WinSCANOPY's design philosophy or how does it differs from other similar products
The WinSCANOPY software program has been designed specifically for canopy hemispherical or full frame image analysis. A strong emphasis has been put on the ease of use both for the novice and the expert while maintaining a list of features that is complete. WinSCANOPY has a high level of integration which translates into the following for the user:
- It has built-in knowledge about the hardware components that have been used to acquire the image.
- It has some built-in knowledge about the hemispherical image analysis process. It knows that a series of consecutive steps are required to analyse an image. You don't have to tell the program which steps to do next as in other programs. It knows that some parameters are common to a set of images while others must be specified for each image. Parameters common to more than one images (field trip date, operator, experiment location...) are entered once before analysing the first image while the other parameters (photo #, orientation,...) are automatically asked (and sometimes filled-in) at the beginning of the analysis (so that you don't forget to set them).
- It is easy to specify the analyses to do on the images from predefined choices. Unlike some programs, all proceedings are done by WinSCANOPY not by independent modules that you must manually activate to get their data. Before the analysis, you simply indicate the processing you want to be done and set their parameters and for each analysed image, the selected proceedings will automatically be applied.
- It is easy to produce data and to visualize them. You don't have to juggle among multiple files. Data are saved in the file that you select (you can produce one file per image or for a set of images) in standard ASCII text format that is spreadsheet friendly. Because WinSCANOPY produces a few types of data and sometimes in large quantities, we have designed a companion software named XLScanopy that runs in Microsoft Excel for data processing and visualization.
WinSCANOPY is made in the C++ programming language from source code made by Regent Instruments programmers. Computer programs made internally are easier to maintain and update as the manufacturer has full control over all its parts and can modify any of them. This can easily be seen in our past tracking record of updates. This approach contrasts with some competing products, either freeware or commercial. Some software programs are based on a library of functions that is now discontinued while others, require an expensive environment (program) to run them.