Support

Welcome to the RainStorm® Support Site. If you cannot find what you are looking for visit our downloads page, or call/email one of our RainStorm® Customer and Technical Support Representatives.

RainStorm® Customer and Technical Support can be contacted via the following methods:

Phone: (888) 724-6376 (Toll-free)
Fax: (844) 330-4390
Email: RainStorm@ngc.com


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

What is RainStorm?

Why do I need RainStorm?

Will RainStorm work on laptop computers?

What does RainStorm do that RainDrop doesn't?

Why aren't you selling RainDrop anymore?

Why was the name changed to RainStorm?

If there are still a lot of people using RainDrop, who uses RainStorm?

Does RainStorm open products that were previously loaded with RainDrop?

Has RainStorm been validated by NGA?

Do you have a CBT available?

How often do you send out product upgrades?

Purchases

How can I obtain a copy of RainStorm?

To where should I send my Purchase Order?

Do you accept credit cards?

What discounts do you offer?

How do I obtain a GSA Letter of Supply?

How much does your training cost?

Licensing

What kind of licensing options do you offer?

When I launch RainStorm, I get the message "Please install hardware key and try again" or "Key not found on Server. Please specify new IP Address". How do I get a license file?

I am using a PCI Parallel Port Adapter. Will the Sentinel hardware key work with this type of adapter?

What is a floating license? How does it work?

What is the difference between a one-user and a multi-user floating license?

Does a floating license cost more?

Can the RainStorm floating license server support access from both PC and UNIX machines at the same time, regardless of whether the server is PC or UNIX?

What information do you need from me to obtain a demo license key?

Are there any security implications to using a Sentinel Key in an environment where read/write memory devices are not allowed?

Hardware

What kind of hardware do I need to operate RainStorm?

What video cards do you recommend?

What is a ZScreen or Stereoscopic Display?

Operation

How do I get started working with RainStorm?

Where can I obtain imagery?

How accurate is RainStorm?

How long does it take to obtain a coordinate in RainStorm?

How long does it take to tie an image in RainStorm?

What are the RainStorm web services and what can they do for me?

What is stereo imagery?

Why should I use stereo imagery?

What are the red and blue glasses for?

I'm a UNIX user, do I need to be logged in as 'root' to operate RainStorm?

I'm a PC user, do I need to be logged in as 'administrator' to operate RainStorm?

I installed RainStorm on UNIX and it's still not working, what is wrong?

How do I specify a West heading when entering a coordinate in the Go To Coordinate dialog box?

Will RainStorm run on Windows 95 or Windows 98?

When I attempt to load a stereo pair or view imagery in stereo I get a message that "Stereo is not enabled".

When trying to register a tape, I get "Error downloading Master Product File."

Why are the Assisted and Automatic tie point selection methods disabled in the Image Registration dialog?

The Automatic tie point selection mode does not generate enough good tie points.

I've selected a number of tie points, but the Accept button is disabled on the Image Registration page.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General

Q: What is RainStorm?

A: RainStorm takes battle-tested precise point positioning technology and combines it with a network-centric architecture and enhanced GUI features to effectively cut the kill chain while providing the validated accuracy demanded to employ precision guided munitions.

Q: Why do I need RainStorm?

A: To satisfy your need to rapidly generate GPS coordinates for use in precision guided munitions or other applications.

Q: Will RainStorm work on laptop computers?

A: Yes. However, stereo viewing mode is only available on CRT monitors at this time due to the limited refresh rate of LCD displays. Laptops can run RainStorm in anaglyph or split-screen mode.

Q: What does RainStorm do that RainDrop doesn't?

A: Currently RainStorm contains the following major functions that do not exist in RainDrop:

  • Excel/PowerPoint Export
  • Split Screen Stereo Imagery Point Mensuration
  • Enhanced User Interface
  • Integrated Web Services
  • Reduced Resolution data set (R-set) Generation
  • Community Sensor Model Support
  • Auto Registration / Assisted Tie Points
  • NITF Writing and Chipping
  • PGMTDB Interface (Target Files Editor)
  • Cursor on Target (CoT) Interface
  • Image Search – Speed Improvements
  • Multiple Target Point Generation
  • Image Display/ELT Enhancements
  • Toolbar Slider Controls for Zoom, Rotate, Contrast & Brightness
  • HTML Target Folder

Q: Why aren't you selling RainDrop anymore?

A: RainStorm is the next generation of RainDrop. Concentrating on a single product line will allow Northrop Grumman to better satisfy current and emerging customer requirements.

Q: Why was the name changed to RainStorm?

A: RainStorm was completely rewritten from the ground up using a new compiler and included major architectural changes. The name change was chosen to stress these changes and the new net-centric capabilities.

Q: If there are still a lot of people using RainDrop, who uses RainStorm?

A: Some of RainStorm's major users include the IEC Program (NGA) and joint commands, such as CENTCOM and PACOM. Most RainDrop customers have made the switch to RainStorm.

Q: Does RainStorm open products that were previously loaded with RainDrop?

A: Yes. All DPPDB products loaded using RainDrop can be used by RainStorm. Additionally, RainStorm can read DPPDB directly from DVD or by copying the files from DVD using the same filename/directory structure.

Q: Has RainStorm been validated by NGA?

A: The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has validated RainStorm v1.3 for mensurating points on NTM imagery registered to DPPDB and for mensurating points directly on DPPDB.

Q: Do you have a CBT available?

A: Yes, it is available on the installation CD.

Q: How often do you send out product upgrades?

A: Version releases occur approximately every six months.

Purchases

Q: How can I obtain a copy of RainStorm?

A: If you provide us with your contact information, we will be happy to send you a demo copy of our software. Demo licenses provide full functionality for a limited time (typically 30 days).

Q: To where should I send my Purchase Order?

A: Purchase orders can be faxed to 850.678.2741 or emailed to rainstorm@ngc.com

Q: Do you accept credit cards?

A: Yes. Visa, MasterCard, Novus and American Express are accepted.

Q: What discounts do you offer?

A: We offer a GSA discount for U.S. Government customers or contractors with a current GSA Letter of Supply.

Q: How do I obtain a GSA Letter of Supply?

A: Your government sponsor can provide a letter authorizing you to purchase from the GSA Schedule.

Q: How much does your training cost?

A: Training held at our facility in Niceville, Florida:

For 1-3 students, the cost is (call for price)

For 4-8 students, the cost is (call for price)

For 9-20 students, the cost is (call for price)

Training held on-site follows the same scale as above plus trainer travel expenses. Call for quote.

Licensing

Q: What kind of licensing options do you offer?

A: Node-locked and Floating:

Node-locked: Standalone license controlled by a moveable hardware key (UNIX-Parallel Port, PC-Parallel Port or USB)

Floating: Network license controlled by a license server located on the network.

Q: When I launch RainStorm, I get the message "Please install hardware key and try again" or "Key not found on Server. Please specify new IP Address". How do I get a license file?

A: RainStorm, unlike RainDrop, uses hardware license keys that plug into your computer's parallel (printer) port or USB port. If you do not have the key device in place, RainStorm will not function properly. A single-license version of RainStorm may be installed on multiple machines, but only one machine may run RainStorm at a time, after moving the key device from one machine to the other. The exception is if you are running a license server. For this server, the hardware key has multiple licenses (equal to the number purchased).

Q: I am using a PCI Parallel Port Adapter. Will the Sentinel hardware key work with this type of adapter?

A: Yes. However, you may need to follow Sentinel's configuration instructions for PCI Parallel Ports.

Q: What is a floating license? How does it work?

A: A floating license allows RainStorm to be installed on some or all of the computers on a network but limits the number of users that can access RainStorm simultaneously. Access is controlled by license manager software installed on the network server. You can purchase a floating license for as many users as need simultaneous access.

Q: What is the difference between a one-user and a multi-user floating license?

A: A one-user floating licenses allows you to install RainStorm on as many computers on a network as you wish; however, only one user will be allowed to run RainStorm at any given time. A multi-user license functions the same way, but more than one user (up to the number of seats purchased) can run RainStorm simultaneously.

Q: Does a floating license cost more?

A: No. Floating licenses are priced per seat, and each seat is priced the same as an individual node-locked license.

Q: Can the RainStorm floating license server support access from both PC and UNIX machines at the same time, regardless of whether the server is PC or UNIX?

A: Yes, the RainStorm floating license server can support access for both PC and UNIX machines at the same time, regardless of whether the server is PC or UNIX.

Q: What information do you need from me to obtain a demo license key?

A: The system ID that is displayed on the RainStorm licensing dialog window

Q: Are there any security implications to using a Sentinel Key in an environment where read/write memory devices are not allowed?

A: The Sentinel SuperPro and other Sentinel tokens are proprietary security devices which are used by a specific application to ensure that each user of the application has the rights to run the application. At no time does any other application, parts of the Operating System or system's user have access to the key's memory. Nor can the key's memory be used as a generic storage area. The only way to use the key's memory is through our specific APIs, and with a specifically protected application.

http://c3.safenet-inc.com/Display_Results.asp?DocId=3790

Hardware

Q: What kind of hardware do I need to operate RainStorm?

A: These are the minimum operating requirements for running RainStorm:

PC:
  • Windows XP/7
  • 300 MB Disk Space
  • 512 MB Memory
  • 1GHz Processor
  • *Stereo Capable Video Card
  • *Stereo Capable Monitor (1024x768 @ 120Hz)
  • 3-button Mouse
  • *Stereo Viewing Equipment
  • CD/DVD Reader

* Only required for stereo viewing

Q: What video cards do you recommend?

A: Depending on your motherboard video slot:

AGP: NVIDIA Quadro FX 1100 (AGP)

PCI-Express: NVIDIA Quadro FX 1300, 1400, 3400, 3450, 4500, or 4500G

Q: What is a ZScreen or Stereoscopic Display?

A: These are screen overlays that enable stereo3D viewing on your existing CRT monitor. They provide true stereoscopic visualization capabilities when used with a pair of polarized glasses.

Operation

Q: How do I get started working with RainStorm?

A: Mo

st RainDrop users will find the transition to RainStorm quite simple. If you are new to point mensuration, we suggest viewing the CBT and/or attending training that can be purchased separately.

Q: Where can I obtain imagery?

A: Contact NGA via:

Phone: (800) 455-0899
Email: chdesk@nga.mil
SIPRNet: sps.stl.nga.smil.mil/products/dppdb
JWICS: jws.stl.nga.ic.gov/products/dppdb

Q: How accurate is RainStorm?

A: The accuracy is validated by NGA using the same standards as RainDrop.

Q: How long does it take to obtain a coordinate in RainStorm?

A: It depends on the type of imagery available. With the right type of imagery, a target can be located and coordinate generated in seconds.

Q: How long does it take to tie an image in RainStorm?

A:It depends on the type of imagery available. With the new auto-tie point generation available in v1.3 and newer, the tie process can be reduced from minutes to seconds. The auto-tie point generator tends to work better with imagery that contains RPCs, such as NTM images. The tie process also works better if DTED data is available. DTED Level 0 is included for the entire world on the RainStorm CD for this purpose.

Q: What are the RainStorm web services and what can they do for me?

A: RainStorm Web Services allow multiple RainStorm workstations and clients to be linked in a network configuration. Systems can be configured using a Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), or the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) environment. A Windows Server running IIS and SQL Server is required to host the RainStorm Web Services and System Coordinator.

Client machines communicate through the RainStorm Client Web Services (RCWS). The RainStorm Server Web Services (RSWS) coordinate the registering and un-registering of RainStorm workstations and resulting coordinate information. The RainStorm Systems Coordinator acts as a scheduler using load-balancing algorithms. As new requests from clients arrive, they are assigned to registered workstations. A priority scheme allows time-sensitive targeting requests to take precedence or interrupt lower-priority requests that may already be in progress. As workstations complete mensuration requests, they are sent back to the Web Server, which passes the results onto the requesting client. The Coordinator also keeps a log of results suitable for an audit trail.

This audit trail, and the ability to produce HTML documents, allows Targeteers to save DPI graphics, image captures of the target area, and Excel spread-sheets to a single identified Web Page for the use of post-strike analysis, thus providing a centralized Battle Damage Assessment (BDA). This capability also provides a central location to pull data for collection decks for tactical and strategic imagery sources. All communication is accomplished using industry standard messages. Web Services Description Language (WSDL) can be requested from the RainStorm Web Server to generate proxy classes for Web Service clients.

Q: What is stereo imagery?

A: Stereo describes the orientation of photographs that when properly positioned have a three-dimensional view. In true stereo, each eye sees the object. There is a significant amount of overlap between the "left" and "right" images seen by the "left" and "right" eyes respectively. The phenomenon that enables one to see in stereo is the fact that each eye sees the object from a slightly different angle, called parallax). The brain can interpret the parallax as depth.

Q: Why should I use stereo imagery?

A: Photogrammetry is the specialist discipline of mensuration (or measurement from remotely sensed imagery such as aerial photographs or satellite images). Many years of experience in photogrammetric techniques have shown that analysis is much easier when a stereo pair of images is available to allow binocular vision. This is inspired by the same reason that humans (and all animals) have two eyes - visualization of depth by parallax and perspective allows a much clearer analysis of a view than when seen in 2D, as if with one eye closed. Realization of the benefits of stereo visual analysis has led to widespread adoption of stereo photogrammetry for map data capture and update.

Q: What are the red and blue glasses for?

A: The red and blue glasses are for viewing stereo in "anaglyph mode". The anaglyph option is useful in situations where shuttered glasses and/or a stereo-capable monitor is not available. An operator can take full advantage of all RainStorm functions without any special stereo hardware. The anaglyph mode utilizes color to achieve the left-eye/right-eye image separation necessary to perceive stereo. The left image is copied into the red channel of the display, and the right image is copied into the blue and green channels. When an operator views the combined image through the red/blue glasses, the red lens blocks the right image, and the blue lens blocks the left image. One drawback of the anaglyph mode is the loss of being able to view color images in stereo, although this is a minor drawback because a majority of the stereo imagery is black & white.

Q: I'm a UNIX user, do I need to be logged in as 'root' to operate RainStorm?

A: No. You need to login as 'root' to install RainStorm, but not to run the program.

Q: I'm a PC user, do I need to be logged in as 'administrator' to operate RainStorm?

A: No. Your login needs to have administrator privileges to install RainStorm, but not to run the program.

Q:

I installed RainStorm on UNIX and it's still not working, what is wrong?

A: Make sure you have executed the {INSTALL_DIR}/script/setup_rs to ensure this will set up the correct permissions and environment variables.

Q: How do I specify a West heading when entering a coordinate in the Go To Coordinate dialog box?

A: Either enter a '-' before the degrees or a space and 'W' after the seconds.

Q: Will RainStorm run on Windows 95 or Windows 98?

A: No. Software dependencies dictate that RainStorm will run only on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. It may also run on Windows NT 4.0, but it is not designed to, and this operating system is not supported by Customer Support.

Q: When I attempt to load a stereo pair or view imagery in stereo I get a message that "Stereo is not enabled".

A: This message usually indicates that the graphics card driver is either configured incorrectly or the wrong driver is loaded. Please check our downloads page for the latest drivers.

Q: When trying to register a tape, I get "Error downloading Master Product File."

A: First verify that the path entered in the Tape Drive field in the System Preferences dialog box is correct for the tape drive being used

Secondly, verify that the directory shown in the Products Directory field (in the System Preferences dialog) actually exists on your system.

Finally, verify that there is enough disk space on the hard disk where the data is to be loaded.

Q: Why are the Assisted and Automatic tie point selection methods disabled in the Image Registration dialog?

A: Assisted and Automatic modes are available for corner coordinate images after one manual tie point has been created and are always available for RPC controlled images. Images that contain no geographic control information, such as JPEGs, can only be tied using the Manual mode.

Q: The Automatic tie point selection mode does not generate enough good tie points.

A: For best results, users should install DTED. (Level 0 is included on the RainStorm installation CD in the "Add ons" folder). See DTED Installation for complete installation instruction.

Q: I've selected a number of tie points, but the Accept button is disabled on the Image Registration page.

A: A number of conditions could cause this. Refer to the Image Registration "Goodness of Fit" section in the online help or User Manual. If attempting to register a corner coordinate image, the most likely problem is your tie points do not vary enough in elevation.