We are exhibiting at the 13th South East Asian Survey Congress … Come and see us

SEASC 2015

Visit Microsoft’s UltraCam Group and our partner Imagemaps at our booth #A22  for information on our photogrammetric digital aerial camera systems: the UltraCam Osprey nadir/oblique digital aerial camera, the UltraCam Eagle, the UltraCam Falcon and the UltraCam Hawk along with our UltraNav direct georeferencing and flight management system, the UltraMount 4000 and the remarkable features of our UltraMap v3 software which can now be licensed via a subscription Basis.

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UltraMap v3.9 now available

Are you looking for a state-of-the-art, end-to-end, complete photogrammetric workflow system to process UltraCam data? UltraMap v3.9 comes with exciting new capabilities and features that include an interactive 3D AT workflow for better insight into the aerial triangulation process, and the ability to edit DSMs automatically generated by UltraMap.

UM DSM EditIf you haven’t already seen, take a look at this quick video to see how artifacts are easily removed, building walls are rapidly restored and smoothed. In the second video we show you how 3D visual analytics can now visualize camera trigger Events.

You want to see more? View the recording of our free webinar where our experts show details about the improvements and new features of the workflow, how the software produces data of highest quality and demonstrate the intuitive User Interface.

For more information about UltraMap 3.9, a demo or a trial version, contact your UltraCam representative for your Region.

We are now also offering a flexible UltraMap subscription plan licensing UltraMap modules literally on a monthly basis.

– Silke Kemmer, Microsoft UltraCam Team

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UltraMap Webinar: Learn about the exciting new features of UltraMap 3.9!

UM graphicMicrosoft’s UltraCam team recently introduced an updated version of the UltraMap workflow software system to enable UltraCam customers to produce richer data products, work more efficiently and cost-effectively, and extend their data offerings. UltraMap v3.9 augments Microsoft’s industry leadership in imagery workflow and processing with significant customer-requested updates along with innovative capabilities.

Join UltraMap experts Bernhard Schachinger and Martin Lenz on June 30 for a 45-minute webinar during which they will show you:

  • Details about the improvements and new features of the workflow
  • How the software produces data of the highest quality
  • Demonstration of the intuitive User Interface

Don’t miss this opportunity to get your UltraMap questions answered directly by our experts! Visit www.UltraCamEvents.com to add this webinar to your calendar.

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

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Williams Aerial & Mapping Purchases Microsoft UltraCam Falcon

williams logoIndiana-based Williams Aerial & Mapping, Inc. has just joined the UltraCam Family through the addition of an UltraCam Falcon to its fleet of aerial sensors. At a speedy 1.0 seconds,  the UltraCam Falcon boasts the fastest frame rate of our UltraCam sensors, providing a high forward overlap at rapid airspeeds even at lower altitudes, making the UltraCam Falcon a highly efficient system even if it doesn’t sport the larger image footprint of the UltraCam Eagle. With this in mind, Williams opted for the 100mm focal length lens (rather than the 70mm) to cover a range of mission altitudes. Their package also includes the integrated UltraNav flight management and direct georeferencing system and the recently released UltraMount GSM 4000 gyro-stabilized mount.

Congratulations to Rick, Andy, Jim and the entire team at Williams Aerial & Mapping!

Full press release below.

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

Williams Aerial & Mapping Purchases UltraCam Falcon with UltraNav

Graz, Austria — April 30, 2015 — Williams Aerial & Mapping, Inc., has contracted with Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit and subsidiary to purchase an UltraCam Falcon digital aerial camera system. The package includes the UltraNav GNSS-Inertial Direct Georeferencing + Flight Management System, an integrated unit that consolidates all navigation and flight planning components into the sensor head, and UltraMap workflow software for generating radiometrically corrected and color-balanced Level 3 imager in TIFF or JPEG format.

untitled4“We have direct control in-house of every project from start to finish, so it’s important for us to have the best equipment and software available to do our jobs well,” said Graham Rhodes, Photogrammetry Flight Director at Williams Aerial & Mapping, Inc. “Our purchase of an UltraCam Falcon will enhance our productivity due to the large on-board storage, the rapid image capture rate, and the automated processing capabilities provided by UltraMap.”

Williams intends to use the UltraCam Falcon for engineering, transmission line, and pipeline projects, as well as county and state-wide mapping.

“Adding the UltraCam Falcon to our selection of digital cameras is an exciting opportunity,” said Jim Moffitt, Photogrammetry Manager at Williams Aerial & Mapping, Inc. “The high resolution should be a real boon to our image quality and clarity.”

“Williams is a very experienced mapping firm that serves many types of customers across a broad geographic area,” said Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft Business Director. “The compact size and flexibility of the UltraCam Falcon, along with its advanced image quality, is an excellent camera to meet diverse needs.”

About the UltraCam Falcon

The UltraCam Falcon features include:

  • PAN, color and NIR data captured in one pass
  • Choice between two image footprint sizes (14,430 pixels across or 17,310 pixels across) and two lens focal lengths (the standard 100mm Pan or wide angle 70mm Pan)
  • Solid-state image storage system that holds approximately 7,500 images (with 14,430 pixel footprint) and 5,200 images (with 17,310 pixel footprint)
  • Maximum frame rate <1.0 | 1.35 seconds per frame
  • Panchromatic physical pixel size: 7.2 μm (6.0 μm)
  • Compatible with UltraNav flight management and direct georeferencing system from Applanix

About Microsoft’s UltraCam Business Unit

With its operations based in Graz, Austria, and sales and support teams in North America and Asia, Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit offers more than two decades of photogrammetry expertise. The division is responsible for the highly successful line of UltraCam digital aerial mapping systems that today include the UltraCam Hawk, UltraCam Falcon, and UltraCam Eagle digital photogrammetric sensors, and the UltraCam Osprey nadir/oblique photogrammetric digital aerial sensor. Also offered is the UltraNav Flight Management and Direct Georeferencing system, designed to maximize the efficiency of UltraCam aerial mapping. Rounding out the UltraCam offerings is the fully integrated UltraMap workflow software system.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About Williams Aerial & Mapping, Inc.

Williams Aerial & Mapping, Inc., is a full service photogrammetric mapping and geospatial data firm with a long history of aerial film and digital data acquisition, as well as LiDAR and video collection. Its global operations include an array of cameras and scanners and a large fleet of aircraft with trained crews that are leased to customers around the world. Williams has completed a wide variety of projects for government agencies and private corporations. A team of certified photogrammetrists processes all data in-house. For more information please contact Rick Kosinski at (574) 287-2104 or rkosinski@williamsaerial.com.

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Increasing Demand Leads Bluesky International to Purchase Second UltraCam Eagle

blueskylogoIt appears to be all blue skies for Bluesky International Ltd.

Just a little more than a year ago we reported the purchase of an UltraCam Eagle by the UK based photogrammetric mapping firm. Bluesky International recently made news again, having just purchased a second UltraCam Eagle to meet increasing demand for the company’s aerial imagery services.

(See how that works?  ;-) )

Congratulations to the entire team at Blue Sky International for your continued success and sincere thanks from the UltraCam team for allowing us to help you in that endeavor!

– Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

Bluesky Purchases Second UltraCam Eagle

Graz, Austria — March 26, 2015 — Bluesky International has contracted with Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit and subsidiary to purchase a second UltraCam Eagle digital aerial camera system equipped with a 100mm lens and an UltraMount.

UltraCan Eagle

UltraCam Eagle ultra-large format digital aerial camera system.

The UltraCam Eagle has an exchangeable lens system with 80mm, 100mm, and 210mm options. The integrated modular sensor head, compared to previous UltraCam systems, has a smaller physical form factor that requires less aircraft space, weighs less for more efficient aircraft fuel consumption, and is easier and quicker to install.

“We’ve been very pleased with the performance of our first UltraCam Eagle purchased in January 2014, and now we need to increase our aerial survey capacity to meet increased demand from new contracts, one of them being a commitment to capture 70,000 sq km of high resolution aerial photography in Ireland,” said James Eddy, Operations Director of Bluesky. “For the resolution we require and the air traffic control restrictions, as well as the weather in the UK, the Eagle with a 100mm lens works best for us.”

Bluesky primarily collects national wide area imagery to increase and update its own map datasets, and also conducts large and small area surveys for customers. The company optimizes utilization of its UltraCam Eagles by flying in the UK and Ireland during the spring, summer and fall, and moving to sunnier locations in the Middle East and Africa for the winter.

“The large footprint size and high accuracy fits well with our needs, and the data fits seamlessly into our existing work flow,” said Rachel Tidmarsh, Managing Director of Bluesky. “Flying two Eagles gives us the flexibility to double up on big projects or work two different projects at the same time.”

“Microsoft is pleased to continue our relationship with Bluesky, a globally respected aerial mapping provider,” said Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft Business Director. “The UltraCam Eagle has proven to be an excellent choice to meet all of its wide area mapping needs.”

About the UltraCam Eagle

The third-generation UltraCam Eagle includes the following features:

  • Pan image footprint of 20,010 pixels across the flight strip
  • Enhanced electronics for improved frame rate and less noise (72 dB signal-to-noise ratio for high image dynamic) when compared to previous UltraCam systems
  • Innovative high-resolution, high-performance lenses and state-of-the-art CCD technology (@ 5.2 µm pixel size) for sharp images with a high dynamic range

About Microsoft’s UltraCam Business Unit

With its operations based in Graz, Austria, and sales and support teams in North America and Asia, Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit brings more than two decades of photogrammetry expertise to Microsoft’s Bing Maps business unit. The division is responsible for the highly successful line of UltraCam digital aerial mapping systems that today include the UltraCam Hawk, UltraCam Falcon, and UltraCam Eagle digital photogrammetric sensors, and the UltraCam Osprey nadir/oblique photogrammetric digital aerial sensor. Also offered is the UltraNav Flight Management and Direct Georeferencing system, designed to maximize the efficiency of UltraCam aerial mapping. Rounding out the UltraCam offerings is the fully integrated UltraMap workflow software system, with features that include high-density 3D point cloud creation, highly accurate and detailed digital surface model (DSM) generation, and ortho mosaicing capabilities based on an automatically generated DSM or traditional DSM.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About Bluesky International

Since its inception in 2003, Bluesky has evolved into a leading aerial photographic mapping company pioneering new digital aerial surveying techniques and to that end maintains nationwide aerial photography and height datasets. The company has led the way with thermal heat-loss mapping, produced the first solar power potential maps and completed the only UK National Tree Map. Bluesky is also at the forefront of research into the use of geographic data to support renewable energy production with projects both in the UK and Europe. In addition to the UltraCam Eagle, Bluesky’s resources include an aerial survey system that integrates a photogrammetric survey camera, a LiDAR sensor and a thermal infra-red imaging system. For more information, please go to www.bluesky-world.com or contact Ralph Coleman, Sales Director, by telephone at +01 530 518518 or email Ralph.coleman@bluesky-world.com.

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Microsoft at IGTF 2015

WP_20150506_005Microsoft was out in numbers at the IGTF 2015 conference (ASPRS Annual Conference and co-located JACIE Workshop) in Tampa, Florida. In our exhibit booth we were showing off the Osprey Prime nadir/oblique digital aerial camera and we announced the release of version 3.9 of our UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software.

The North America UltraCam team was joined by several of our colleagues from the Graz, Austria office who brought along a copy of UltraMap 3.9. This software just keeps getting cooler all the time! What I really like about new UltraMap releases is how each responds to requests from our customers for specific features or enhancements. A perfect example of this in UltraMap 3.9 is the capability to edit DSMs UM DSM Editautomatically generated in UltraMap. Watching this demonstrated in our exhibition booth was like watching magic being performed! Artifacts are easily removed, building walls and edges are rapidly restored and smoothed, and then the DSM-based ortho image can be quickly and efficiently reprocessed based on the DSM edits.  Take a look at this quick video.

AT 3DAnother very cool UltraMap 3.9 update is our new AT module. Typically there is nothing terribly exciting about watching an AT demo but UltraMap 3.9 just changed that by introducing Visual Analytics that provide a 3D AT work environment. With this release, users can now better visualize camera trigger events represented by what I am going to call pyramids–which are color coded to identify different flight missions–as well as the correspondence of those trigger events to common tie-points within the mission images, and the health of the linkage between the images. This video says it better than I can.

If you want to learn more about UltraMap 3.9, see a demo or get your hands on a trial version, contact your UltraCam representative for your region. The release is scheduled to be available to customers July 1, 2015 through either purchase or the recently established UltraMap subscription plan.

tom barclayAnother significant happening at the conference is that our Tom Barclay was awarded the ASPRS 2015 Outstanding Technical Achievement Award for his work on the Microsoft TerraServer. Redubbed Microsoft Research Maps in 2010, TerraServer was the precursor to today’s mapping websites (such as Bing Maps) that provide geospatial professionals and the general public with on-line access to traditional maps, satellite, aerial and street-view imagery using common browsers on personal computers and mobile devices. Tom, who has been with Microsoft since 1994 (and pictured here holding his award), was the lead researcher on the project. The Microsoft Bing Maps and UltraCam teams are very proud of Tom for this achievement!

All for now!

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team



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Interview with Slagboom & Peeters

slagboomDutch company Slagboom & Peeters has owned and operated UltraCam systems since it invested in a first generation UltraCam, the UltraCamD, in 2006. Since that time, the company has continued to base its aerial acquisition operations on the UltraCam, adding each new model as it has been released. As a result of its most recent acquisition of an UltraCam Eagle, the company now owns three UltraCam Eagles and two UltraCamXp systems.

In the middle of a busy flying season, Yoeri Slagboom–owner of Slagboom & Peeters–made time for UltraCam marketing manager, Silke Kemmer, to discuss the company’s experience and success with the UltraCam. Transcript of that discussion below.

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

Can you provide some background information on Slagboom & Peeters?

SLAGBOOM: Our company is basically specialized in the aerial acquisition, so we do all the aerial photography with the digital cameras. The company was established in 1961 and when we started with the digital cameras, we were already very active with vertical images and orthophotos based on the analog workflow. And at the moment we are, let’s say, half providing customer with the orthophotos and the other half maybe also for mapping purposes.

Your company has been a long time UltraCam customer, beginning with the UltraCamD. What year did you acquire that system and what drove the purchase?

SLAGBOOM: We bought the first UltraCamD for ourselves in 2006 and one of the reasons was that we knew the camera already from flying it with another customer of yours who owned one of the first UltraCamD cameras beginning in 2005 and they were using our aircraft so we could have a peek at this new technology at the time. I was hoping, to be honest, to skip the first model and go right for the second one, but the pressure from our customer base to move to digital was so great that we were using that first camera and soon we had a requirement to have our own camera system, so we did purchase the UltraCamD. But as soon as the UltraCamX came out, we were in the first group of customers purchasing those as well.

Did you evaluate other digital sensors at that time?

SLAGBOOM: Yes, of course we did look into the other sensors as well from Leica and Zeiss.

Why did you choose the UltraCam?

SLAGBOOM: We felt the technique that Vexcel brought was a better one, especially the line sensor from one of your competitors was not appealing to us and we knew of course from using the UltraCamD that it was giving good results. So we did compare but then we ultimately chose the Vexcel.

Shortly after the first UltraCamD you added a second. Did having a digital sensor open up new opportunities for you?

SLAGBOOM: Well actually the main reason for that was our transition from analog to digital and at that time the footprint of the UltraCamD was actually smaller than what we could shoot with the analog cameras. Therefore you can say you had to replace one analog camera with two digital cameras to have the same capacity. So as we phased out the analog systems, we needed more of the digital ones. This was also the reason we moved quickly to the newer models because of the footprint and the capacity that we needed.

Since the UltraCamD, Slagboom has kept pace with UltraCam product developments, first upgrading to the UltraCamX, then the UltraCamXp, and finally the UltraCam Eagle. Can you tell us about the business decisions that drove this constant upgrading?

SLAGBOOM: What I can say about those upgrades and the fact that we actually never skipped a model—except the smaller models that came out recently—we took all the bigger cameras as soon as they came on the market. The reason for that is two-fold. First, it’s the footprint … we can work more economically. Of course with a bigger footprint you have less flying hours which means savings. Secondly, there is reliability. As the models were getting more mature the newer models were more reliable. Our operation in the Netherlands, I would say, has never been too restricted. If we have a problem with the camera, we can solve it pretty much that day. But we also do quite a lot of work abroad in Africa or Asia, faraway places where we do not have easy access to the internet and technical resources to make a repair and therefore in those projects the reliability of the camera is an important factor. Also we see the same thing for areas which are difficult to access, like near large airports in big cities. It is quite rare that air traffic allows us in those areas and at the time that we are allowed to go in of course we do not want any issues with our camera systems. So reliability is almost the prime factor there.

What differentiates Slagboom from its competition?

SLAGBOOM: It depends, I suppose, to who you will compare us. If I look around at some of the companies I know, I guess we are usually the smaller one but at the same time with more flight capacity. We seem to be large in acquisition. This has to do with the fact that in Holland we have to do our acquisition in a very short time frame, only March and April, because of the leaves that are coming on the trees. So we have a very short season of almost one and a half months with quite a lot of work to be done. Therefore we have this large acquisition capacity and in the summer time we use that capacity to fly for our colleagues around the world. I think that’s where we differentiate a little bit: because our office is quite small, our production capacity for orthophotos is relatively small because we only produce the orthophotos from the data that we acquire in the spring time. And all the summer work is usually processed by our customers in the respective countries. So in that way we are a little bit different than many companies. Another thing might be that we sort of connect to each other … we always target to have the latest technology in use so that we are of interest to other people to hire us. Whenever something new comes out from Vexcel, we are eager to look at it and probably add it to the business.

Is it fair to say that Slagboom finds that staying on the forefront of technology provides the company with a competitive edge?

SLAGBOOM: Yes, certainly.

Slagboom recently purchased a third UltraCam Eagle. What is fueling the success that permits these investments in your capabilities?

SLAGBOOM: The Eagle purchase is an upgrade from the UltraCamXp and as I mentioned earlier the footprint and the reliability are the main factors driving us. The reason we went for the Eagle and not one of the other third generation UltraCam systems is also the fact that it is nice to have a uniformity for our fleet so that we can freely move aircraft from one job to another or deploy several aircraft on one job to get it done. Of course with all the systems being identical we have the best flexibility.

Your first two UltraCam Eagle’s featured the 80mm lens option and with this most recent purchase you opted for the 100mm. Can you tell me about that decision?

SLAGBOOM: When we first purchased the first Eagle the 100mm was not available yet so we had to take the 80mm. Later when the 100mm became available, we looked at which one we really like better. The 80mm has the advantage that it is maybe for a piston aircraft because you fly a little bit lower for the same resolution and this can be an advantage. But in our case, we now have the Eagle 100mm systems in turbine aircraft and one jet aircraft so the flying altitude with regard to aircraft is not really a factor anymore. So then we went for one uniform system with the same focal length.

Do you imagine there might come a time when you would need the 210mm lens?

SLAGBOOM: Yes, I can imagine this might happen. We see more and more difficulty in areas with large airports and there the 210mm might be a solution, so I do think we might move that way one day.

How important is it to you then that the Eagle offers the flexibility of the three different lens configurations?

SLAGBOOM: Well, to change between a 100mm and 210mm lens could be of use. In our case, though, I think we will always try to have enough opportunity to sustain a full camera and not change the lens. If we go for the 210mm lens option, it will be included as part of a complete system and then we deploy it as a dedicated 210mm unit on a suitable project.

How does the Microsoft pace of innovation impact your business?

SLAGBOOM: Well, in a good way, of course. It is very important for us that our supplier is on the forefront as well, if we want to be there. So we look at all the possible techniques that are presented by Microsoft and certainly not all of them fit our business model, but we definitely appreciate the activity from your end in that aspect.

You are not yet using the complete UltraMap workflow. Are there any plans from Slagboom to acquire the whole workflow and is the new Licensing Model of interest for you?

SLAGBOOM: The subscription model could be of interest if we have a lot of work in a certain period and we know this is going to cease later, so we have just a short period of capacity needed. But in general we will most likely always own the licenses as we do now, so we would probably buy them and use them enough to sustain them. But it can be also maybe an advantage to test certain new technologies if you come out with a new software to just run it on a few projects and learn how the results are. We do indeed not operate the orthophotos pipeline at the moment but there are no plans to proceed in that direction at the moment.


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