MacB develops new approach to thinning image data for USAF

MacAulay-Brown, Inc. (MacB) of Dayton, OH announced on April 27 that it has developed a unique approach to thinning hyperspectral image data for evaluation by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC). Under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), data thinned at different levels will be evaluated by AFLCMC for compatibility testing with existing tools used by the U.S. Air Force to analyze hyperspectral data.

The research and development agreement is for investigating innovative ways to shrink a variety of data types with an emphasis on ensuring that mission-critical, back-end processing is not compromised. Results delivered so far have demonstrated low complexity methods for thinning optical images and audio files.

By using software developed by MacB’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG), hyperspectral image files that are thinned exhibit excellent image quality at half the size, while also making use of industry standard data types. A successful outcome on the AFLCMC evaluation means that on future projects, customers could cut the data rate for transferring hyperspectral images in half, by using just a few lines of code.

The CRADA work is part of a larger in-house Multi-Intelligence Statistical Technology research and development program at MacB. ATG personnel are currently exploring a variety of approaches in data compression and thinning, with an emphasis on simple and reliable methods that can be easily implemented into existing frameworks. Some techniques include a thinner for formatted Portal Network Graphic (PNG) images, and a unique approach to steganography that retains maximum fidelity in the masking image. Also under consideration are theoretic enhancements to Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) compression images.

“We have a proud history of researching and developing innovative technologies for our valued customers,” said Tim Lawrence, senior vice president and general manager of MacB’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG). “This AFLCMC CRADA agreement is an incubator that allows us to research and test unique solutions to help solve some of the government’s most critical problems in managing, processing and transmitting imagery and other large files. By working directly with government researchers, we are able to continue focusing on critical issues of the day.”