Extracting useful geospatial data from imagery is a fundamental challenge that has seen significant growth over the years as technology advances have been brought to bear on the problem. An important component of this problem addresses how the data should be represented to ensure the information content is accurately captured, preserved, and conveyed to consumers. Much of the information contained in the imagery is redundant and should be transformed so that only the essential information is retained and stored, allowing the redundant data to be discarded. An efficient mechanism for achieving this goal is the 3D Voxel model. Essentially, it takes as input the two dimensional information contained in a set of images and transforms it into a 3D volumetric representation of the imaged region of interest. There are immediate and enduring benefits to this approach. First, there will be a massive reduction in data storage requirements, particularly for large sets of overlapping imagery. Another benefit stems from improvement in visualization. Terrain, objects, and features appear more intuitive and natural in a 3D Voxel model, and therefore, convey information easily. There are many others. This paper addresses the progress being made by a number of US Federal Government organizations in developing Voxel technology, and discusses the technology’s application to a number of military and civilian applications.
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