WIM is a general-purpose image display and analysis program for the Microsoft® Windows™ operating systems with special features for analyzing satellite images.
WIM has been designed to work with digital images. In the WIM parlor an image is simply a two-dimensional array (matrix) of numbers representing the values of its elements (pixels). Digital images of this kind are produced by satellite sensors, medical imaging devices, computer models, etc.

There are many ways and formats to store digital images. The simplest is a sequence of numbers (e.g. row by row) representing the picture elements (pixels) which is often referred to as unformatted raster image. In this case the total number of pixels equals the number of rows times the number of columns, an the file size equals the number of pixels times the number of bytes per pixel. More complex formats add more information to the file, e.g. the dimensions, color palettes, geometric projections and other ancillary data. The image data may be compressed to reduce the storage requirements.

The file formats that WIM can read include:
  • Unformatted raster images of unsigned byte, one bit, unsigned integer (2 bytes) or floating point (4 bytes) pixels;

  • A special type of unformatted raster images corresponding to the North-East coastline of the US (NEC) in the Lambert Conic projection.
    ASCII files;

  • Multi-band images of band-sequential, line-interleaved and pixel-interleaved types;

  • CoastWatch (NOAA/NESDIS) formats of compressed or uncompressed images that include ancillary information and may include overlays of coastlines and other features;

  • Compressed (run-length encoded) images;

  • Erdas/Lan format images;

  • Images in HDF (Hierarchical Data Format) that include raster-8 images and Scientific Data Sets (SDS) with special functions for the SeaWiFS, SSM/I, OCTS and MOS satellite sensors as well as HDF files transformed from the Terascan data sets.
HDF has become the de facto standard for storing satellite image data and WIM includes many specialized features for handling these images.

WIM makes a distinction between raster images and bitmap types of objects (e.g. Windows bitmaps, GIF files, etc.). Whereas in raster images the emphasis is on the digital value of a pixel - a number does not have a color ! - the purpose of a bitmap object is its visual appearance, i.e. colors. There are many programs that deal with bitmaps - editing and enhancing them. (MS Paint is included with Windows.) WIM is not one of them. WIM performs operations with images and not with bitmaps. WIM transforms raster images to bitmaps and BMP, GIF, JPEG and TIFF files, not vice versa.

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