospatial professionals are often times under the gun, so to speak, given a limited time to provide GEOINT support and advice to decision makers with the added pressure of knowing the answers we provide could be the key factor in affecting success or failure on the ground.

Considering this, we see time as being one of our most precious resources so we’re always looking for the most efficient way to solve geospatial problems. Unfortunately this often relegates soldiers to the usage of tools he or she is more familiar with or has experienced past success in applying, even if the tool isn’t optimal for the problem at hand. Then we move on to the next task without revisiting the shortfall we just experienced with the more optimal tool, without requesting help or providing user feedback. I call this “suffering in silence”.

As many of you may know from my last blog, I’m Chief Warrant Officer 3 AugustusWright and I’ve been training at Harris with the ENVI software since August as part of the US Army’s Training with Industry program. I want to expound on the topic “suffering in silence” because after having spent the last six months integrating with the staff at Harris, I realize the old way of solving GEOINT problems isn’t the only option when facing the aforementioned shortfalls. WE CAN ASK FOR HELP!!!!!!, J - (And I’m smiling when I say this.)

Case in point, one of the awesome Harris software engineers, Scott Paswaters and I have recently been testing and refining ENVI’s CADRG Save As capability. This is a very important functionality for defense users because it enables us to provide tailored graphics in Raster Product Format (RPF) to defense end-users whose systems can’t and don’t need to read vector data. Ultimately this facilitates the provision of a Common Operational Picture across military platforms. During the process we discovered a shortfall which prevented software such as Falconview from being able to read ENVI’s output. We immediately queried the field to see who else was experiencing this problem and discovered there were many.

Within two days Scott found the problem, produced a patch, and he and I are already exploring methods to develop a tool that will use the IDL-python bridge to automate the entire specialized CADRG creation workflow for defense users. Keep an eye out for this tool.

In addition I’ve written and compiled what we call the “ENVI Pocket Guide”. The ENVI Pocket Guide is a quick reference booklet NOT intended to be read from cover to cover although it can be. The intent is to provide users succinct steps on how to accomplish common tasks in ENVI. The RPF export workflow and other pertinent information such as how to contact ENVI technical support and online help can also be found in this guide. 

If you're a military user of ENVI who is having specific issues or workarounds, comment below and we'll see what we can do.  Let’s not “suffer in silence”!