GeodataNetwork employs Definiens Technology in Land Use Modeling of Geneva

Production of Map Involved Automated Analysis of Hundreds of Aerial Images of the Canton

Munich, Germany / Geneva, Switzerland – January 20, 2009 – GeoDataNetwork, a geographic data management, acquisition, and processing company, has utilized Definiens Cognition Network Technology® to develop a land-use model of the Canton of Geneva. The project involved the analysis of hundreds of aerial and satellite images in combination with a digital height model of the surface to determine land use in Geneva and its surrounding regions. The Section of Official Survey (SEMO) of the Department of Territory of Geneva will use the model to manage its urban planning projects.

Employing Definiens Developer, Definiens Extension for ArcGIS and Definiens eCognition® Server, GeoDataNetwork developed a semi-automated application to analyze a series of high resolution aerial photographs and height information of the Canton’s surface to identify areas of commercial, industrial and residential development. The application automatically extracts features and objects indicative of land use, including green space, buildings and transportation structures. The project required the classification of all objects larger than 2 m2 with strict boundary tolerance requirements. Over the course of sixteen months, Definiens’ technology was used to develop complex rules to extract information from the available data and develop a detailed land use model of the entire Canton of Geneva. Covering an area of approximately 282 km2, the canton comprises 45 communities, of which Geneva is the largest, as well as agricultural areas, small forests and the 38 km2 Lake Geneva. The SEMO will utilize the completed model to detect changes in soil coverage across the canton. The maps will be updated every four years based on the analysis of new aerial photographs.

“Mapping the canton was a challenging project as the aerial images analyzed were collected in August, leading to dark shadows in the urban areas which are difficult to handle,” said Stéphane Couderq, Director of GeoDataNetwork. “Integrating Definiens software into our workflow enabled us to develop a land-cover image analysis solution that is highly accurate and transferable to other image data. We achieved a high degree of automation in the extraction of detailed land cover information, reducing our workload tremendously.”

In heterogeneous environments, such as dense urban zones, shadows, impervious areas and differences in building size, provide challenges to the deployment of image analysis software. Definiens software combines spectral and elevation data to classify objects and describe their semantic relationships. By examining features in context, the software is able to segment complex scenes and classify a far greater range of infrastructure and natural features than traditional pixel-based solutions. Larger buildings can be detected according to their differential elevations to neighboring objects, while form features help separate roads and streams from other areas based upon their irregular or elongated shapes.

“The application developed by GeoDataNetwork truly showcases our technology’s ability to handle complex land-mapping tasks,” said Ralph D. Humberg, Vice President, Earth Sciences at Definiens. “Our object-oriented approach facilitates the accurate and rapid identification of land use and land cover in a range of challenging environments.”

About GeoDataNetwork S.A.
Based in Geneva, GeoDataNetwork offers a number of specialized solutions for geographical data management, acquisition, and processing. Since 1968, the company’s professional team has combined expertise in surveying, architecture, transportation and environmental management to provide complete geo-informatical services, as well as software distribution and training. GeoDataNetwork offers support to organizations in the acquisition and analysis of two and three-dimensional data, maintenance of computer-systems, software and geographical databases and proposes solutions for geographical modeling and geo-informatics. Further information is available at

Definiens in Earth Sciences
Definiens enables organizations involved in Earth Sciences to quickly extract accurate geo-information from any kind of remote sensing imagery. The company assists data collectors, service providers and end users in integrating earth observation and remote sensing data to generate accurate GIS-ready information. Definiens’ intelligent feature extraction capabilities accelerate mapping, change detection and object recognition–delivering standardized and reproducible image analysis results.

About Definiens
Definiens is the number one Enterprise Image Intelligence company for analyzing and interpreting images on every scale, from microscopic cell structures to satellite images. The Definiens Cognition Network Technology®, developed by Nobel laureate Prof. Gerd Binnig and his team, is an advanced and robust context-based technology designed to fulfill the image analysis requirements of the Medical, Life and Earth Sciences markets. The technology is modeled on the powerful human cognitive perception processes to extract intelligence from images. Definiens provides organizations with faster image analysis results, allowing deeper insights enabling better business decisions. The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany and has offices throughout the United States. Further information is available at

Definiens, Definiens Cellenger, Definiens Cognition Network Technology, Definiens eCognition, Enterprise Image Intelligence and Understanding Images are trademarks or registered trademarks of Definiens.

Author: EARSC

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