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Offline imipakTopic starter
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« on: April 24, 2011, 10:39:30 pm »
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Hi,

I'm hoping some guru can help me out with a problem I've got. I've been given a mixture of magnetometry data, metal detector data (in the form of rather archaic Visualizer 3D files) and SEGY data from a GPS system.

The first thing I need to do is convert the archaic data into something modern software can actually digest. (Digital hairballs take ages to clean up.) Here, my extensive knowledge of even the most obscure visualization packages out there fails me. I don't know anything that'll take Visualizer 3D version 0.9 (told you it was archaic) output and turn it into something useful. However, way too much data is in that format exclusively and so I'm stuck with importing it.

The second thing I need to be able to do is integrate the data somehow. The different data types show different things. Well, more accurately, they sometimes show different things but they can also show different aspects of the same things. Is it worth trying to build a composite picture? And, if so, how would you go about doing so?

Finally, and now it gets really fun, my ultimate objective is to be able to overlay these data sets with maps prior to the local hills being landscaped in Victorian times. There's finds in them thar spoil heaps. I can associate known finds with known features, I can use the survey data (if readable) to determine where those features continued on to, and with the old maps (which I have) I can extrapolate what would have been where under original conditions. Since I also know what got moved where, the rest should be simple* inference.

*Simple: This side of impossible, given the correct phase of the moon.

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Offline GoldDigger1950
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2011, 11:07:32 pm »
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You should be able to write to OKM and ask for the data format definition. That has to be your first priority.

Next, you need do nothing more than to assure that the scale of all three of your data formats is identical and that you can lay them onto layers in a photo program using transparency. Set each to 25% on a solid background that is suitable for combining them and off you go.

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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2011, 11:32:11 am »
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This is the response I got from OKM:



the only software which opens these files is the Visualizer 3d software. This is the only software which handles those file types. The software is specially made to work only with OKM products.

Best Regards
Julia Bessel

OKM GmbH
Am F?nfminutenweg 6
04603 Windischleuba / Germany



I could be wrong, but my interpretation of this is that not only are they not willing to provide file specs but also that they will not permit anyone to find a way to use the files except through their software and no access through their software to any capability they don't personally provide.

Again, I could be reading more in than was intended, but as my discussion with them included wanting to combine map data with geophysical survey data, I would interpret the last sentance to explicitly forbid any such use. I can't rationally make any sense of such a policy - what good is a 100% abstract survey with no points of reference, no means of performing correlation, no access to GIS and no access to any of the millions of data processing routines OKM don't ship?

Not only does this make no sense to me whatsoever, but it can't possibly even be OKM's stand. Nobody would use their systems if they couldn't do anything with the results. I have to be misunsterstanding their reply. Even so, a file description isn't apparently going to happen and they seem... cold to the idea of finding an option that would work for them.

What have others been able to do with these data files?

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Offline GoldDigger1950
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2011, 02:17:16 pm »
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Do you have the software? If so, check to see if it allows export of data into another format. As a last resort, you can do a screen capture and overlay your map data over that.

At the price they charge for a full system, they should bend over backwards to accommodate you.

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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 03:06:54 pm »
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I have a copy (all properly paid for, etc) that came with the metal detector bought from the company. The copy I have is old (version 0.9, they're around version 2 now) and lacks any export capabilty.

There's no meaningful provision for upgrades, as far as I can tell, and I can't find any mention of exporting in the current documentation - though, again, I may have merely missed it. At present, it looks like if I want the new version I'll need to buy it at full price with no guarantee it'll do what I want. (If anyone does have the current version of the software and can offer a better idea of whether exporting exists, that would be great to know. At the prices they DO charge, though, if such a facility exists it might be smarter to pay someone to do the conversion. The software doesn't do anything I want or need for this archaeological project. (And to judge from some of the remarks I've seen elsewhere on the board, it doesn't seem too useful in anyone else's project either.)

Once I'm passed this obstacle, it's on to the multiple GPR scans (I can read those) which have been performed over the same ground and indeed the same grid but in different directions, and the magnetometry data. I'm curious as to just how much information can be mined from these data sets where that information may not be visible through any one method alone. I can't find much published work on heterogeneus approaches. (Something I'm rather keen to correct, if the method is effective.)

The interesting part to this, from a treasure-hunting perspective as opposed to the archaeological one, is that the academic work done so far is highly contradictory, treasure actually has been found there (and was nearly ignored), and the funding is too tight right now for the main team to do anything without iron-clad information on where to look. Remote sensing methods are hard to interpret but with the variation available it should be much easier to tell what's what.

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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2011, 03:25:23 pm »
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I don't get their logic. What good is data if you can't use it? What good is it if you can't overlay a map, for example? And where do they get off charging an arm and a leg for hardware/software combination and then charge you again for an update?

I've defended OKM in the past when people here attack them but this kind of stuff gets me a bit angry over their policies.

Posted on: April 26, 2011, 11:12:06 PM
I went to the download area for OKM and found that they have a demo and a full documentation file. In the document, they list an Export feature. Here's what they say. See the attached image.

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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2011, 03:53:09 pm »
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So there's an update feature in the latest version, just not in the version I have. That's helpful to know.

According to the docs, the demo won't read any files other than their demo files. I'd need to try renaming the data files to use the demo extenion, which may work if the file format is the same. Still really not keen on buying the latest version - paying them for the privilege of not using their software seems an odd way of life. However, it looks like that's the best solution so far.
--
Ah. Just noticed that the screengrab you gave said it's a bitmap image-only export. No option for exporting to a 3D vector image (eg: SVG) or a height table. This is still workable, and I can certainly write the software needed to extract the necessary data from such images, but these people seem keen on not making things easy. I've been debating the benefits of making my own metal detector and my frustration with this situation makes me wonder if that might not be the smart option.

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« Last Edit: April 26, 2011, 04:02:22 pm by imipak »
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2011, 04:19:03 pm »
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You can certainly add it to the list of things in life that need to be accomplished. We here have discussed such a machine many times. The technology is there today to add embedded GPS and mapping to make overlays like you want a snap. Do you have enough specs on your OKM machine to write your own software like the Visualizer 3D? Seems to me that a decent logic analyzer and recorder would be a good option to see what's headed into the software via the interface.

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« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2011, 03:10:38 pm »
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Sorry for the delay in replying.

Reverse-engineering is the course I'm taking as it's the only practical option. Fortunately, I've some experience in decoding formats so this isn't quite as lethal as it could be, but it is a pain.

Fortunately, I've also got quite a lot of data in RAMAC which is much easier to work with (although I still have to convert it to SEGY for most software to recognize it).

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« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2011, 03:33:16 pm »
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just send your file to the okm company tell them what you want on those file and pay them.

ram,

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