Early last month (September 2013), the UltraCam team marked the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the birth of the UltraCam large format digital aerial camera system with a gala dinner event held at the Alte Universität Graz in Graz, Austria, home of the UltraCam. The more than 200 attendees included the Vexcel Imaging GmbH team from Graz along with representatives from manufacturing partners WILD, DALSA, Seidel, Qioptiqs, Somag and Applanix, and customers and sales partners from all over the globe attending the UltraCam International Sales Partner & Customer Meetings that took place in Graz that same week.
The evening was emceed by UltraCam business director, Alexander Wiechert and featured inspiring personal reflections and visions of things to come from Alexander as well as honorary guests that included Microsoft chief technology officer, Stephen Lawler, whose purview within Microsoft includes the UltraCam business, Franz Leberl, who launched Vexcel Imaging and brought the UltraCam to the aerial mapping and surveying market in 2003, and representatives from our manufacturing partners.
The first UltraCam model–the UltraCamD–made its first public appearance at the ISPRS Congress in Istanbul in 2004. Its primary, patented design innovations reflected a focus on both geometric fidelity and operability. It combined rigorous and well-proven principles of photogrammetry with an innovative design of electronic, optics, and data processing. The system was well received and roughly 46 UltraCam systems had been installed by 2006. Following the UltraCamD, the product line progressed with the introduction of the UltraCamX in 2006, and the UltraCamXp in 2008 with the primary enhancement to both being increased image footprint. On the heels of the UltraCamXp came the UltraCamXp Wide Angle in 2009 for low altitude data captures and the UltraCamLp, a more compact system that features a smaller image footprint making it ideal for smaller aircraft and local projects that require a rapid response. In the last couple of years, the UltraCam team has rolled out its flagship product, the ultra-large (20,010 cross-track pixels) UltraCam Eagle, the UltraCam Falcon, and the UltraCam Osprey, all based on third-generation UltraCam architecture technology that delivers numerous enhancements including (but not limited to) inflight exchangeable solid state storage devices, modular housing for full system component integration into the sensor head, and new electronics. Meanwhile, the UltraCam Osprey combines a high-performing photogrammetric nadir camera with oblique capture capability, offering a more versatile dataset than other oblique systems on the market today. The number of UltraCam systems sold today is close to 300!
And these days we can’t talk about the UltraCam success in innovation without talking about the software: the UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software that in addition to featuring modules for generation of radiometrically corrected and color-balanced imagery from UltraCam data and aerial triangulation, these days allows UltraCam customers to generate high-density point clouds, digital surface models and orthophotos (DSM and DTM based).
This is a lot of innovation in a short amount of time so we had a lot to celebrate at our gala event! Of course no dinner is complete without dessert and WILD served up a specially manufactured cake that captured the spirit of the evening–the “UltraCake”, as it was dubbed. Following dinner, the party moved to the dance floor where we were treated to live music. The event was a great celebration! As one UltraCam customer wrote, following the event:
“Thanks for the opportunity to participate in Ultracam’s 10th birthday celebrations! Your hospitality was fantastic and the whole event was really well done. It was great to be there in person and to reflect on the many achievements of Ultracam and its customers over the last 10 years; it is a tribute to everyone’s hard work and enthusiasm. But the future looks even better!”
Be on the lookout for more photos taken from the evening at the UltraCam Facebook page.
– Jerry Skaw, Sales & Marketing, Microsoft UltraCam Team