NICB/Vexcel Imaging Coalition Responds to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Post-Harvey flooding in Richmond, Texas

In partnership with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Vexcel Imaging has been leading a coalition of geospatial firms to make available through a web-based geospatial application, high-resolution aerial imagery of critical areas of southern Texas and areas in Florida impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The coalition’s efforts are in response to flooding and damage caused by the hurricanes, torrential rains, flooding and destructive winds and are assisting first responders, humanitarian organizations, federal and state agencies, and insurers by providing them with high-resolution imagery that is providing actionable insight into the situation on the ground.

Aerial mapping firms that include The Sanborn Map Company, Keystone Aerial Surveys, Quantum Spatial, and GPI Geospatial have mobilized aircraft equipped with high-resolution UltraCam nadir and nadir/oblique systems. Vexcel and the aerial mapping companies have coordinated the collection of dozens of AOI (areas of interest), and received priority access to fly these areas as weather conditions have allowed. Following collection, the aerial mapping firms are rapidly processing the large volumes of collected data using Vexcel’s UltraMap workflow software to produce and upload the geo-referenced imagery the day after acquisition. An additional and key member of the coalition is the global leader of GIS software, ESRI, who is providing a custom, web-based ArcGIS application to allow high-priority users to view the imagery through a web browser on any desktop PC, tablet or mobile device. The web application allows for searching by address or point of interest, taking accurate measurements, viewing side-by-side imagery (before/after), and viewing oblique along with corresponding ortho imagery. The web app also enables viewing additional information (public and private) layered on top of the imagery.

The NICB shared a write-up and video on their blog that can be seen here and has shared links to the web application where visitors can use a slider to explore pre- and post-event imagery for both Harvey and Irma.

-Jerry Skaw, Vexcel Imaging




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Announcing the New UltraCam Panther Portable Mapping System

Graz, Austria — May 24, 2017 — Vexcel Imaging is announcing the new UltraCam Panther, a versatile portable platform that carries complementary sensors to capture full-spherical imagery and video, dense 3D LiDAR point clouds and precise trajectory information in both indoor and outdoor environments.

The UltraCam Panther’s panoramic head holds 26 cameras to capture very high-resolution still imagery or video with a 360-degree field of view. A multi-beam rotating LiDAR sensor simultaneously collects precise 3D data. A visual odometry sensor offers a custom-built software solution that delivers uninterrupted accurate trajectory data in challenging environments where no GNSS signals are present.

The platform’s modular design allows the system to be equipped with sensors offering differing capabilities to accommodate each customer’s needs. All sensors are synchronized and time-stamped, resulting in precise registration between the LiDAR data and imagery.

“As a portable 3D mapping and reality capture system, the UltraCam Panther is suitable for indoor, outdoor and underground use,” said Alexander Wiechert, CEO of Vexcel Imaging. “It offers outstanding flexibility for mapping and virtual reality applications through its technical performance in the areas of image quality, video performance, accuracy and ease of use.”

A variety of customers have expressed an interest in the UltraCam Panther, with possible applications including insurance, cultural heritage, construction, tourism, engineering, virtual experiences and indoor building information modeling (BIM).

“Vexcel Imaging focuses on producing top quality products that meet the diverse needs of our markets around the world,” said Wiechert. “In this case, the ability to collect very high-resolution photogrammetric-grade images and video, georeferenced with dense LiDAR point clouds, makes the UltraCam Panther a distinctive mobile mapping platform.”

About the UltraCam Panther

The UltraCam Panther features include:
• Full panoramic coverage with imagery, video and LIDAR data
• Precisely georeferenced data products independent of GNSS reception
• Dense 3D point clouds from multi-beam LiDAR
• Geometrically calibrated and time synchronized sensor rig
• Modular concept allows customization to meet varying needs
• Portable and ruggedized design for use in a wide range of Environments

– The Team at Vexcel Imaging

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Sabah Lands & Surveys Dept.: I Fly UltraCam!

Our most recent video shoot for the “I Fly UltraCam” customer testimonial video series took us to Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. There we visited with Mr. Robert Cheng, Senior Director of the Sabah Lands & Surveys Department who told us about the agency’s 5-year quest to acquire an aerial camera system that finally concluded with the decision to purchase an UltraCam Osprey nadir/oblique system from Vexcel Imaging. In the video, Cheng explains their reasons for purchasing the Osprey and why he can now boast “I fly UltraCam!”

Check out the video with the informative interviews as well as fantastic footage of the island.

Congratulations to Mr. Cheng and the entire team at Sabah Lands & Surveys Department. Welcome to the UltraCam Family!

-Jerry Skaw, Vexcel Imaging

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Recorded Webinar: UltraCam Product Updates

If you missed our March webinar update on our newest aerial and terrestrial sensors, you can still view the webinar, recorded in its entirety, here.

The 50-minute recording features presentations from our experts in Graz, Austria, about our UltraCam Condor wide aerial mapping aerial sensor, UltraCam Mustang mobile mapping system, as well as live demos of our UltraMap processing suite (in support of the Condor) and the Orbit GT mobile mapping software.

50 minutes well spent. Have a look.

-The Team at Vexcel Imaging

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Vexcel Imaging at Intergeo 2016

intergeo-2016-boothVexcel Imaging GmbH team is in Hamburg, Germany this week and ready for the doors to open on the Intergeo 2016 conference. As you can see from the photo, the booth is open, workstations are in place and products are staged. If you are at Intergeo, be sure to stop by and see us at booth #E4.024 in Hall 4 for a chance to learn about our latest innovations including:

While in the booth, be sure to ask us:

  • About the new naming and color scheme for our leading selling UltraCam aerial camera systems
  • About our recent partnership with Orbit GT to offer UltraCam customers oblique, mobile, and indoor mapping software products

Additionally, don’t miss our Engelbert Breg–Vexcel Imaging Sales Director for EMEA & LatAm–presenting on all our solutions at the Forum, 11:30 Thursday.

Full Intergeo report can be found online.  Have a great conference!

–The Team at Vexcel Imaging

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Vexcel Imaging NEW Web Site

VI logoAs recently shared here on the UltraCam Blog, Vexcel Imaging GmbH changed ownership in March 2016 and is once again an independent company under the newly formed Vexcel Holdings. With this, we have established a new corporate identity with new branding AND now a completely overhauled website!

The new site sports a new and fresh design, is straightforward with an intuitive structure that quickly guides you to the information you need. From our versatile product portfolio to information about our company, sample imagery and videos, the web site offers everything you need to come up to speed on the company and our offerings. Any information that is not found on the web site can be requested by contacting us using the menu options at the very top right of the page: Contact Us, Sales, and Support.

The URL for the web site is  Go check it out!

VI Web Site– The Team at Vexcel Imaging


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UltraCam Condor Announced at IGTF/ASPRS 2016

Condor SM

From the IGTF/ASPRS 2016 conference in Fort Worth, Texas, Vexcel Imaging last week introduced a new camera model: the UltraCam Condor. Designed for high-altitude mapping, the UltraCam Condor frame combines a high-resolution RGB image at 37,800 x 5,200 pixel with a lower resolution PAN data capture for automated DSMOrtho and DTMOrtho image generation that is consistently sharp, geometrically accurate and of superior radiometry. Its expansive footprint, along with the camera’s fast frame rate, allows capture of large regions – even continents – in record-time. This all-in-one system is complemented by a NIR channel, making the UltraCam Condor an ideal solution for agriculture, forestry and land management applications. The system will be available in fall 2016.

UltraCam Condor key benefits are:

  • 37,800 pixel swath width allow for wide flight lines such as 3.7km @ 10 cm GSD or 9 kilometer @ 25 cm GSD, providing greater coverage in shorter time.
  • Well-balanced field of view of ±41 degree for utmost productivity and full use of the swath width.
  • High-resolution RGB, panchromatic and NIR data all in a single pass.
  • Full resolution in the RGB channel. No pansharpening necessary for high-resolution color imagery.
  • Fast frame rate and mission envelope, along with forward motion compensation through time-delay-integration, allow operation at high aircraft speeds and in jets – rapid collection minimizes mission time and costs.
  • Stable geometry and greater independence from GPS/INS accuracy is ensured by a frame sensor.
  • To eliminate atmospheric effects typical of high-altitude mapping, an uncompressed 14-bit RAW RGB image format and full 16 bit processing workflow allows artifact-free, automated color correction during UltraMap post-processing.
  • For maximum efficiency and productivity, the complete and fully integrated UltraMap workflow solution supports unlimited project sizes.

“The UltraCam Condor is our response to the growing demand for higher productivity and efficiency in collection of vast areas at rapid flight speeds”, says Alexander Wiechert, CEO of Vexcel Imaging GmbH. “Essentially an ortho-machine, the UltraCam Condor allows customers to fly higher, farther, and faster without making compromises in data quality.”

For more information, please contact

-The Team at Vexcel Imaging

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The NEW Vexcel Imaging

VI logoBy now most everyone in the aerial surveying and photogrammetry community has likely heard that the Vexcel Imaging UltraCam business is no longer a Microsoft subsidiary. And you may be wondering “what does this mean?”  Well, for starters, we have a really cool new company logo as seen here. And we are hard at work rebranding and reworking our marketing materials, web site and social media pages. Our cameras will even get a new look. A lot of work right now but it all feels pretty good. After roughly ten very good years as a Microsoft subsidiary, we are once again an independent company, as of March 11, 2016.

To purchase Vexcel Imaging GmbH back from Microsoft, a Vexcel Holdings company was formed by four managing partners: Erik Jorgensen, former Microsoft Corp. Vice President; Stephen Lawler former BING CTO; Martin Ponticelli, CTO of Vexcel Imaging, and Alexander Wiechert, CEO of Vexcel Imaging. These four individuals literally own Vexcel Imaging. To better serve the North American market, a Vexcel Imaging US, Inc. has been established as a subsidiary to Vexcel Imaging GmbH.

Other than this, and how you will contact us, very little has changed. The newly founded Vexcel Holding is just a legal entity for the share purchase. All the operative business stays within the well-known Vexcel Imaging GmbH. The internal organization of Vexcel Imaging has not changed–we continue to have three units: Operations (led by Alexander Wiechert), Development (led by Martin Ponticelli) and Application (led by Michael Gruber). The business scope remains unchanged with a strong commitment to outstanding UltraCam and UltraMap products for aerial and terrestrial markets and applications.

But there is this: we now have more control over our destiny.

The Microsoft years were undeniably a great ride. Microsoft brought great value to the UltraCam program and together, Microsoft and Vexcel Imaging created amazing developments for Virtual Earth and Bing Maps. But “no man can serve two masters,” as the saying goes. Well, we did a pretty good job, actually. But we had to divide our development resources between our commercial customers and our large internal customer who had requirements of a rather ambitious mapping program. As an independent company, we can now refocus our teams fully on taking care of the needs of commercial markets. We can be more nimble and we can act more quickly.

We leave Microsoft with broad IP licensing rights and have a very aggressive roadmap that includes new aerial and terrestrial sensors and new releases of our UltraMap software with powerful features and capabilities. A brand new UltraCam aerial sensor is being announced already this week at the ASPRS 2016 Annual Conference in Ft.Worth, Texas. If you attend the conference, be sure to stop by and see us on the exhibit floor.

The best endings are those that lead to new beginnings. As we close one chapter, the pen is inked up and we are already writing the next. It’s going to be another great ride!

-Jerry Skaw, Vexcel Imaging UltraCam Team



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Bluesky makes news with UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software

Bluesky 5cm aerial image of CoventryMicrosoft UltraCam customer Bluesky International is in the news again, this time for 75% efficiency gains in its production of terrabytes of data captured with the company’s UltraCam Eagle systems and processed using Microsoft’s UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software. Additionally, Bluesky has  improved the quality of its aerial images, reducing building lean and image distortion, and the accuracy of its digital height models.

UltraMap is a state-of-the-art, end-to-end, complete photogrammetric workflow system that provides highly automated processing capabilities to allow organizations to rapidly generate quality data products from an UltraCam flight. UltraMap is designed to process huge amounts of UltraCam data in the shortest possible time with the highest degree of automatization, supported by guided manual interaction, quality control tools and powerful visualization.

A modular system, UltraMap generates data products that include:

  • Radiometrically-corrected, color-balanced Level 3 images
  • Image-based, high-density (>300 pts per sq meter) point clouds
  • Digital surface models
  • True and traditional orthophotos.

The latest UltraMap release, version 4.0, features numerous enhancements for increased efficiency and reduced production costs of nadir UltraCam data, as well as improvements for enhanced image quality of nadir and oblique data captured by the UltraCam Osprey series of nadir/oblique digital aerial sensors.

Read the full Bluesky article.

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

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UltraCam at the 2015 Intergeo Conference in Stuttgart

Intergeo TeamThe UltraCam team is out in numbers at the Intergeo 2015 Conference in Stuttgart, Germany. Like most years, we are introducing new product but this year we are announcing THREE new UltraCam camera systems and an updated version of our UltraMap workflow software!

Building on the success of the UltraCam Eagle ultra-large format digital aerial camera system introduced in 2011, we are announcing the UltraCam Eagle Prime that features several enhancements from the UltraCam Eagle:

• Increased PAN frame image footprint of more than 23,000 pixels across the flight strip.
• Maintained maximum frame rate of 1.8s with bigger footprint.
• Expanded storage capacity to 8TB.
• Reduced weight and power consumption.

intergeo handshakeAt the same time, we are adding a 120mm focal length lens to the list of optional interchangeable lens kits available for both the UltraCam Eagle and UltraCam Eagle Prime which already includes 80mm, 100mm and 210mm kits. This extended range of focal lengths allows the UltraCam Eagle to serve as a flexible single system “workhorse”  to efficiently serve a wide range of aerial data acquisition applications.  It is not taking the market long to react: with the announcement of the UltraCam Eagle Prime we are also announcing three “launching” customers: Aerometrex (Australia), Terra Messflug GmbH(Austria) and Topocart (Brazil).

Osprey Prime IINext, we are also announcing two new models of the UltraCam Osprey vertical/oblique digital aerial sensor: the UltraCam Osprey Prime II, with an even bigger footprint in both the vertical and oblique modes than the Osprey Prime, and the UltraCam Osprey Lite, an entry-level UltraCam nadir/oblique system. Key features for these systems:

Osprey Prime II

  • Higher nadir and oblique collection efficiencies through:
  • Increased PAN nadir image size of 13,470 x 8,670 pixels
  • Increased RGB oblique image size of 10,300 x 7,700 pixels
  • Flexibility through collecting photogrammetry-grade nadir images and oblique images simultaneously with subpixel accuracy and high dynamic range equivalent to other UltraCam cameras

Osprey Prime Lite

  • Five RGB Bayer patter 80MP pixel cones for nadir and oblique image collection
  • Optional nadir NIR cone for classification
  • Entry level oblique camera system
  • Seamless UltraMap processing workflow
  • Upgradeable to UltraCam Osprey Prime II

This brings us to the announcement and introduction of UltraMap 4.0. I am particularly excited about this update because of the tech preview ability to generate 3D city models, a long awaited algorithm that was developed for Microsoft’s Bing Maps.

Other key features:

  • Exceptional quality level of data products through:
  • Novel oblique and nadir color balance.
  • Increased radiometric quality based on the de-hazing module.
  • Flexible radiometric adjustments through interactive user guidance.
  • Increased efficiencies and minimized production costs through:
    • Virtually unlimited project size support (tested up to 50k trigger events) throughout the whole aerial workflow.
    • Full integration of Visual Analytics into the UltraMap Aerial Triangulation module.

Our development team has been at work!  If you are at the conference, look for us in booth #F4.080. You won’t want to miss this opportunity to see the latest coming from our team.

– Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

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