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Something completely different for GeoMarketing

a GeoCommunity exclusive

Recently "something completely different" for GeoMarketing quietly appeared on YouTube in the form of a short animated film entitled "OBIA made easy". The video documents the first object-based image analysis (OBIA) experiences of an endearing, silent stickman, and has attracted attention for its refreshing and humorous style.

It isn't until two minutes into the five minute video that you find out that the video comes from Definiens, the company that brought the first object based image analysis software to market almost a decade ago.

To find out more about this intriguing concept, we got together with Todd Douglas Taylor, Senior Marketing Manager for Definiens. Read on to find out what he had to say about Stickman!

Why the concept of a "Stickman"?

Definiens has always stood for innovation. Therefore, it's a natural fit for us to continue to innovate within communications as we have always done within products and technology. We want new audiences to understand the unique nature of our products and our brand.

When launching the Definiens Quickstart trial package, we wanted to provide an introduction that really gets down to the essential essence of what Definiens software can accomplish in a concise, unique, and appealing manner. Our original attempt at accomplishing that was a complete failure. When we briefed our multimedia agency, we discovered that the essential ideas and concepts were "buried" in technical explanations that relatively few people truly understood. We needed to ask ourselves how the material could be explained to those new to OBIA, while remaining engaging to a subject expert.

While redrawing our brief, we held a whiteboard session to compile our ideas. After a few minutes, there were drawings and keywords all over the board, one of which included a stickman and a thought bubble. We decided we didn't really need a concept per se; we just needed to bring to life the simplified version we had already whiteboarded.

From cave painting to kindergarten artwork, stickman is an instantly recognizable symbol for 'everyman'. He works because he is a simple, meaningful image and a metaphor for how computer aided image analysis works best. A stickman is simply a combination of lines and dots which your mind automatically interprets into an object that you understand. Definiens software uses the same basic principle: understanding objects and their relations enables the extraction of intelligence from images.

Will we see more of "Stickman"?

Yes and no. We are planning to enlist the help of "Stickman" to introduce a Definiens Architect Quickstart package in early 2009. Following that he will become a creative element within our eLearning program which we hope to launch later in the year. But overall, he will not become a running series.

But, innovation is not really about re-runs anyway. Stickman is just one of the multimedia pieces hosted within "Definiens EarthTV", which is an online channel designed to reflect the progress and happenings within our community and industry. The channel slogan is "see the big picture" and so I encourage your readers to tune in and find out at

About Definiens

Definiens is the No.1 Enterprise Image Intelligence Company for analyzing and interpreting images on every scale, from microscopic cell structures to satellite images. To find out more about Definiens, please visit their website at

- Published December, 2008

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