Digital Image Analysis Laboratory (DIAL)

The Digital Image Analysis Laboratory (DIAL) is a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance electronic visualization and interpretation of remotely sensed data. Initiated in 2008, and continually growing in capability, DIAL provides a comprehensive and integrated suite of computing, software, and advanced display capabilities that together form an unparalleled resource for the Antarctic Research Group, the Department of Earth & Environment, and University-wide outreach activities.

The centerpiece of the facility is a tiled display wall comprising a seamless array of nine 55-inch Planar HD monitors, providing more than 100 square feet for visual interpretation and analyses. In addition, the facility features five 70-inch interactive touch displays, used for both teaching and research, an 80-inch monitor for high-resolution analyses, and a 70-inch 3D plasma display for stereo analysis of geomorphic features. The monitors, all interconnected, are controlled by a Creston touch display linked to six high-end computing systems. In addition, the facility houses 6 additional workstations equipped with multiple ultra-high resolution (2500 X 1650) monitors for geomorphic research.

A close partnership with the NSF-supported Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) at the University of Minnesota ensures DIAL’s access to the most recent and advanced Antarctic imagery for geospatial models. The partnership has provided almost 20 TB of extensive imagery of the Antarctic continent, enabling virtual exploration and analysis of the Antarctic environment within the confines of DIAL walls.

In addition, as a part of DIAL’s mission to develop new high-resolution imagery, the laboratory includes its own advanced photographic capabilities. These include high-resolution stereo cameras for 3-D field images, Giga Pan ultra-high resolution panoramic capture technology, interactive movies, infrared photography, and time-lapse photography, all of which ensure a steady stream of field-based imagery for data processing and analyses with DIAL displays and computers.

Augmenting and driving DIAL’s advanced display capabilities is a suite of specialized software tools running on high-powered workstations that enable processing and analysis of geospatial and geophysical data. Geospatial tools include ESRI ArcGIS for geospatial analysis, Fledermaus for multidimensional data visualization and analysis, ENVI for processing of remotely sensed images, and CoreAlyzer for ice-core analysis. Software for geophysical processing includes Seismic Processing Workshop (SPW) and SeisUnix for seismic data; and a GSSI RADAN package for post-processing ground-penetrating radar. Several additional packages are installed in the laboratory for three-dimensional image and movie creation from stereo data.

If you are interested in using these facilities, please contact laboratory manager Dr. Joel Sparks.