Esri brings new satellite data, tools into platforms

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SAN ANTONIO — Mapping technology giant Esri announced a new imagery exploitation tool, ArcGIS Excalibur, in addition to partnerships with BAE Systems, Harris Geospatial, HawkEye 360 and Microsoft.

ArcGIS Excalibur is designed to streamline search, discovery and image analysis for Esri ArcGIS enterprise customers, Esri announced May 31, ahead of the 2019 GEOINT Symposium here.

Esri also is expanding partnerships with companies supplying data from satellites and other sources. Through software integration, Esri is seeking to help people who are not geographic information system (GIS) specialists work with and make sense of various types of geospatial data.

For example, Esri’s enterprise geospatial platform offers customers new tools to ingest data from HawkEye 360’s satellites. HawkEye 360 unveiled its first RF mapping product in April, which draws on information gathered by three satellites launched in December to detect and geolocate the source of radio frequency signals.

“Our spatial analysis capabilities can compare Hawkeye 360 RFGeo signal product datasets to other geospatial data sets, such as third party AIS, identifying critical spatial-temporal intersections,” Jeff Wilson, Esri startup program manager, said by email. “This allows analysts to derive signals of interest that may indicate activity such as a ship in transit with no AIS signal or perhaps an emergency beacon emitting too far from shore to be detected by land-based sources.”

Esri’s web-based platforms can deliver the RF signals data to customers immediately, Wilson added.

Harris also created a tool for Esri’s ArcGIS Pro, a mapping and analytics platform, that allows customers to analyze multispectral and hyperspectral imagery. Harris’ latest tool augments ENVI SARscape, a platform that brings in data from space and airborne platforms. The tool, which is designed around specific tasks like flood mapping or ship detection, will make it easier for customers to analyze and draw meaningful answers from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data, Brian Beha, Esri national government partner manager, said by email.

More SAR data is becoming available as governments and companies expand their fleets of radar satellites.

Esri already offers access to free data from the European Commission’s Sentinel-1 SAR satellites in its ENVI SARscape analytics for ArcGIS Pro. Since SAR sensors can image through clouds and during the night, it is a valuable dataset allowing for persistent analytic capabilities, even when optical imagery is not effective, Beha said.