With their GeoExpress software package and MrSID file format technology, LizardTech has always been at the discovery forefront of geospatial software and high-resolution imagery. Now, with the launch of their software Express Server, equipped with the new functionality of serving LiDAR data, they’ve managed to take geospatial imagery a step further.
However, it’s not enough to have high quality geospatial images if they can’t be transported or loaded quickly. That’s where Express Server comes in. It’s essentially a mapping application that complements the already pre-existing technology by being the fastest way to serve images and LiDAR. Data is delivered extremely rapidly by streaming it out over any kind of bandwidth or Internet connection; all you need is a web browser. Patented compression technology is used to reduce storage costs, decrease loading times and handle high volumes of image requests without sacrificing quality.
For instance, even after compression, an originally 100 GB image looks the same as its compressed 5 GB counterpart, and loads just as fast and smooth. Images can be zoomed in as deep as you want while still providing the highest resolution possible. To balance the load, feel free to add another Express Server to your server farm, as the software has built-in tools for synchronizing catalogue information among Express Servers.
As mentioned, Express Server and its ability to serve LiDAR data is its latest additional function. LiDAR is three-dimensional data that is collected using LiDAR hardware — a camera shoots out laser beams in multiple directions, calculates the amount of time it takes to shoot the beams out and the time it takes to reflect back. The result is a 3D point cloud of what is being scanned, typically containing at least a million points. The scanner will then come up with a detailed 3D model that users can turn, pan around and zoom.
Express Server takes this 3D image and converts it to a 2D image, and lets you download and extract from that point cloud. Usually, people use LiDAR to build digital surface models where they can show terrain on a map and create map contours, among other things. LiDAR is used in this sense to give people accurate elevation information.
Included in this server’s release is an application called ExpressZip, which enables you to look at imagery from your own collection using an interactive map. Along with the other included applications, ExpressZip is fully customizable since it is open source.
Even while on the go, you can quickly and easily access your raster files and LiDAR point cloud data whenever and wherever you need them on any mobile device using Express Server. Despite the large amounts of data, streaming and viewing these images is quick and easy, especially since industry-standard protocols ensure compatibility with all GIS applications. Installing this server software will also prove to be smooth and painless, as everything is done automatically. It is fast to set up, with no time-consuming manual upgrades needed. Image migration is automatic and its simple upgrades preserve your configuration options and image catalogues.
LizardTech’s biggest customer is the federal government, but anyone can install and use this software to view their own imagery and create their own satellite maps. Particularly for the military, Express Server’s seamless delivery of high-resolution imagery and LiDAR data allows for better mission preparation. Factors such as the enemy’s position, environment, ground, time and space constraints are all considered. Each factor can be analyzed thoroughly, and Express Server ensures that the military can see quality topographical images of the terrain they are working with for operations and defence purposes, whenever and wherever. Defence personnel can download imagery directly to their devices for disconnected use even over low-bandwidth, generating maps for viewing (especially on mobile devices).
Despite some competitors, LizardTech remains on top, as Express Server is the only server on the market that can serve MrSID as well as it does. Today’s standards of efficiency and high quality geospatial imagery needs can only be met with LizardTech’s Express Server. It is the only way to ensure quick and easy streaming of high-resolution images.