The Microsoft UltraCam team prides itself on our pace of innovation. Between 2004 and 2011 we introduced three generations of UltraCam large format digital aerial photogrammetric systems that include:
- the original UltraCamD
- the UltraCamX
- the UltraCamXp
- the UltraCamXp Wide Angle
- the UltraCamLp
- and the UltraCam Eagle
The UltraCam Eagle introduced the third generation UltraCam architecture that also underpins the UltraCam Falcon, UltraCam Hawk and UltraCam Osprey oblique/nadir system, systems that were all brought to market between October 2012 and October 2013. The rate at which we have released new versions of our UltraMap photogrammetric software is equally impressive but for the sake of brevity, I will just note that the software was first released in 2010 and today consists of a complete, end-to-end photogrammetric workflow system that ingests UltraCam data and produces data products all the way to the point of point clouds, DSMs and orthomosaics.
Yet despite all this innovation, it is not obsolescence that drives UltraCam customers to invest in new UltraCam systems. In fact, many customers who purchased the original UltraCamD continue to use these systems as the workhorse of their aerial data acquisition projects. Because of the long life expectancy of UltraCam systems, it is when the productivity needs of UltraCam operators change that they then move to newer UltraCam systems with bigger footprints. Case in point: GeoAir, based in based in Cuernavaca, Mexico.
GeoAir has operated the UltraCamD since 2008. Their two UltraCamD systems continue to serve GeoAir well even today but as GeoAir General Director Wolfgang Kost is quoted in the announcement below, the company’s project collection requirements have grown to a few thousand kilometers. This presents the need for an UltraCam with a larger footprint than is provided by their UltraCamD systems and so GeoAir has recently added and UltraCam Falcon in its larger configuration (17,310 pixels across the flight path) to their fleet of camera systems. Meanwhile, their growing business needs have also recently included oblique data collection for which they use an UltraCam Osprey. This illustrates an aspect about the UltraCam line-up that I love: a full range of camera systems to meet an organization’s specific project and budget needs; and with the third generation architecture, an upgrade path that allows systems to be updated through refurbishment. So perhaps I will someday be reporting that GeoAir has upgraded their UltraCam Falcon to an UltraCam Eagle. But don’t be surprised if at that time they are also still operating their UltraCamD systems! 😉
Full announcement below.
– Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team
GeoAir Adds UltraCam Falcon to Aerial Resources in Mexico
Graz, Austria — May 14, 2014 — GeoAir has contracted with Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit and subsidiary to purchase an UltraCam Falcondigital aerial camera system and UltraMap workflow software to handle large volumes of data efficiently.
GeoAir operates throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, primarily on medium-size corridor and cadastre projects for government entities and large private mining companies. GeoAir selected the 100mm lens and the 17,310 pixels across footprint for its UltraCam Falcon configuration to facilitate rapid data acquisition at high altitudes. In heavily congested airspaces like Mexico City, a higher flying altitude is a great advantage, and project delivery time can be improved by avoiding air traffic issues.
“We decided to purchase an UltraCam Falcon to augment our present equipment with a camera that better matches our project collection requirements, which typically are up to a few thousand square kilometers,” said Wolfgang Kost, General Director at GeoAir.“The UltraCam Falcon, positioned between the UltraCam Hawk and the ultra-large UltraCam Eagle in regards to image footprint and price, fit our needs quite well.”
“In addition to operating our two UltraCamD models and the new UltraCam Falcon, we are currently completing a 3D modeling project in Mexico City with an UltraCam Osprey, a versatile digital camera with nadir and oblique capture capabilities,” continued Kost. “Our high level of satisfaction with the UltraCam product line is a key factor in our purchasing decisions.”
“GeoAir has been a valuable partner to Microsoft in the Latin American region since purchasing its first UltraCamD in 2008,” said Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft Business Director. “GeoAir has experienced impressive growth over the years, which will be further supported by the technology built into the UltraCam Falcon.”
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)
- Choice between two lens focal lengths (the standard 100mm Pan or wide angle 70mm Pan)
- Integrated unit that contains all components in the sensor head
- 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)
- 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 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 traditionalDSM.
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Founded in 1994 and based in Cuernavaca, Mexico, GeoAir operates its own fleet of aircraft to collect aerial imagery with photogrammetric digital cameras and a LiDAR scanner. GeoAir was an early adopter of digital aerial technology and has been responsible for mapping all of the major cities in Mexico, as well as the multi-year project to extend the Panama Canal and other projects in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information about the company, go to http://www.geoair.net/or contact Wolfgang Kost at +52 777.365.0572 or firstname.lastname@example.org.