Antarctic Research Group

Digital Image Analysis Laboratory

The Digital Image Analysis Laboratory (DIAL) is a state-of-the-art facility designed to enhance electronic visualization and interpretation of remotely sensed data. Initiated in 2008, and continually growing in capability, DIAL provides a comprehensive and integrated suite of computing, software, and advanced display capabilities that together form an unparalleled resource for the Antarctic Research Group, the Department of Earth & Environment, and University-wide outreach activities.

DIAL Image

High-Tech Displays

The centerpiece of the facility is a tiled display wall comprising a seamless array of nine 55-inch Planar HD monitors, providing more than 100 square feet and 18 million pixels (9K resolution) for visual interpretation and analyses. The tiled display wall, along with two ultra-high resolution workstation monitors, is powered by one super computer. Utilizing two Intel Xeon processors, three Firepro w9100 graphic cards, and 25TB of hard drive space, the super computer enables powerful and efficient data analysis, image visualization, and media production. In addition, the facility features five 70-inch interactive touch displays, used for both teaching and research, an 80-inch HD monitor for high-resolution analyses, a 70-inch 3D plasma display for stereo analysis of geomorphic features, and a 65-inch 4K display for high-resolution analyses and 4K video production. The monitors, all interconnected, are controlled by a Crestron touch display and linked to six high-end workstations. Finally, each workstation is linked to an additional dedicated ultra-high resolution (2500 X 1650) monitor.

High-Resolution Imagery From The Polar Geospatial Center

A close partnership with the NSF-supported Polar Geospatial Center (PGC) at the University of Minnesota ensures DIAL’s access to the most recent and advanced Arctic and Antarctic imagery. The partnership has provided ~20 TB of extensive imagery of the Antarctic continent, enabling virtual exploration, geospatial model development, and analysis of the Antarctic environment within the confines of DIAL walls.

In-House Image Acquisition

In addition, as a part of DIAL’s mission to develop new high-resolution imagery, the laboratory includes its own advanced photo and video capabilities. These include high-resolution stereo cameras for 3-D field images, GigaPan ultra-high resolution panoramic capture technology, 4K video production equipment, infrared photography, and time-lapse photography, all of which ensure a steady stream of field-based imagery for data processing and analyses with DIAL displays and computers.


Augmenting and driving DIAL’s advanced display capabilities is a suite of specialized software tools running on high-powered workstations that enable processing and analysis of geospatial and geophysical data. Geospatial tools include ESRI ArcGIS for geospatial analysis, Fledermaus for multidimensional data visualization and analysis, ENVI for processing of remotely sensed images, and CoreAlyzer for ice-core analysis. Software for geophysical processing includes Seismic Processing Workshop (SPW) and SeisUnix for seismic data; and GSSI RADAN for processing ground-penetrating radar data. For media production and image assembly, the DIAL workstations are equipped with the latest Adobe CC Creative Suite, Autopano Giga, Autopano Video Pro. Several additional packages are installed in the laboratory for three-dimensional image and movie creation from stereo data.

For inquiries and tours of DIAL, please contact Professor David Marchant (