His Coordinates, Interviews

“Software development is our main focus”

Aug 2009 | Comments Off on “Software development is our main focus”

Says Jeff Yates, General Manager, DAT/EM Systems


Is the name DAT/EM an acronym, or is there some other signifi cance behind it?

DAT/EM (pronounced dāt’-əm) is an acronym for Digital Automated Technology / Engineering Mapping. The software was developed internally between 3 production mapping fi rms located in the United States in the mid 1980’s. As such, our software was conceived in a production environment to meet the demanding technical needs of top-fl ight photogrammetric organizations. Since the fi rst data collection licenses were sold in 1987 (on analogue stereoplotters), we have never lost sight of the need for constant improvement of the software. We have always understood if the software tools can save a user one key-stroke (or more!) on a repetitive command, this will have a direct and positive infl uence on the company’s profi tability.

How is the SUMMIT EVOLUTION™ stereoplotter different from other stereoplotters?

Summit Evolution has by far the best user interface, the most active update schedule, and the most attentive support of any stereoplotter on the market today. Summit Evolution’s great user interface means a very fast learning curve and easyto- remember processes. The workfl ow is intuitive and robust. Only two days of training is enough to get most new users ready to start their projects.
Summit Evolution has the advantage of digitizing directly into the AutoCAD®, MicroStation®, or ArcGIS® environment.
Since these are the most-used CAD/GIS formats, that means none of the timeconsuming file translations that some other stereoplotters require. Our update schedule is between three and four updates per year. We’re always working on keeping up with new stereo viewing technology and incorporating user ideas and recommendations. For example, when customers started to work with the newest more-than-three-band imagery, we enhanced Summit Evolution to be able to display the infrared, false infrared, or any other spectrum bands in the normal visible display channels on the monitor.
Our technical support is world-class. Clients are always amazed at the quick response from our customer support, especially when they’ve suffered inadequate support for other-brand products in the past. DAT/EM makes sure to respond right away, whenever possible, and in under 24 hours (weekdays) for clients in opposite time zones.

SUMMIT EVOLUTION™ has been described as a ‘digital phogrammetric workstation’, what end products are possible with it?

The purpose of a digital photogrammetric workstation is to use digital imagery to view the images in stereo, orient the images to a ground coordinate system, and collect (X,Y,Z) coordinates. The most common
end product is a map fi le containing 3D information, such as topographic (contour) maps or planimetric (roads, buildings, etc.) maps. There are also many less standard projects such as measuring
vegetation, archaeological sites, historic buildings, art, ice caves, and glaciers. The majority of clients who work with Summit Evolution collect vector information directly into AutoCAD, MicroStation, or ArcGIS ArcMap. Summit Evolution can also generate elevation contours and output them directly into these CAD/GIS formats. Summit Evolution also offers orthophoto generation, in which stereo aerial images are converted into a set of orthorectifi ed images or mosaics. Another new use for Summit Evolution is to work together with the new DAT/ EM Landscape module, which is a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) point viewing and editing application. While Landscape shows the LiDAR points, Summit Evolution shows stereo aerial images of the same area with the Landscape points superimposed over the 3D view.
This “power duo” can be used to help identify points that need reclassifi cation. This is an area that has huge potential for growth as more and more governments are mandating LiDAR acquisition.

DAT/EM systems products are available globally, but are there any regions which you are focussing on for your products?

Currently DAT/EM Systems International is more heavily focused in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, as well as South America. We have a strong client base in the Orient and we will continue to nurture this important market. South Asia and specifi cally India, has become a very important region for us. Over the past 10 years, we have developed an extensive client base in this region. We will continue to promote our products by attending the local technical conferences, visiting potential clients and strongly supporting our local representatives.

How is DAT/EM systems placed visà- vis the rising mapping needs in the upcoming markets in Asia?

We are very well positioned at this time. This is because of our existing installed base along with the existence of our local resellers, who can provide timely cost quotations and pre-sale support. Our representatives understand the very important need to provide expert technical support following a sale. As mentioned, we have been travelling to Asia for many years and stay in close communication with our clients. We do not develop technical capabilities in a vacuum. We strive to listen to the current needs of our existing clients which allows them to do their work ever-more efficiently.

This feeds the sale of new licenses. With your partners, is the focus more on software development or also on product marketing?

Software development is, of course, our primary area of focus; however DAT/ EM Systems has a strong marketing campaign as well. DAT/EM Systems participates in approximately ten to fifteen conferences and user groups yearly to promote our software and hardware. Along with our web presence and quarterly newsletter, DAT/EM Systems also sends out press releases on our updates and new software and hardware options.

Is the future development at DAT/EM more geared towards GIS mapping?

Overall, DAT/EM gives equal emphasis to its AutoCAD, MicroStation, and ArcGIS data capture products. We sometimes focus on one in particular when a new version of its CAD/GIS software is released, so that we can become compatible with it. In fact, that’s just about to happen for our ArcGIS interface, and we’re very excited about it. DAT/EM is working together with ESRI(R), makers of the worldrenowned ArcGIS software, to create a smooth workfl ow between ArcGIS Image Server, Summit Evolution, and DAT/ EM Capture to ArcGIS. ESRI ArcGIS Image Server will soon be able to store and retrieve photogrammetric projects, and Summit Evolution will take these 3D projects directly into digitizing and editing in ArcGIS ArcMap. That’s just a little glance into the future of 3D mapping with ArcGIS! So, yes, we are very aware of the growing needs of the GIS community for engineering-quality mapping products and will continue to develop the tools for this large and important market segment.




1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 2.50 out of 5)