How to create and analyze map features faster and more intelligently than ever with Trimble eCognition

Trimble eCognition

If you’ve got tons of GIS and high-res aerial (UAS) or satellite imagery to process, why not work smarter instead of harder?

With Trimble eCognition, the hard work of mapping and GIS feature creation is done for you. Its image analysis software uses powerful AI algorithms to create smart classifications and detection capabilities so that you can automate the creation of assets like roads, structures, trees, agriculture, wildlife and bodies of water.

You can adjust the settings of its algorithms in order to fit your specific feature extraction and analysis needs. This means that with a small amount of effort up front you could end up saving hundreds of hours in the future, translating into better data, faster insights and less man-hours wasted for your company in the long term. See the video below for an overview of what Trimble eCognition can do for you.



Who needs Trimble eCognition? Let’s take it one industry at a time: Electric Utilities + Powerline Vegetation Mitigation

Fire Risk Analysis for Electrical Utilities: If you had to detect the amount of vegetation encroaching into your powerline right of ways over time in order to mitigate any potential risk of wildfires, what tools would you use to calculate it?

Locating assets for utility companies: If you needed to quickly and accurately map every painted utility in your city by color, how would you accomplish that task?

Segmenting drone data into specific object types: If you needed to quickly segment your drone’s data into specific object types such as trees, buildings, roads and fields, how would you automate that process?

In the past, it would’ve been nearly impossible to accomplish this within a reasonable amount of time and relative accuracy, due to the pace at which vegetation grows.

But today, we have Trimble eCognition to help us with features like change detection classification, feature extraction, object recognition and thematic mapping.



How it works

By editing a few key settings, you can modify the eCognition algorithms to fit your specific segmentation needs.

The layer arithmetics algorithm allows you to calculate raster layers on the pixel level. This comes in handy when using the NVDI for vegetation mapping. If you’re still calculating rasters, then you’re going to love this algorithm and the time it saves you.

In order to segment your objects into categories based on specific values such as color or height, you can use the multi-threshold segmentation algorithm. Possible use cases for this could include segmenting tree objects into different shades of green based on where their height values fall within specific ranges on the nDSM image layer, which is used to identify live green vegetation. You could also segment areas of vegetation on your map by height based on where their values like within specific ranges on the NDVI image layer, which finds the height of objects.

Its removal algorithm allows you to merge the pixels in your images by shape or by color, segmenting your data into common objects such as lakes, rivers, and fields. This can be useful in applications such as mapping the progression of wildfires or tracking changes in environmental conditions over time.

Another use case involves domain extrema algorithm which finds the maximum and minimum measurements of objects within a map, including area and elevation. This could be useful in situations where you need to locate the highest and lowest buildings within a city.

The grow region algorithm allows you to start with a “seed” object which then “grows” into the surrounding region based on the specific conditions that you set. An example of this in action could be classifying an area on your map as a body of water based on one small “seed” region of blue that grows and expands into a large blue ocean.

With the merge region algorithm, neighboring image objects that belong to the same class are grouped into one large object. This means that when two objects of the same category are adjacent to each other, they join together into one object which reduces the total number of objects. This is different than the removal algorithm, which merges pixels by common shapes or colors instead of merging objects by class.

The pixel-based object resizing algorithm allows you to grow, shrink, or coat an object. This means that you’re able to increase or reduce the number of pixels surrounding a pixel and to decide which direction the algorithm applies applies to. One way to use this feature is to grow the branches of a river based on its width or category. Candidate Surface Tension is a special setting that you can use to grow and shrink your objects, based on whether the percentage of pixels within a specific grid region meets a specified threshold.

See the video below for an overview of the workflow for segmenting an image of a neighborhood into objects such as yards, houses and streets.



If you’re involved in GIS analysis, then productivity, accuracy and competitive deliverables are at the core of your success. At CSDS, we provide you with transformative solutions and processes to improve your existing workflows and accomplish these objectives.

We’ve helped organizations of all sizes enhance their GIS data collection and analysis processes, enabling them to achieve real-world benefits via enhanced methodologies, more automated workflows, improved cost efficiencies, shorter time to market, and innovative methods of data extraction and deliverables.

As a value-added solutions provider for Mapping and GIS data collection and processing platforms, we provide a practical approach to technology that can help data-intensive businesses work smarter and more profitably. We take solutions beyond the technology to provide a framework that improves processes to help you meet your business objectives.

Learn more about Trimble eCognition

Are you looking for a way to drastically expand your image analysis capabilities? Is your current solution incapable of delivering the insights you need?

Call CSDS at 800-243-1414 to ask a question, request a quote, or receive a product demonstration. One of our Mapping and GIS specialists will be in touch to share their expert opinion.

With over 30 years of service to Mapping and GIS professionals, CSDS is uniquely qualified to analyze your workflows and assist you in selecting the solution that best suits your company’s needs. Contact us today to learn why we are the leader in geospatial equipment, sales and support.

For more information about the features, strengths and limitations of Trimble eCognition, please leave a comment below or send an email to


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