ERDAS IMAGINE is a broad suite of software products designed to address the needs of a wide audience. Although the user interface is designed to make workflows easy for a variety of skill and experience levels, some organizations need to customize the software in order to streamline a particular production workflow.
The basic customization capability of ERDAS IMAGINE can be done by using IMAGINE Preference Editor, which is particularly well suited for modifying the easy-to-use graphical interface. Toolkit is designed primarily for users needing to tailor the software beyond this level.
What type of customization/modifications do you need to make? This is the most important question in determining which ERDAS IMAGINE tools you will need to use. The following figure shows different levels of customization for ERDAS IMAGINE, you can choose different level of customization based on what you need to achieve.
IMAGINE BATCH (level 0) is a very convenient way to streamline your workflow. Most ERDAS IMAGINE tasks can run in the BATCH mode, there is a Batch button in the processing dialog. This is useful if you have a process that requires a long time to run and you want to run it when your system is at minimum utilization (for example, during the night). It is also useful if you wish to run a repetitive task many times, such as executing the reprojection command to reproject hundreds of images. If you are familiar with DOS (simulated under Windows) programming, you can write your own DOS batch file, and run it without opening ERDAS IMAGINE. Basically IMAGINE BATCH will eventually call IMAGINE Application Command, so check IMAGINE documentation for more details (IMAGINE Online help->Appendices->Applications Commands->Alphabetical Index)
EML + IMAGINE Application Command (level 1) will provide you a GUI user interface, which is developed by EML (ERDAS Macro Language). EML comes with every license of the IMAGINE software. This language is a scripting language that can be used to define the structure and content of the user interface, as well as provide some fundamental procedural scripting capabilities. Each script is interpreted at application startup and converted into instructions for the native windowing system (i.e., EML user interface constructs are converted to Motif under UNIX and Win32 under Windows). These files are just copied to the IMGINE_HOME\scripts directory for runtime. Each script is an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) file, which may be edited to change its contents.
EML + IMAGINE Spatial Modeler (SML) (level 2) will add new capabilities to the IMAGINE software instead of customizing the existing applications. IMAGINE Spatial Modeler is a component of both IMAGINE Advantage and IMAGINE Professional licenses. Once you have developed a new algorithm using the graphical Model Maker environment, you can generate SML (Spatial Modeler Language) script. The best example to demonstrate the capability of SML is Image Interpreter in ERDAS IMAGINE; Image interpreter is built primarily from SML script with an EML interface. The new application may be plugged into the existing ERDAS IMAGINE menu/toolbar structure so that it functions like any other part of the system.
EML + IMAGINE Developers' C Toolkit (level 3) will provide I/O for the ERDAS IMAGINE file format, as well as functions that make it easier to create an importer/exporter that operates like those that ship with ERDAS IMAGINE. While the SML language provides over 100 built-in functions spanning many types of image processing and spatial modeling functions, there are always new developments underway. With IMAGINE Developers' C toolkit, programmers can create new types of geographic imaging applications and access many types of imagery through a single interface, as well as deal with many issues such as resampling or caching. New algorithms developed in the IMAGINE Developers' toolkit can be integrated into the ERDAS IMAGINE user interface, just like all other ERDAS developed applications.