Design Firm Receives Award for Environmental
Planning with ERDAS IMAGINE® Software
ATLANTA, GEORGIA, USA, July 1996 -- HOK (Hellmuth,
Obata + Kassabaum, Inc.), the largest architecture and planning firm in
the United States, received an Award of Merit from the American Society
of Landscape Architects for an environmental suitability analysis carried
out using ERDAS IMAGINE software.
HOK's Houston, Texas, office received the
prestigious award in recognition of a comprehensive land development study
of the remote Fuga Island in the Philippines. The 45-square mile, sparsely
populated island is being considered for development as a major urban,
industrial and entertainment center at the gateway to the Pacific Rim.
"The Fuga Island project is an excellent
example of how ImagingGIS software can be used in many stages of
the strategic land planning process," said ERDAS® Inc. President
Lawrie E. Jordan, III. "ImagingGIS is rapidly becoming a standard
tool among landscape architects and developers."
Planning experts at HOK used the ERDAS
ImagingGIS software to integrate SPOT satellite imagery and digital
terrain model (DTM) data with several other geographic data sets, some
collected via the Internet, to determine exactly which parts of the island
were suitable for development as urban, industrial, resort or residential
sites. HOK created the DTMs from 30-year-old U.S. Defense Mapping Agency
topographic maps using the IMAGINE OrthoMAX module.
"In three weeks, we were able to accurately
derive 15 layers of land cover information and conduct numerous environmental
suitability queries using the combination of ERDAS IMAGINE software and
SPOT and DTM data," said HOK Associate, Chris Smith. "When we went to Fuga
for further study, it was as if we had already been there."
In the inventory stage of the planning
process, Smith's team used ERDAS IMAGINE to perform a land cover classification
of the SPOT multispectral imagery. These land categories included sensitive
woodlands, agriculture, rock outcrops, beaches, roads and streams. The
DEM data was then introduced to categorize the land areas by their slopes
and elevation -- information critical for flood assessment.
During the analysis phase of the project,
HOK utilized GIS functions in ERDAS IMAGINE software to determine which
land areas on the island would be most suitable for various types of development.
The software's Spatial Modeler was used to combine the land cover, slope,
elevation and other data to perform queries and statistical analysis based
on suitability parameters input by the HOK technicians.
For instance, planning an airport for the
island required a large land area relatively free of trees, a slope of
less than five percent, and an elevation that minimized flood danger. Based
on these user inputs, the Spatial Modeler found all areas of the island
that satisfied those parameters and then located contiguous areas large
enough to support construction of the airport. Similar queries were conducted
for industrial, resort and residential sites.
"The Spatial Modeler is a powerful function
because it allows the user to add weight to certain factors that may be
more important in the query," said Smith. "For instance, avoidance of woodlands
was always a concern for environmental reasons, so that factor could be
weighted more heavily than others."
After the remote analysis with satellite
imagery and DTMs, the HOK team traveled to the island and surveyed it from
aircraft, boat and on horseback. At every level of study, HOK was able
to incorporate new information into their database to fine tune its development
analysis. In the final video presentation to Mr. Tanyu, Fuga's owner and
well known Philippine businessman, HOK accounted for development or preservation
of nearly every acre of the island, which someday will be home to three
ERDAS® Inc., an international
leader in ImagingGIS since 1978, provides highly customizable, easy-to-learn
and use software and world-class customer support to thousands of professionals
in 95 countries in oil/gas/mineral exploration, natural resources management,
urban and regional planning, environmental monitoring, forestry, academia,
engineering, telecommunications, utilities, cartography, oceanography,
meteorology, hydrology, epidemiology and military applications.
ERDAS, with Corporate and International
headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, has six U.S. Sales offices, a subsidiary
office in Cambridge, U.K., and a network of over 60 international distributors.
ERDAS and ERDAS IMAGINE are registered
trademarks of ERDAS, Inc.