Harris Geospatial

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Harris Geospatial Solutions
HeadquartersBroomfield, Colorado, United States

Harris Geospatial Solutions provides software for the analysis and visualization of scientific data and imagery. The company develops products such as IDL, ENVI and IAS which are used in a variety of industries, including remote sensing, engineering, geology, aerospace, defense and intelligence, and medical imaging.


When a group of scientists who developed the Mariner Mars space probes in 1977, David Stern, who was working at the University of Colorado developed a programming language called Mariner Mars Spectral Editor, which later evolved to IDL, Interactive Data Language, in order to supplement FORTRAN, specifically for data analysis and visualization at that time. As his vision developed, Stern left the university and started working in his attic to improve the programming language. He incorporated Research Systems Inc. (RSI) and released IDL as a proprietary programming language for visualizing data. NASA Goddard Space Center and Ball Aerospace were among the company's early customers.[1]

In 1994, the software package ENVI was released. Written in IDL, ENVI enhanced the text-based IDL and enabled a suite of graphical user interfaces specialized in remote sensing imagery analysis. RSI was acquired by Eastman Kodak as a wholly owned subsidiary in 2000. Four years later, RSI along with the Remote Sensing Systems division of Eastman Kodak, were sold to ITT Corporation and were renamed ITT Visual Information Solutions.

In 2011, ITT Corporation was divided into three standalone companies, and ITT Visual Information Solutions became part of Exelis Inc. along with ITT Defense and Information Solutions. ITT Visual Information Solutions was renamed again to the current Exelis Visual Information Solutions.

In 2015 Exelis Visual Information Solutions was purchased by the Harris Corporation, becoming Harris Geospatial Solutions.



IDL (Interactive Data Language) is a scientific programming language used to extract meaningful visualizations from complex numerical data. It is used in particular areas of science, such as astronomy and medical imaging.


ENVI (an acronym for "Environment for Visualizing Images") is a software application used to process and analyze geospatial imagery. It is commonly used by remote sensing professionals and image analysts.

ENVI bundles together a number of scientific algorithms for image processing a lot of which are contained in automated, wizard-based approach that walks users through complex tasks.[2] It was originally developed by Better Solutions Consulting, LLC, a partnership of five individuals in Boulder, CO.[citation needed] In 2000, ENVI was sold to Kodak at the same time Kodak purchased RSI.[3]


  1. ^ "Exelis VIS History". Exelis VIS. Retrieved 2015-04-14.
  2. ^ "Automated Tools for Image Processing". EO Mag. Retrieved 2009-10-27.
  3. ^ "Remote Sensing Tools". CIRES. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-10-21.

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