Windisp - Map and Image Display and Analysis Software
Project History
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The project history

WinDisp has its origins with the Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The GIEWS required an integrated information system to keep up with the ever-increasing flow of data. In response to this need, the GIEWS, with funding and support from the European Commission, developed an integrated information system now known as the "GIEWS Workstation".

WinDisp was developed as the map and image display module of the GIEWS Workstation, permitting GIEWS analysts to analyse, integrate, and overlay digital map and satellite data in common windows on their desktop PCs. It was designed to make the display and analysis of satellite images, maps and associated databases as simple as possible.

WinDisp is often termed the successor to the Image Display and Analysis (IDA) software. IDA was developed in the mid-1980s by the USAID Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) Project. IDA has been used extensively within the early warning community for the analysis of low resolution, high frequency satellite imagery in near real-time.

WinDisp has evolved from an MS-Windows based image display tool for viewing IDA images in Versions 1.0 and 2.0, to a fully functional, multilingual, image analysis and map display software tool for early warning in its current version.

The IDA user community was looking for an MS-Windows based version of IDA and proposed that WinDisp 2.0 be enhanced to incorporate all of the analytical features of the IDA for DOS program.

Funding was obtained for WinDisp 3.0 from the US Agency for International Development's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS) Project, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Remote Sensing Project (RRSP), the USDA Forest Service (USFS) Intermountain Fire Sciences Laboratory, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) EROS Data Center.

FAO further enhanced the capabilities of WinDisp which resulted in the current Version 3.5. The European Commission was the primary source of funds for the further development of the GIEWS Workstation and WinDisp 4.0. In addition, the FAO Africa Real Time Environmental Monitoring Information System (ARTEMIS) and a Ministère de la Coopération Française funded activity at the GIEWS also helped fund additional enhancements to Version 3.5.

WinDisp3.5 was modified to support multilingual versions of the menus and on-line help files as part of the effort to distribute the Workstation to other early warning units in non-English speaking countries. A multi-lingual dictionary currently allows the user to choose between English and French versions of the software. The dictionary can also be adapted for other languages. All WinDisp menus, the on-line help, and reference documents are now available in English and French.

Version 3.5 supported English and French, and a Spanish interface was added in Version 4.0. All WinDisp menus are related to Windisp 4.0, the on-line help, and reference documents are now available in English, French and Spanish. The multi-lingual dictionary can be modified to support other languages. In addition to the new Spanish interface, WinDisp 4.0 also offers new functions with respect to Version 3.5 including on-screen digitizing, the use of ESRI Shape files as a vector file format, and far greater options for developing, automating and customizing map and image legends.

Based upon a recent analysis of the programme, its structure and FAO GIEWS internal and external use needs, a full 32 bit version have been produced. Version 5 for internal evaluation and a final version 5.1 was realised for worldwide testing during October 2002. Through a trust fund project, the European Commission made the upgrade possible. The interface, view manipulation, registry evaluation and interaction with other MS applications were large improved. Language support as well as help and use manuals will be adapted in due time. Linked to the FAO Artemis use survey, a complete use survey for Windisp is underway. This will determine if Windisp will be further adapted or extended.



Global Information and Early Warning System
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 - Rome, ITALY
E - mail:
Tel: (39) 06 5705 3099
Telex: 610181 FAO I
Fax: (39) 06 5705 4495

No liability can be accepted by the FAO GIEWS or supporting institutions for any impacts resulting from the application of methods described at, or in manuals made available at this site. The WinDisp software is in the public domain and FAO, nor any other of the participating organisations above, takes any responsibility for impacts resulting from the use of the software, or for any problems encountered while using the software.

Data made available at this site were obtained from official and unofficial sources and are used for instructional purposes only as part of the documentation being supplied with the software. The designations employed and the presentation of the material and maps in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.