Infobox Software
name = SOCET SET
developer = BAE Systems
latest_release_version = 5.4.1
latest_release_date = Jan,2008
operating_system = Microsoft Windows, Sun Solaris
genre = Photogrammetry
license = Proprietary
operating_system = Solaris, Windows
website = []

SOCET SET is a software application that performs a variety of functions related to photogrammetry. It is developed and published by BAE Systems. SOCET SET is notable because it was the first commercial digital photogrammetry software program. Prior to SOCET SET, all photogrammetry programs were primarily analog or custom systems built for government agencies.


SOCET SET inputs digital aerial photographs, taken in stereo (binocular) fashion, and from those photos it automatically generates a digital elevation model, digital feature (vector data), and orthorectified images (called Orthophotos). The output data is used by customers to create digital maps, and for mission planning and targeting purposes.

The source images can come from film-based cameras, or digital cameras. The cameras can be mounted in an airplane, or on a satellite. A key requirement of the imagery is that there must be 2 or more overlapping images, taken from different vantage points. This "binocular" characteristic is what makes it mathematically possible to extract the 3-dimensional terrain and feature data from the imagery. See Imaging Spectroscopy for more details on stereo image viewing.

A key step, involving very complex least squares mathematics, is Triangulation which determines exactly where the cameras were positioned when the photographs were taken. Photogrammetrists that contributed to SOCET SET's Triangulation include Scott Miller, Bingcai Zhang, John Dolloff, and Fidel Paderas. If the quality of the triangulation is poor, all subsequent data will have correspondingly poor positional accuracy. The most recent major version, released in 2007, is version 5.4.

tereo Display

SOCET SET, like all high-end photogrammetry applications, requires a stereo display to be used to its fullest potential. Although SOCET SET can run and generate all its products on a computer with only a conventional display, a typical user will require a stereo display to view the digital data overlaid on the imagery. Interactive (manual) quality assurance requires this capability.

Hardware companies that manufacture hardware for stereo image display include:
* [ Stereographics]
* [ Planar graphics]
* [ NuVision]

File formats

SOCET SET has the ability to read and write many imagery formats: VITec, Sun Raster, TIFF, TIFF 6.0 (Raster, Tiled, Tiled JPEG, and LZW), JFIF, NITF 2.0, NITF 2.0 JPEG, NITF 2.1, NITF 2.1 JPEG, ERDAS IMAGINE, JPEG 2000, Targa, COT, DGN, USGS DOQ, MrSID, Plain Raster.

SOCET SET has the ability to read many different terrain data formats, including: DTED, USGS DEM, ASCII (user-defined), LIDAR LAS, ArcGrid, SDTS, NED, GSI, GeoTIFF.

Vector formats supported include: DXF, Shapefile, ASCII (ArcGen), ASCII, TOPSCENE.


SOCET SET, like all photogrammetry tools, is used for the following applications:
*Cartography (map making) - especially topographic maps
*Targeting (warfare)
*Mission Planning
*Mission Rehearsal
*Building a 3D model of the earth's surface for Computer simulation

About half of SOCET SET users are commercial, and half are government/military.


Development started as a Research and Development project around 1989, with Jim Gambale as the sole developer. At the time, the parent corporation was GDE Systems (formerly a subsidiary of General Dynamics). The hardware platform was a PC running Interactive Unix.

After the initial prototype proved successful, a larger R&D effort was initiated in 1990, led by Herman Kading. One of the primary accomplishments of this effort was to migrate the product to various UNIX Platforms, including Sun, SGI, HP, and IBM.

Key technical knowledge was provided by Helava Inc, a company based in Detroit, Michigan that specialized in photogrammetry. Helava employees Scott Miller, Janis Thiede, and Kurt Devenecia brought in-depth experience in the field.

Leadership of the project passed to Neal Olander around 1992, and after this time, SOCET SET (which before then was only sold to government customers) began to be distributed commercially. Around 1996, SOCET SET was migrated to the Microsoft Windows operating system, although the Unix system continued to be supported as well.

Key technical skills were provided by Dave Miller, Dave Mayes, Jim Colgate, and Bingcai Zhang. Dave Miller was especially noteworthy because of his special expertise with stereo displays.


Starting in 2008, SOCET SET photogrammetric functionality is migrating to the next generation product, SOCET GXP (Geospatial eXploitation Product).

Meaning of SOCET SET

SOCET SET is an acronym that stands for SOftCopy Exploitation Toolkit. The phrase is a play on the actual tool socket set.

Release history

*v1.0 - 1991
*v2.0 - 1993
*v3.0 - 1995
*v4.0 - June 1997
*v4.1 - Sept 1998
*v4.2 - July 1999
*v4.3 - Sept 2000
*v4.4 - Dec 2001
*v5.0 - Sept 2003
*v5.1 - Apr 2004
*v5.2 - Nov 2004
*v5.3 - June 2006
*v5.4 - Summer 2007
*v5.4.1 - Jan 2008


The chief competitor to SOCET SET is the Leica Photogrammetry Suite (LPS), INPHO and Intergraph, which are also leaders in the field of photogrammetry.

Other related companies that have a limited amount of photogrammetry in their applications include ARC/INFO (a GIS product by ESRI) and ERDAS (owned by Leica Geosystems) which is primarily a remote sensing application.

ee also

*Binocular vision
*Remote Sensing
*Imaging Spectroscopy
*Least squares

Related terms

*Image Processing

External links

* [ Tutorial]
* [ Paper on terrain extraction]
* [ Official Page]
* [ Photo of Development team in 1998]
* [ INPHO]
* [ Intergraph]
* [ Tuturial paper]
* [ GIS that is integrated with SOCET SET]
* [ Stereographics]
* [ Planar graphics]
* [ NuVision]
* [ Leica Geosystems]

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