Scientists routinely accomplish small-scale geospatial modeling in the raster domain, using high-resolution datasets (such as 30-m data) for large parts of continents and low-resolution to high-resolution datasets for the entire globe. Recently, Usery and others (2003a) expanded on the previously limited empirical work with real geographic data by compiling and tabulating the accuracy of categorical areas in projected raster datasets of global extent. Geographers and applications programmers at the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Mid-Continent Mapping Center (MCMC) undertook an effort to expand and evolve an internal USGS software package, MapImage, or mapimg, for raster map projection transformation (Usery and others, 2003a).
Daniel R. Steinwand of Science Applications International Corporation, Earth Resources Observation Systems Data Center in Sioux Falls, S. Dak., originally developed mapimg for the USGS, basing it on the USGS's General Cartographic Transformation Package (GCTP). It operated as a command line program on the Unix operating system. Through efforts at MCMC, and in coordination with Mr. Steinwand, this program has been transformed from an application based on a command line into a software package based on a graphic user interface for Windows, Linux, and Unix machines.
Usery and others (2003b) pointed out that many commercial software packages do not use exact projection equations and that even when exact projection equations are used, the software often results in error and sometimes does not complete the transformation for specific projections, at specific resampling resolutions, and for specific singularities. Direct implementation of point-to-point transformation with appropriate functions yields the variety of projections available in these software packages, but implementation with data other than points requires specific adaptation of the equations or prior preparation of the data to allow the transformation to succeed.
Additional constraints apply to global raster data. It appears that some packages use the USGS's GCTP or similar point transformations without adaptation to the specific characteristics of raster data (Usery and others, 2003b). It is most common for programs to compute transformations of raster data in an inverse fashion. Such mapping can result in an erroneous position and replicate data or create pixels not in the original space. As Usery and others (2003a) indicated, mapimg performs a corresponding forward transformation to ensure the same location results from both methods. The primary benefit of this function is to mask cells outside the domain.
MapImage 1.01 is now on the Web. You can download the User's Guide, source, and
binaries from the following site:
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
User's Guide for the MapImage Reprojection Software Package, Version 1.01