US Census Bureau Utilizes ERDAS

Norcross, GA, USA – For the 2010 census, the US Census Bureau used ERDAS’ server-based technologies for timely updating of their integrated national mapping and address system.

In 2007, the Census Bureau began implementing ERDAS ADE to provide a real-time, interactive web editing solution based on the Oracle Spatial 10g/11g topology model. The project, named Geographic ADE-based Topological Real-time Editing System (GATRES), provides tools for selecting and updating features and housing units, creating links to other features.

ERDAS ADE allows multiple users to simultaneously view and edit the same feature in Oracle’s Topology Data Model. With ERDAS ADE, the Census Bureau has a visual tool for managing primitive attributes and tracking spatial and non-spatial features and metadata. Users work with address ranges linked to the spatial data in the Master Address File/Topologically Integrated Geocoding and Referencing (MAF/TIGER) System.

Later, the US Census Bureau enhanced the system, adding ERDAS APOLLO to manage and rapidly serve the organization’s massive amounts of imagery. This massive data repository included one meter (or better) imagery for the majority of the counties in the United States, for multiple years. ERDAS APOLLO consistently delivers more data, quicker, using less hardware than other image serving products. An interoperable Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) based solution, ERDAS APOLLO also easily delivers feature data, terrain and virtually any digital object in an enterprise.

ERDAS APOLLO also provides imagery backdrops to the vector data in GATRES. In addition, ERDAS APOLLO works as a plug-in with the organization’s other geospatial desktop products. With ERDAS APOLLO, users can quickly search the catalog and serve files using the Enhanced Compression Wavelet Protocol (ECWP), as well as JPEG2000, an ISO-certified compressed image format. ECWP allows streaming of ECW files, enabling rapid delivery of terabyte-sized images over the internet using inexpensive server technology.

With ERDAS’ technology, the solution was able to scale over many remote US Census sites, providing multiple users the ability to dynamically edit and update Oracle Spatial information. In addition, this enterprise system was able to efficiently distribute processes, enabling the US Census Bureau to save hardware costs. ERDAS APOLLO regularly handled several hundred users and the CPU usage rarely exceeded approximately 30% once ERDAS APOLLO was optimized for the Census production environment. While the workload has now decreased, ERDAS APOLLO continues to handle 100-150 users simultaneously.

“The US Census Bureau provides comprehensive and high quality data about the nation’s people and economy,” said Kurt Schwoppe, Vice President, Services, ERDAS. “For the 2010 census, we were able to leverage our imagery expertise, providing a comprehensive solution that could not only handle the Bureau’s massive amount of geospatial data, but also enable users to quickly update and deliver this information in a variety of environments.”

The US Census Bureau continues to use both ERDAS IMAGINE and ERDAS ER Mapper. For more information about ERDAS or its products and services, please call +1 770 776 3400, toll free +1 877 GO ERDAS, or visit

ERDAS – The Earth to Business Company – helps organizations harness the information of the changing earth for greater advantage. ERDAS creates geospatial business systems that transform our earth’s data into business information, enabling individuals, businesses and public agencies to quickly access, manage, process and share that information from anywhere. Using secure geospatial information, ERDAS solutions improve employee, customer and partner visibility to information, enabling them to respond faster and collaborate better. It also means better decision-making, increased productivity and new revenue streams. Welcome to ERDAS: a trusted name, with a new energy, and a new vision. Earth to business starts here. ERDAS is a part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden. For more information about ERDAS or its products and services, please call +1 770 776 3400, toll free +1 866 534 2286, or visit