Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Export Customized Imagery

The team at Contour Innovations released a great new feature this evening!  Fully customizable imagery of your collected data can now be exported from the CI BioBase system.  This great new feature gives dynamic control over the layout, size and included data to ensure that you have the ultimate flexibility to create output for every unique use case.  It is completely up to you on how and what you export in each on-the-fly generated image. 

Want to try it?  Test it at www.cibiobase.com.

In the rest of this post, we will cover how to use this new feature and highlight some of the most useful tidbits to help you create the best imagery possible!  To get started, from your home page, simply click on the arrow for the trip you want to export.  Once it loads, select the "Export Data" tab.  This will take you to the Export Data or Imagery page like the image below.


Once at the "Export Data" tab, select the Imagery checkbox (as shown above) and click Next.  This will take you to the Options page, where you can get into the detailed options of your soon-to-be-generated image.


Let's breakdown each one of the options, while keeping in mind, we may be adding to this list to continue to give you more intimate control over your imagery.

1.  Include track - This will do just what it says.  If you want to include your track (the red line on your maps) then select this checkbox.

2.  Include contours - If you want to put bathymetry lines on your image then select this checkbox.  Once selected, it will request that you specify the contour interval that you desire.  The value that you specify will vary based on your requirements and the "look" you are shooting for.  On deep, small waterbodies, you may want to enter a larger number (i.e. 5 or so) and vice versa for shallow waterbodies.  Personally, we like to see the details of the waterbody, so we tend to keep the contour interval relatively small to ensure that we see those little humps or points.

3.  Include vegetation or Include vegetation standard deviation - If you want to include either the vegetation heat map or the standard deviation error heat map, go ahead and select one or the other.  The tool will not allow you select both, since we're not really sure how layering two heat maps on top of one another would look...  That said, you can select both vegetation and contours.  The contours will be placed behind a reduced opaque vegetation heat map, so you will be able to see both. 

4.  Size - Currently we support 4"x6", 5"x7", 5"x8" and 6"x8" sizes.  These sizes act as the general ratio of height to width.  The pixels that these sizes equate to are covered in the Estimated Size section.
5.  Resolution - The resolution is depicted in Pixels Per Inch (ppi).  For higher resolution images select 300 ppi, for lower resolution (but still good quality) images, select 100 ppi.
6.  Orientation - You can choose either Portrait (height is greater than width) or Landscape (width is greater than height) for the orientation of your image.  All sizes are initially specified in Portrait orientation.  If you are sampling a waterbody that has a general east to west layout or printing a transect that runs closer to east and west than north and sound then Landscape will produce a much better output!

7.  Map Key Position - Like any good map, our custom imagery needs to have a map key associated with it.  We intentionally left the key simple to ensure that you can customize your image with additional information after saving the base image from CI BioBase.  If there is an upper corner that is less intrusive on your map then select that corner from the position drop down list.

8.  Zoom to Surveyed Area - This is a really slick feature that allows you to focus your imagery directly on the area of the waterbody that was traveled upon or on the waterbody in its entirety.  This has multiple uses, such as separate images for a localized look and a global look at the same assessment that was done or, perhaps, only a small bay was done on an enormous waterbody.  In any scenario, there are usually good reasons to stay zoomed in on the key area of concern, so we generally recommend keeping this checked.

9.  Estimated Size - This will point you in the general direction of the height and width (in pixels) and the overall size in megabytes.  This will also give you an indication of A) how long it might take to download  the image if you are on a slow Internet connection and/or B) if it will fit in a document that you are creating.

... and with that, you are ready to generate your image for download.  To do so, simply click either Next or the Export tab on the left hand side of the control.  This will take you to the final step.  To finish up and generate your image, click the Export button as shown in #1 below.


Depending on the size of your image, this might take a couple minutes.  This is also dependent upon your connection speed, especially if the image is one of the larger formats.  Once the image generation completes, you will be prompted to save the newly created image.  Click the Save File button as shown by #2 in the above image, select the location you wish to save it to and you're done!  That's it.

This post turned out much longer than it needs to be, but we wanted to be sure you can fully utilize the new, just-in-time vegetation and bathymetry imagery generation!  Its as simple as four clicks of the mouse and you have an unbelievable image ready for reports, presentations or documentation!

Lastly, here are a couple sample outputs with the associated settings:

4x6 100 ppi with Vegetation and Contours (Portrait) Upper Left Map Key


5x7 100 ppi with Contours (Landscape) Upper Right Map Key


5x7 200 ppi with Vegetation and Contours (Landscape) Upper Right Map Key - Zoomed In


5x7 200 ppi with Vegetation and Contours (Landscape) Upper Right Map Key - No Zoom


We will continually enhancing this feature, along with many others!  Any comments, questions or issues, shoot us an email at email@contourinnovations.com!!

Water Volume Analysis

CI BioBase is powerful! The centralized (online) nature of our System allows us to offer new features to our customers and make them available to trips that have already been uploaded to the System. A perfect example is our recently pushed out water volume analysis feature that is included in the standard report generated from every trip.

We employ a TIN (triangulated irregular network) to provide total water volume of a water body in cubic meters. A TIN is a vector representation of a lake bottom produced with irregularly distributed lines and nodes with 3D coordinates arranged in a network of nonoverlapping triangles. Since the BioBase System already uses an X, Y, and Z coordinate system for bathymetry, we can use a TIN for water volume analysis. An advantage of using a TIN is that the points of a TIN are distributed variably using an algorithm to determine which points are most necessary for an accurate representation of the lake bottom.
Actual covered water volume is based on the surveyed area only. In addition to actual, we also offer the total water body water volume that is based on a universal kriging algorithm that estimates contours (using statistical analysis of actual data) to the shapefie boundary. TIN analysis will be more accurate with more data points gathered with you Lowrance HDS depth finder. However, we have found that there are diminishing returns when adding more data points to improving the accuracy of the water volume analysis. Here are a couple trips on a 3.2 acre lake for comparison:

Less data collected (1019 data points):
More coverage (1546 data points):
Both trips merged together:

"Actual" represents the total surface area of the water body sampled with your HDS sonar unit. Although we also show acres covered, "Total" represents total acreage of the shapefile. Total Lake Volume represents total volume using the TIN analysis with kriged estimates using the actual data points. More data points means more accurate contours and more accurate volume. More variability in the contours could mean more places for water to fit in the pond. All relative to the water body size, when data points increased from 1019 to 1546 and actual coverage increases from 59% to 90%, total volume increased by ~6k cu. m. However, when merged together (using our trip merge function) and data points increase from 1546 to over 2500, total water volume only increases by ~300 cu. m.

One way to potentially add more actual coverage to this trip would be to cross some of these with vertical zig zags. We provide the tools and allow you to decide how to maximize them.

Bathymetric and vegetation mapping is easy with the automated CI BioBase System. We're changing perspectives on what it mean to map and who can do it.

If you have any questions about CI BioBase, give us a call or email us at email@contourinnovations.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Try CI BioBase Out in a Demo Account!

A lot of people have asked if they can take CI BioBase for a test spin.  So. . . we've created a demo account to allow everyone to log into the System and see what it's all about. 

You can log in here:  http://www.cibiobase.com/signin.aspx   with these credentials:

User email: demo@CIBioBase.com
Password: demo

We're always interested in your feedback! email@contourinnovations.com