It was standing room only at the 2012 UltraCam User Group Meeting – North America on January 26 & 27 at the Bing Imagery Technologies offices, where the UltraCam team was joined by representatives from over 20 organizations based in the US and Canada.
The meetings were kicked off on the first day by Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft Business Director providing a business update that spoke to the product portfolio and market share, and later a presentation on the new features of UltraMap 3.0 . Following Alexander, our Chief Scientist, Dr, Michael Gruber, presented on the UltraCam family of photogrammetric digital aerial camera systems, sharing a technical overview for each as well as an explanation of UltraCam theory of operation and workflow, and an explanation of the calibration procedure. Michael also went deep into technology advances of the UltraCam Eagle including the new Camera Operation Software (COS) and shared some great sample imagery captured with the Eagle.
It’s hard to talk about the UltraCam Eagle without also talking about the new UltraNav Flight Management and Direct Georeferencing system developed in partnership with Applanix. Joe Hutton, Applanix Director, provided a great presentation on the system along with the complete line of Applanix airborne products. During the presentation Joe shared some pretty exciting news about a new Maintenance & Support plan that will provide Applanix and UltraCam customers with impressive upgrade capabilities. Details to come so keep an eye on the UltraCam Blog.
Other Microsoft presentations included a marketing update by yours truly and an update on the UltraCam Implementation & Support operations presented by Carl Smith, our field service manager for North America, that included a video of the calibration procedure that was created by Nathan Conwell, UltraCam support engineer in Boulder. Check it out:
Later in the day, attendees visited the Boulder Support & Calibration lab for a firsthand glimpse of the facilities and an overview of day-to-day operations including camera calibration.
Other presentations on Day One of the meetings included customer presentations. Paul Hamilton-Rivers, COO for Geospatial Professional Solutions, Inc. provided an overview of his organization, spoke about the challenges of the company’s film-based operations before purchasing the UltraCamLp, the decisions behind the company’s decision to go decision and specifically why the UltraCamLp, and shared performance results. Paul also shared details on GPSI’s UltraCamLp setup and some stunning images captured with their UltraCamLp. Just a few key takeaways from Paul’s presentation includes that the UCLp has allowd GPSI to accomplish projects in just 1-2 weeks that normally require 3 weeks, the imagery has exceeded his clients expectations for quality and accuracy, and weather is no longer as much of an issue.
Neil DiFranco, Sr. Program Manager for Keystone Aerial Surveys, Inc., presented on his company’s experience with UltraCam systems that now includes the recently installed UltraCam Eagle, and their refined workflow based on UltraMap. During his presentation, Neil provided a comparison between UltraCamX/Xp systems and the UltraCam Eagle, discussing differences in installation, computing and storage systems, weight and balance, and coverage for accuracy as well as for orthos. Neil shared some crisp, detailed imagery captured with the Eagle during recent test flights and a video that Keystone created effectively announcing their addition of the Eagle. Love how excited they are over their new Eagle!
On Day Two, Friday, attendees were treated to workshops that provided deep-dive looks at the UltraCam cameras, UltraMap and UltraNav. Of course the star of the show was the UltraCam Eagle on loan from Keystone to allow their fellow UltraCam users a look under the hood of the new flagship UltraCam system. [Shout out to our friends at Keystone for making this possible!!] It seemed that attendees were unanimously impressed and in agreement that our development efforts to augment UltraCam efficiency, reliability, and versatility are evident with the Eagle.
Over lunch we were treated to an impromptu presentation from George Tatalovich from Kucera International. Kucera has recently worked a project in Poland and George told of their crossing the Atlantic in their Piper Navaho and shared pictures. Looked pretty exciting (and maybe just a little scary). Thanks to George for providing us with a great story and entertaining us over lunch!
We wrapped up the day with a tour of the Bing Imagery Technologies (BITs) offices and dinner. From the feedback we have received, the event was well-received and proved to be of value to our attending customers. Better put from one attendee:
“I wanted to let you know that we enjoyed the conference immensely. Your group out there is the most professional, friendly and knowledgeable I have ever been associated with . We were treated with the utmost regard and want to say thank you. I think you have a really great product which I said before and that is foremost your people. People are the beginning of the whole process and you guys are the best.
The timing of the meeting was great too. I was able to get a great day of skiing on Saturday before heading home. No broken bones!
I can’t wait to do it again and hopefully we can get more people out there. We have so much to learn from you and all of our associates.
The window of opportunity to expand our sensors will happen sooner or later and we look forward to making it another ULTRACAM.
Please let everyone know how grateful [we] are for everything.”
That about says it all. All I can add to that is if you didn’t make it this year, definitely plan to be at next year’s event! Meanwhile you can find pictures of the 2012 North America UltraCam User Group Meeting on our Facebook page.
– Jerry Skaw, Sales & Marketing, Microsoft UltraCam Team