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Input to engineering success highlights DSTO interaction with industry

News Item

Date:
23 January, 2002
Media Release Number:
DSTO 01/02

The presentation of a prestigious engineering award to Adelaide company Maptek highlights the fact that even small input from the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) can be significant to Australian industry, according to the Director of DSTO's Electronics and Surveillance Research Laboratory, Mr Neil Bryans.

Maptek CEO Dr Bob Johnson, left, and Brian Rice of DSTO check an I-SiTE image of the Sydney Olympic Stadium.
Maptek CEO Dr Bob Johnson, left, and Brian Rice of DSTO check an I-SiTE image of the Sydney Olympic Stadium.

Maptek has won an Innovation award in the 2001 National Engineering Excellence Awards for its I-SiTE scanning package, a 3D laser imaging system.

DSTO has designed and built a military imaging laser radar, known as LADAR, as a concept demonstrator for battlefield surveillance. It contracted Maptek to develop visualisation software for that product. It was from that collaboration that Maptek identified a civilian use for the technology and independently developed its I-SiTE. DSTO and Maptek also interact under an industry alliance agreement.

"Without DSTO awarding us a contract to develop visualisation software for LADAR, it's unlikely we would have gone into the development of I-SiTE," Maptek/I-SiTE Pty Ltd CEO Dr Bob Johnson said.

DSTO, the world's leader in solid state laser technology, is part of the Department of Defence. Its role is to ensure expert, impartial and innovative application of science and technology to the defence of Australia and its national interests.

"DSTO's strong linkages with industry are important for transferring knowledge and fostering innovation, particularly in small to medium enterprises," Mr Bryans said.

"DSTO has a charter to support the development of Australian industry for its key role in supporting the security of Australia. We congratulate Maptek on its success."

The Organisation's LADAR emerged from the highly successful development of the world's first laser hydrographic device known as LADS (Laser Airborne Depth Sounder) which provides a safer, more cost-effective method for surveying shallow, complex waters than any other system. LADS has significantly improved the speed with which the Royal Australian Navy surveys Australia's continental shelf waters. It is also in service with the U.S. Navy.

The I-SiTE package provides three dimensional (3-D), true color photo-realistic images which can be used for simulated 'walk-throughs', digital-image rendering, planning structural repairs, calculating surface areas or volumes and refining systems. With a range of about 700m, it was designed primarily for the mining industry but other industries have found a use for it including the entertainment industry and law enforcement.

DSTO's LADAR has a range of several kilometres and is a necessarily larger design for its battlefield surveillance role.

The LADAR system has the potential to enhance the effectiveness of Australian Defence Force by providing a commander with the ability to collect a 3-D data set, in real-time, and using 3-D visualisation of the results, identify and recognise potential targets and extract intelligence information about them from all aspect angles.

Targets are located in scenes by interactively 'flying' through the imaged scene allowing analysis of potential targets from various viewing perspectives. Target detection is significantly enhanced in cluttered environments by using LADAR's ability to analyse targets when removed from the scene using range gating.

Further information:

Manager, Defence Science Communications (Edinburgh)

Mr Steve Butler
Defence Science Communications

DSTO Edinburgh
PO BOX 1500
Edinburgh
South Australia 5111

Phone:
(08) 8259 6923
Fax:
08 8259 6191
Email:
stephen.butler@dsto.defence.gov.au

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) is part of Australia's Department of Defence. DSTO's role is to ensure the expert, impartial and innovative application of science and technology to the defence of Australia and its national interests.

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