21 November 1996 Integration of hard copy and soft copy exploitation
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Exploitation of remotely sensed and aerially derived imagery has, in the past, been primarily performed through the use of analog light tables, by displaying individual pieces or rolls of imagery over a brightly lit surface to allow light through the nonopaque surface of the film medium. The interpreter would then peer through optical viewing scopes allowing him (or her) to analyze the imagery. Over the course of the last two decades, digital data, or as it is better known, "softcopy imagery," has for many become the desired path which technology has dictated. Softcopy imagery offers many benefits, such as the ability to manipulate imagery in ways analog workstations cannot and were never designed to do. Functions which can be performed on softcopy imagery are endless and growing constantly: image spatial rectification, pixel manipulation, image contrast, and brightness enhancements. All are performed by the running of algorithmic equations to manipulate the digital data. It has become evident that in the future a large portion of imagery analysis will be performed by softcopy. However, studies indicate that aerial imagery will continue to be acquired via hardcopy means for many civil, educational, and commercial applications in the foreseeable future, making it clear that any large scale transformation from hardcopy to softcopy will not be feasible for a long time to come. A major issue dictating the slow-down in this transition is the over 35 years of hardcopy imagery archived and housed in facilities throughout the world, including the recently declassified "Corona" satellite imagery which will provide a wealth of hardcopy data for use by ecologists and conservationists. Yes, the technology to transfer hardcopy to softcopy exists, but the time and cost required to complete this task would be phenomenal and, in many cases, when digitization and storage become affordable, it still may prove beneficial to retain the imagery in a hardcopy form for retention of the highest quality resolution. An analogy which I feel best portrays this dilemma is the automobile-eventually all automobiles will be electric or hydrogen driven but the time and cost involved in the transformation predicts a slow progression. Since a predominate amount of imagery analysis, especially in the intelligence community, is the comparison ofnew imagery data to that of archived imagery in order to detect changes or to monitor progressions, it is conceivable that the majority of imagery analysts will be using a combination of hardcopy and softcopy workstations in order to facilitate analysis. The incorporation of hardcopy and softcopy functions into one workstation is the most cost effective and time essential means in which in-depth analysis can be performed.
© (1996) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Roy C. Fultz, Roy C. Fultz, } "Integration of hard copy and soft copy exploitation", Proc. SPIE 2829, Airborne Reconnaissance XX, (21 November 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.259741; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.259741

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