Paradise by lanyuehua

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 21

									The Marketing of Image Enhancement
      for Commercial Appeal

              Paradise Images, Inc.
           University of South Carolina
            Affiliated Research Center

                     submitted to
   NASA Commercial Remote Sensing Program Office
       John C. Stennis Space Center, MS 39529
   NASA Earth Science Enterprise
 Commercial Remote Sensing Program
     Affiliated Research Center
    University of South Carolina


                  Final Report:
The Marketing of Image Enhancement for
         Commercial Appeal

                   Project conducted by:
                Paradise Images, Inc.
                  P.O. Box 95145
               Atlanta, Georgia 30347

                   Report prepared by:
                 Leyta Jordan, President
                   Paradise Images, Inc.
                            and
    Steven R. Schill, Mark Jackson, and Hunter Allman
                Department of Geography
               University of South Carolina


                   Report prepared for:
                      John R. Jensen
                Department of Geography
               University of South Carolina
             Columbia, South Carolina 29208
                           and
       Commercial Remote Sensing Program Office
      National Aeronautics and Space Administration
     John C. Stennis Space Center, Mississippi 39529


                     March 17, 2000
                                                      Table of Contents

Executive Summary .................................................................................................................. v
  1.0 Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1
    1.1 Company Overview..................................................................................................... 1
    1.2 Project Background ..................................................................................................... 1
  2.0 Project Implementation ................................................................................................... 2
    2.1 Objectives.................................................................................................................... 2
    2.2 Schedule and Work Plan ............................................................................................. 3
  3.0 Project Implementation ................................................................................................... 3
    3.1 Product Identification .................................................................................................. 3
    3.2 Imagery Internet Sites.................................................................................................. 5
    3.3 Data Collection and Processing................................................................................... 8
    3.4 Serving an Image Database on the Internet ............................................................... 10
  4.0 Results ........................................................................................................................... 12
    4.1 Metrics....................................................................................................................... 13
  5.0 Conclusions ................................................................................................................... 16


                                                                Tables

Table 1. Chronology of the Paradise Images NASA ARC project. .......................................... 3


                                                               Figures

Figure 1. Examples of various satellite-based images used for Paradise Images product
   development. ....................................................................................................................... 6
Figure 2. Three-dimensional perspective views of Los Angeles and Mount Rainier using
   Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery and digital elevation models (courtesy NASA SVS
   studio).................................................................................................................................. 6
Figure 3. Examples of radar-based imagery products. Clockwise from left: Pennsylvania,
   Maui, and Thailand (courtesy NASA JPL). ........................................................................ 7
Figure 4. Educational products that teach and inspire young minds (courtesy NASA
   SVS). ................................................................................................................................... 7
Figure 5. Individual products that may be customized to fit the customers’ needs, such as
   favorite vacation destinations or stadiums. ......................................................................... 8
Figure 6. Examples of Space Shuttle photos before and after image enhancements were
   applied. Top to bottom: Banks Peninsula, New Zealand; Finger Lakes, New York; and
   Hilton Head, South Carolina. .............................................................................................. 9




                                                                     iii
Figure 7. Example of Internet website developed through the ARC program and designed for
   custom searching of image products. ................................................................................ 11




                                                           iv
                                    Executive Summary

Paradise Images, Inc., is a fledgling, Georgia-based company interested in marketing satellite
imagery that has been enhanced or modified in some way as art – both corporate and individual
print art. There is a great deal of imagery now available that is used primarily for scientific and
engineering purposes. However, with a vision and the proper tools, these data could be viewed
as artistic. Paradise Images seeks to develop a product line based on all-source digital remote
sensing data, including broad-area global coverage imagery, such as Advanced Very High
Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR); high-resolution (1 m) multispectral data, such as IKONOS;
and alternative sources, such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and hyperspectral.

The goal of this NASA Affiliated Research Center project was to utilize remote sensing and
geographic information system technologies to provide a visually stimulating artistic approach
toward raising public awareness of remotely sensed imagery and the benefits of its use. The
company seeks further to develop a family of products and to widely distribute available imagery
in the most economical way possible. To this end, this project attempted to influence the existing
licensing policies of imagery providers in support of pricing reductions and to expand the market
to provide greater access to imagery.

As satellite imagery becomes a more recognized medium, its use will expand into many varied
but as-yet unexplored purposes, thereby creating a new and non-traditional marketplace while
supplying the need. In the meantime, an industry of imagery art blossoms from a mostly
scientific background and becomes the basis for a whole new way of looking at the world. As
a result of this project, Paradise Images benefited in the following ways:
   •   Investigated and developed image enhancement and merging techniques that produce
       visual and aesthetic appeal in imagery.
   •   Identified potential benefactor markets, such as corporate, public, educational, and
       individual art.
   •   Located potential sources of free and/or inexpensive data sets and determined the most
       cost-efficient way of acquiring imagery.
   •   Investigated the use of the Internet as a tool for providing access, worldwide distribution,
       and marketing of imagery as art.
   •   Raised awareness and educated the public of the uses and benefits of remotely sensed
       imagery.




                                                v
                                      1.0 Introduction

1.1 Company Overview
Paradise Images, Inc., is an Atlanta-based company specializing in the marketing of satellite
imagery as art. Paradise Images acquires imagery from sources within the U.S. government and
from commercial image providers. Satellite data, aerial photography, Space Shuttle photography,
and digital elevation models, as well as climate and weather imagery, are utilized as base
products and enhanced with image-processing software to produce visually stimulating,
aesthetically appealing images. These images are then mounted and framed in a variety of
methods uniquely designed for the spaces that they may occupy. Additional products include
prints, posters, screensavers, calendars, notecards, mousepads, and any other medium that can
utilize an image as its focal point.

Paradise Images is also developing a line of imagery products to be marketed to the education
market, with the objective of stimulating interest in geography among schoolchildren. Further,
products utilizing three-dimensional views are under development and will be marketed to the
travel industry, to homeowners' associations, and to environmental organizations. Paradise
Images has been fortunate to work with the Remote Sensing Lab of the University of South
Carolina's (USC’s) Department of Geography in refining the product lines, researching the
marketplace, and developing product ideas into reality.

1.2 Project Background
Imagery has been acquired as data from satellites orbiting the Earth for decades. Imagery has
been used primarily for scientific and engineering analysis, environmental preservation, and land
management, but the beauty of some of the imagery is well worth seeing by the public at large.
It should be noted that what looks like a photograph to many is really a series of complicated
processes that result in a computer-generated image that is a view of places on Earth as seen
from 500 miles or so above. A number of different sensors are collecting data, utilizing different
spectrums of light. These light reflections are computed as mathematical formulas and
algorithms, and utilizing some very sophisticated software, are then translated into an image that
reflects the unique geologic and hydrologic patterns we see as pieces of “paradise” on Earth.
Because of the extraordinary detail manifest in a satellite image, much information is available
for analysis to the trained eye.

Paradise Images entered into an Affiliated Research Center (ARC) partnership to investigate
image enhancement techniques, sources of imagery on the Internet, and marketing ideas that
could help build a business. The objective was to discover new methods that would serve as a
conduit for the viewing of the imagery, with the objective of heightening the awareness of the
beauty and fragility of our planet and our universe. As is obvious in many other arenas,
heightened awareness can lead to increased appreciation, preservation, and conservation of our
unique planet and its resources.




                                                1
                                  2.0 Project Implementation

2.1 Objectives
The objective of this ARC project was to utilize remote sensing and geographic information system
technologies to provide a visually stimulating artistic approach toward raising public awareness of
remotely sensed imagery and the benefits of its use. Through viewing art that is both interesting and real,
hopefully such responses as “What is it?” and “Where did it come from?” will be evoked. This objective
was accomplished in four steps:
    1. Identifying potential market areas, including the following:
       a. Corporate – malls, airports, cityscapes, recreational (golf courses, ski resorts, football
           stadiums).
       b. Public – national parks, marine sanctuaries, forests
       c. Educational – ozone mapping, change detection, hydrocarbon assessments, worldwide sea
           surface temperatures, population distribution
       d. Individual – drawn mainly from unique merging of data sets for aesthetic appeal
    2. Developing a portfolio of artistic images through an investigation into various remotely sensed
       data sets and merging techniques, producing unique imagery that incorporates such data as
       bathymetry and elevation enhancements for artistic appeal. To develop such a portfolio of
       acceptable imagery required several months of careful review with attention focused on the
       balance between quality and cost of commercially available data compared to public domain
       sources.
    3. Identifying potential sources of free and/or inexpensive data sets and determining the most cost-
       efficient way of acquiring imagery to be used for visualization enhancement. The steps necessary
       to produce an image needed to be minimized, so the efficiency of the process was another
       factor helped by the research. Setting the pricing for such a line of art was an interesting aspect
       of the project.
    4. Determining the best tools (software or otherwise) to enhance the image for optimum display
       and artistic appeal. This step included an investigation into the World Wide Web as a marketing
       tool using a custom-designed javascript interface that would employ easy image browsing
       capabilities and could include an educational component.

The resulting products – enhanced, visually interesting, and intellectually stimulating – were printed on
very large printers, mounted, and marketed to a variety of potential buyers, such as airports, hospitals,
financial institutions, and corporate art dealers. Paradise Images provided USC ARC personnel with
high-end, large-format, color printing capabilities and commercial-off-the-shelf applications software
to test the printing of selected data sets. The company sought further to develop a vertically integrated
family of products that could be by-products or offspring of the initial product line, up to and including
3-D and 4-D products. Paradise Images wanted to develop and to widely distribute products based
on available imagery in the most economical way possible. To this end, the final research product was




                                                    2
2.2 Schedule and Work Plan
The president of Paradise Images, Mrs. Leyta Jordan, met with USC-ARC personnel on
January 27, 1999, to discuss the company's needs and the project proposal. The company
discussed its interest in marketing satellite imagery that has been enhanced or modified/merged
with other data sets in some fashion to produce art. Several potential markets were identified,
including corporate, public, educational, and individual art. Mrs. Jordan felt that the corporate
market and private sales would be the most profitable lines to pursue in the beginning. Beyond
that, she believed the government, recreational, education, and environmental
awareness/advocacy markets would follow. A summary of the milestones associated with the
project is found in Table 1.


            Table 1. Chronology of the Paradise Images NASA ARC project.

                                  Event                                        Date
     Kick-off meeting                                                   January 27, 1999
     Paradise Images Proposal sent to NASA                              March 9, 1999
     Paradise Images Proposal approved by NASA                          March 25, 1999
     Memorandum of Understanding signed by Paradise Images              April 30, 1999
     Memorandum of Understanding processed by USC                       May 12, 1999
     Presentation of project at NASA Stennis Space Center               February 8, 2000
     Final Report delivered to NASA Stennis Space Center                March 17, 2000



                              3.0 Project Implementation

3.1 Product Identification
Paradise Images seeks to offer a wide range of imagery for viewing and for purchase. Because
of the extensive and diverse archives of imagery available on the Internet, several different
categories of imagery were identified and catalogued according to the purpose or the use of the
imagery. Paradise Images wanted to provide uniquely crisp, clear, and clean imagery with the
use of highly technical software developed and utilized primarily for scientific and engineering
applications. The imagery product was to be unlike any other in terms of its clarity, detail, and
color enhancement.

The following image markets were identified:




                                               3
1. Corporate Products

Corporate products are selected and designed specifically for printing and displaying in a large
format. Images can be printed and mounted in sizes ranging from 24” x 36” to 15’ x 18’ and
larger. These images are printed on a highly sophisticated printer, which maintains the detail of
an image one might see in an 8” x 10” digital photograph. Generally, these images are custom-
selected and designed according to the space they will occupy and the client’s preferences.
Mounting, framing, and hanging are provided as the integrity of the final product is maintained
to the highest degree.

Several options are available for the display of the images, including dry-mount, framed with or
without glass, and the most beautiful method of displaying the images, lightboxes. The light
behind an image printed on translucent film emphasizes the color and detail in an image like no
other method of display.

2. Recreational Products

Recreational products are categorized to include state and national parks, theme parks such as
Disney World, marine sanctuaries, and wildlife habitats. Prints of these areas are available as
posters or as enhanced, framed prints.

3. Educational Products

Educational products are images of countries, continents, or other large geographic areas that
may be utilized as teaching tools to increase the awareness of specific geographic areas or to
stimulate interest in geography among schoolchildren and young adults. These images may show
unique landforms, river basins, ice formations, planets, or interplanetary occurrences.

4. Personal Products

Finally, if a view of a personal estate or corporate headquarters is of interest, one may request
a custom search. Any location on Earth can be viewed from space, and technological advances
have made this information available to individuals for a much more reasonable price than in the
past. Paradise Images takes advantage of three different levels of satellite imagery, each with its
own unique advantages and appeal:
   a. Low-resolution images cover very large areas, such as continents or the entire Earth.
      These images reveal fascinating patterns in the landscape and the oceans that are visible
      only from high in space. The smallest detail is usually several kilometers.
   b.    Medium-resolution images are great for large tracts of land, such as parks, forests,
        estates, and major wildlife habitat areas. These images are also very useful for creating
        3-D views for visualizing a local or regional environment. The smallest detail is usually
        10-30 meters.
   c. High-resolution images from space have only recently become commercially available.
      With very sharp detail shown at approximately 1-2 meters, this imagery is very suitable


                                                4
       for specific site prints, such as corporate headquarters, personal estates, historic sites, and
       areas of individual interest.

3.2 Imagery Internet Sites
One of the objectives of the project was to locate sources of free or inexpensive imagery. An
extensive search was made on the Internet to locate such data sets. The following is a list of
Internet sites that provide access to imagery either free or at relatively inexpensive prices:
   •   http://redhook.gsfc.nasa.gov/~imswww/pub/imswelcome/index.html                 EOS Data
       Gateway
   •   http://travel.to/north-america      United States & Canada Image Library
   •   http://images.jsc.nasa.gov/iams/html/         NASA - JSC Digital Image Collection Home
   •   http://www.bsrsi.msu.edu/trfic/index.html         Tropical Rain Forest Information Center
       (TRFIC)
   •   http://eosims.cr.usgs.gov:5725/CAMPAIGN_DOCS/nalc_proj_camp.html
       PROJECT/CAMPAIGN NALC
   •   http://observe.ivv.nasa.gov/nasa/education/tools/stepby/archive.html          Landsat
       Thematic Mapper Data Sets – Free!
   •   http://earth.jsc.nasa.gov/    Earth from Space
   •   http://earthrise.sdsc.edu/earthrise/main.html       Welcome to EarthRISE
   •   http://www.nasm.edu/ceps/rpif/SSPR.html            Space Shuttle Photographs
   •   http://rsd.gsfc.nasa.gov/rsd/    Visualization of Remote Sensing Data
   •   http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/     Planetary Photojournal: NASA's Image Access
       Home Page
   •   http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/photo_gallery/photogallery-earth.html          NSSDC Photo
       Gallery: Earth
   •   http://mael.soest.hawaii.edu/space/hawaii/navigator.tm.html          Virtually Hawaii:
       remote image navigator
   •   http://www.itc.nl/~bakker/satellite.html        Satellite Images and Data Sets
   •   http://southport.jpl.nasa.gov/     The NASA/JPL Imaging Radar Home Page
   •   http://www.idi-ut.com/       1 Stop Shop - IDI Sales

Examples of some of the images that were collected for each of the product lines are shown in
Figure 1 through Figure 6.




                                                 5
Figure 1. Examples of various satellite-based images used for Paradise Images product
                                     development.




Figure 2. Three-dimensional perspective views of Los Angeles and Mount Rainier using
 Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery and digital elevation models (courtesy NASA SVS
                                       studio).




                                          6
    Figure 3. Examples of radar-based imagery products. Clockwise from left:
            Pennsylvania, Maui, and Thailand (courtesy NASA JPL).




Figure 4. Educational products that teach and inspire young minds (courtesy NASA
                                       SVS).




                                       7
 Figure 5. Individual products that may be customized to fit the customers’ needs, such
                      as favorite vacation destinations or stadiums.


3.3 Data Collection and Processing
Before the images could be downloaded, an image data base with criteria fields had to be
designed that would meet potential customer searching needs. The following fields were
identified:
   •   acquisition date
   •   spatial resolution
   •   latitude/longitude coordinates
   •   source of image
   •   geographic region
   •   sensor
   •   landform
   •   county, state, city
   •   short and full description
   •   additional metadata

After the data base was filled to a level where image searches could be adequately tested, various
enhancement techniques were applied to adjust the imagery spatially and spectrally to acceptable
levels of aesthetic appeal. Most adjustments were performed in ERDAS IMAGINE 8.3.1 and
Adobe Photoshop 5.0. An investigation into filtering and merging methods was performed on
various data sets and then made available for evaluation by the company. It was desired to merge
digital elevation information, such as bathymetry, with high-resolution multispectral data and
alternative sources, such as synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and hyperspectral. Examples of
imagery before and after image enhancement are displayed in Figure 6.



                                                8
Figure 6. Examples of Space Shuttle photos before and after image enhancements were
applied. Top to bottom: Banks Peninsula, New Zealand; Finger Lakes, New York; and
                            Hilton Head, South Carolina.




                                         9
3.4 Serving an Image Database on the Internet
The Internet provides a very useful medium for distributing images to a large population. Many
Internet sources of imagery are currently available; perhaps the largest is Terraserver
(www.terraserver.com). TerraServer.com is the world’s online imagery portal, providing
consumers and businesses with the ability to view, browse, and buy satellite imagery and aerial
photos right at their desktops.

Much smaller than the terabytes of data available on Terraserver is the Paradise Images, Inc.,
multimedia data base that stores aerial and satellite images of Earth and reference information
about these images in a Microsoft Access data base format. Much of this imagery has been
enhanced for effect. This imagery is offered to the public via the Internet.

The website for Paradise Images, Inc., was developed using Drumbeat 2000™ software and can
be accessed from any web browser. The company’s webpages provide an Internet-based interface
to allow users to query the Access imagery data base. Users may select imagery from the
Paradise Images inventory based on specific criteria, such as location, type of sensor used, type
of landform shown, or other image attributes. Future implementations may include navigable
point-and-click maps from which the user can select available imagery based on geographic
location.

Within the webpages designed utilizing Drumbeat 2000™, the users’ queries are sent to Active
Server Pages that pass the queries on to the Access data base. The available images that meet the
users’ selection criteria may then be displayed in the web browser as small, compressed JPEG
images. This size and format allows for quick viewing over slower Internet connections.

Examples of the developed website interface are found in Figure 7.




                                               10
Figure 7. Example of Internet website developed through the ARC program and
              designed for custom searching of image products.




                                    11
                                         4.0 Results

One of the primary goals of the project was to identify potential market segments for imagery
that could conceivably be marketed as art. Although the major market segments are easily
identifiable, penetrating these markets proved challenging. For example, the corporate market
appears to be the most viable for large-format, colorful images that are enhanced and custom
mounted or framed. In most cases, “art” of this nature and in this price range ($675-$20,000) is
purchased through the recommendation of an art consultant, who generally charges a 30-50%
commission. This approach may price the product out of the market. Therefore, an ongoing effort
of Paradise Images is to seek out appropriate methods of distribution for such products. Trade
shows and conventions targeted toward designers, architects, and interior decorators are now
being pursued as the primary distribution vehicle. Of course, old-fashioned “knocking on doors”
also must be a component of the marketing effort of this line of products.

Other market segments that have been identified, including public/recreational, educational, and
private, have all proven to have their own unique distribution channels, each of which takes
extensive effort to develop. These efforts are ongoing and may require additional funding for
complete development. Additional product lines under consideration include screensavers,
mousepads, notecards, postcards, and calendars for the individual market; posters, prints, and
screensavers for the recreational market; and posters and CD’s for the educational market. One
large segment of the educational market identified is the homeschool market. Further educational
products will be considered for the website, but one that appears promising is a subscription
service whereby schools or classrooms may visit the site on a regular basis for imagery viewing
to supplement geography lessons. An effort is being made to determine whether similar product
development may have been undertaken through other NASA-sponsored research.

A second objective was to compile the portfolio of imagery that has been assimilated through
this project. Several examples can be found in the figures found throughout this final report.

A third objective of the project was to identify potential sources of imagery or data that could
be acquired for minimal investment. Several sources have been identified, primarily within the
U.S. government, that allow for the cost-efficient purchase of data. Paradise Images has
contracted with the U.S. Geological Survey as a business partner to remarket products of imagery
or aerial photography. Paradise Images should be at a competitive advantage as a result of this
relationship because so few companies are pursuing the same goal. Paradise Images has also
established a relationship with Earth Satellite Corporation to take advantage of the extensive
archive of imagery collected there over the past 15 years.

Fourth, an exploration regarding the proper tools for image enhancement resulted in the use of
two primary software packages: ERDAS IMAGINE and Adobe PhotoShop. ERDAS IMAGINE
brings clarity and sharpness to an image, while PhotoShop allows for some artistic interpretation.
In some cases, both packages are utilized to create the most appealing final product. To be fair,
the objective of streamlining the process is an ongoing effort that will improve with experience.




                                               12
The use of the World Wide Web as a marketing tool for the portfolio of products suggested
above is a development issue that continues to evolve. The website can and will be a valuable
source of information for individuals interested in imagery as art. However, it has been
determined that further design and refinement are needed to maximize the usefulness of the site.
The data base needs expansion, and from a marketing perspective, the components of the site
need a little “dressing up.” Many companies pay thousands of dollars for this aspect, so Paradise
Images is taking advantage of every resource available without the financial investment required
for hiring a design firm. Because every effort is being made to develop vertical as well as
horizontal market segments from the beginning, it is perhaps taking more time than planned or
expected to provide the company with a base of products that fit all price points. Since it is the
goal of Paradise Images to be a long-term player in the imagery market, it is imperative that
much thought, planning, and re-evaluation take place before the website is opened for business.

4.1 Metrics
The assistance Paradise Images, Inc., received as a result of participation in NASA's ARC
Program is enormous. It has made the difference between being a struggling, one-person
operation and essentially becoming an ongoing, growing small business concern with
tremendous commercial potential.

Because one individual can accomplish a limited amount of tasks in a given day, and because
Paradise Images is a start-up company, the time saved by utilizing the resources of USC's
Remote Sensing Lab to develop sources of imagery has been a major factor in allowing the
principal's time to be allocated to developing marketing, planning, and development aspects of
the company. The entire future and existence of Paradise Images as a commercial enterprise has
been dependent upon receiving this assistance.

Another aspect concerns the efficiency of the process of acquiring, enhancing, and printing the
imagery, and in determining the most effective method of mounting and framing the images.
Some of the images need to be very large (e.g., 10’ x 12’). This process alone could require
hundreds of man-hours and tremendous expense through the trial-and-error method of
developing proper enhancement techniques, merging various data sources, and quite simply
locating the most cost-effective sources of data available. Since almost all imagery currently
available is now utilized for scientific, engineering, or environmental applications, the same or
similar techniques could be applied to viewing the imagery as art – but the principal doesn’t have
these skills personally, and to hire the talented professionals that do would require between
$200,000 and $400,000 per year. Therefore, at a very minimum, Paradise Images will indeed
have a competitive market advantage as a result of participation in the NASA ARC program
through utilization of university resources and technical expertise not currently available without
excessive cost to the company.

Additionally, the market for remotely sensed technology will increase a minimum of 15% as
competitors see the commercial potential of imagery as a tool for use in school systems,
recreational outlets seeking additional marketing point-of-sale materials, and artistic
enhancement of office building lobbies, airports, and hospitals.



                                                13
Paradise Images, Inc., was a successful participant in the NASA-sponsored ARC program
because of several factors relating to the support of the company through resources provided by
the USC Department of Geography's Remote Sensing Lab. Following is a list of metrics from
this project:

Metric #1. Sources of imagery.

Although imagery providers are numerous, the cost of imagery can vary widely depending on
the size, data acquisition date, type of imagery, and a number of other factors. The cost of one
20-meter, four-band multispectral image from SPOT Image Corp. is $2,900. The Map Factory
provides a similar product for $125 per square mile. A Radarsat image costs in excess of $3,000.
The access to image providers as a University, plus the negotiating power, allowed Paradise
Images to acquire the same or similar imagery from commercial or government resources, such
as Landsat, NOAA and RADARSAT International, NASA JPL, and USGS. The support of the
ARC program provided significant purchasing power that would not otherwise be available to
a small company. Identifying the most cost-efficient sources of imagery is a task that a research
facility can accomplish 20 times faster than a small company can.

Participation with USC has allowed Paradise Images to build an inventory of imagery with a
minimal investment of time and money. The time to research imagery data sets alone has been
minimized through the efforts of the staff affiliates at the USC, as familiarity with the industry
has provided significant stepping stones for acquiring imagery at reasonable prices. It has not
been necessary for Paradise Images to invest in the relatively expensive data available through
commercial image providers.

Metric #2. Enhancement techniques.

Imagery is enhanced with a variety of tools, such as software packaged to accomplish specific
viewing objectives. The goal of Paradise Images is to take existing technology that currently has
a scientific purpose as its objective and transfer it to a commercial, non-traditional market. The
USC Remote Sensing Lab has the technology and the trained professionals to apply existing
techniques to a different output. Training in remote sensing and geographic information systems
would require years of study and would still require a creative individual to apply that scientific
knowledge to a production of art. Participation in the program will shorten the marketing cycle
for the company by 50% to 100% by determining the most efficient process of processing and
enhancing imagery for a specific, new application. Paradise Images currently has one software
package available to it for enhancing imagery, and although it is very good, the $10,000 cost
limits the company from exploring other similar packages that may be better suited to
accomplishing the objective of an alternative application. As a research facility, again the USC
Remote Sensing Lab has access and knowledge that would not otherwise be available to Paradise
Images.

Tools available to the department's staff at USC have been utilized for enhancement of data sets
and have minimized the sales cycle by 50%. Software is employed to clarify and sharpen images,


                                                14
and the trials of printing alternatives have allowed Paradise Images to narrow the extensive field
of printing options without spending thousands of dollars. A number of variables have presented
themselves when attempting to print images that could have become very costly and
counterproductive to the overall goals of the company. Participation in the ARC project allowed
for some experimentation with alternative papers, color balance, and band combination. The
staff's experience in the industry that developed image processing software provided
knowledgeable alternatives without the trial-and-error method and shortened the sales cycle
through reasonable turnaround time.

Metric #3. Market expansion.

One of the markets that Paradise Images intends to create is the education market. Currently, if
a middle school geography teacher wants to create awareness of a certain geographic area, the
teacher probably has available a textbook with traditional maps or perhaps an atlas of a similar
nature; if the teacher is really creative and funding is available, the teacher may have access to
a computer for viewing imagery. Most public schools will spend $50 to $100 just for the atlas.
Paradise Images envisions creating a low-cost map of imagery (or catalog of various areas) that
will be produced as 1) a poster for use to stimulate interest, 2) a CD with various data sets
utilizing minimal enhancement, and 3) a website targeted at educational facilities. These
products could all be made available to school systems for a fraction of the cost they currently
have to pay for one tool. An entire school system may be able to acquire all of these tools for the
price of 15 to 20 atlases. Therefore, Paradise Images’ participation in the ARC program will
significantly lower the cost of acquiring imagery to the education market and will likely make
it cost-effective for schools to acquire a basic set of imagery, which is currently cost-prohibitive.

Paradise Images sees no reason why the market for satellite imagery will not explode in the next
five years because of increased awareness, more competitive pricing, and alternative uses of
imagery coming to the forefront. NASA's ARC program has been significantly responsible for
opening up these possibilities by providing support to small companies interested in exploring
non-traditional uses of imagery, such as Paradise Images’. Although it is too early in the process
to measure the market expansion, it is believed that time will prove this theory correct. Certainly
if verbal encouragement and the “WOW!” factor are considered, very few viewing eyes have
been unaffected by the unique view of our universe, as presented by Paradise Images.

Metric #4. Increased sales.

A limited number of ancillary products are available in the marketplace today, such as calendars,
posters of metropolitan areas, and a few books. Many of these items are marketed to a captive
audience, such as industry trade show attendees. The principal recently attempted to purchase
a $50 book of imagery at a national bookstore and had to wait several weeks because it was sold
out – the store could not keep it in stock. Poster art of metropolitan areas often sells for $10 to
$20 each, and retailers such as The Nature Company and The Discovery Store report an
increased interest in these items, as evidenced by their often selling out. A calendar of satellite
imagery and space imagery offered to the professionals in the field of space exploration sold
20,000 copies last year.


                                                 15
Paradise Images believes there is a significant market for all of these products and others, such
as screen savers and mouse pads. Currently, Paradise Images can sell framed images to
individuals on a single sales pitch (they generally sell themselves). With the technology,
participation in the ARC program will allow Paradise Images to increase sales of imagery
products to the art-buying public by 1000 percent! Sales will increase as corporate art becomes
more visible in public places, the products mentioned are developed and marketed through
retailers and on the Internet, and imagery produced on a low-cost CD becomes a standardized
tool for use in public and private schools.

Sales of imagery products have just begun to be realized because of the longer-than-expected
development cycle. Again, Paradise Images believes that time will prove that this aspect of the
business has unlimited potential, but it is not yet quantifiable. Paradise Images expects a
significant revenue increase once the website development is complete and time has allowed for
the market penetration of these products. A reasonable benchmark might be considered about
one year from now.


                                       5.0 Conclusions

Paradise Images has benefited greatly from the support and guidance received as a result of
participation in NASA’s ARC program. The staff of USC’s Remote Sensing Lab has provided
the tools and technical expertise necessary to initiate the project’s goals and objectives and
continues to provide advice and guidance. The project has been the catalyst for creating a
marketplace outside the traditional GIS and image processing industry for products derived from
the federal government’s investment in spatial technologies.

The benefits of the project will be realized long into the future as the public citizens of the
United States are “educated" through various media displaying the beauty of the Earth as seen
from space. Imagery of all types, including aerial photography, satellite imagery, digital elevation
models, and climate data, are becoming increasingly more useful and more utilized. Increased
use of the Internet, advances in technology, and availability of digital cameras have all
contributed to the advancement of the world’s awareness and interest in “imagery.” “Imagery”
has become the buzzword of the 21st century. Paradise Images is uniquely positioned to take
advantage of this surge of interest as a result of the development of products utilizing the
resources provided by USC’s Department of Geography.

Paradise Images has barely scratched the surface in terms of the long-term objectives of the
company but has been greatly enhanced by the benefits of participation in the ARC program.
Paradise Images intends to seek additional funding to complete the development of the product
lines and systems necessary to support a volume business.




                                                16

								
To top