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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Advance Aviation Group/Trans Wonderland: I Fly UltraCam!

If you have followed our “I Fly UltraCam” series of video and written case studies, you have witnessed that the UltraCam has a worldwide presence. Our journeys have taken us to the USA, France, China, Brazil, Kenya and now Australia where we visited Alec Mercer, CEO of Advance Aviation Group Pty Ltd. (AAG), and Ripen Sarepo, CEO of Trans Wonderland Ltd., a trucking company based in Papua New Guinea. The two organizations have partnered to bring the benefits of aerial surveying to the Papua New Guinea region and are the subject of the 6th installment in our “I Fly UltraCam” series.

Besides the location, what sets this most recent case study apart from the previous ones is that it features the UltraCam Eagle which AAG acquired with both the 210mm and 80mm focal length lens kits. With some projects requiring flying at very high altitudes and others very low, AAG needed one flexible and versatile camera system that could do both. They found the UltraCam Eagle to be just that system.

IMG_0671“Flexibility of the lens-changing ability has shown itself to be very, very useful to us in a project that we’re doing right at the moment,” Alec Mercer told us. “The client has specified particular resolutions for what he wants and some of that is at, at 25,000 feet and others are at six or eight thousand feet. To achieve those we need to have the two different lenses. So, basically what will happen is we will fly the high altitude 210mm lens, return, change the lenses, go back and fly the low altitude 80mm lens. And we can achieve that effectively.”

What advice would Mercer share with his peers in the industry looking to get into aerial surveying?

“It’s not something you just make a decision about overnight, because it’s an expensive industry to get into. My first advice would be to buy the leading technology that you can possibly get your hands on. And that technology today is, is the UltraCam Eagle. It’s upgradeable, it’s highly efficient, and price-wise, you pay for what you get. By buying theAlecMercer_lo-res-rgb3000x2000 UltraCam, we’ve put ourselves at the forefront of the technology and that has enabled us to then go to clients and say to them ‘we can offer you this; we can offer you a product that the competitors cannot offer you.'”

For more information, watch  the very entertaining video and then read the written case study.

G’day, mate!

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

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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 to add this webinar to your calendar.

-Jerry Skaw, Microsoft UltraCam Team

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