Geo Week News

June 3, 2011

The maturing mobile scanning marketplace

It is with some regret that I wasn’t able to attend the Optech Innovative Lidar Solutions Conference this week in Toronto. Not only did the company make some major announcements, but it’s clear that the mobile scanning and mapping market is developing quickly and I do think that Optech is helping to lead that charge.

So, to make up for not being there, here’s a collection of things that can help you figure out what happened at the event:

1. Product announcements

• Maybe the coolest thing Optech announced this week was its shallow water mapping solution, appropriately called Aquarius

The new ALTM Aquarius provides simultaneous terrestrial and water depth measurement capability, enabling the collection of data sets that span the entire land-water interface to depths in excess of 10 meters. Available as a simple sensor head addition to the ALTM Gemini product line, or as a complete survey solution on its own, Aquarius offers a new capability to traditional airborne surveyors looking to add further value to their map product deliverables while maintaining their existing ALTM planning and processing workflows. 

Gemini, Aquarius – those Canadians do like their astrological references – but it seems pretty clear that, with the added focus lately on wetlands conservation and shore erosion mitigation, this could be a useful product for surveyors. 

• The company also announced this week the release of a new Waveform Digitizer, the IWD-2, which should allow, the company says, for more intelligence to be recorded. 

2. Coverage from other folks

• PoB has some nice coverage of the Optech event, including a video interview with Optech head Don Carswell, that’s definitely worth checking out. 

• Gene Roe is at the show and has some coverage of what’s been happening on day 1 and 2, including a write-up of HNTB’s keynote.

3. What Optech is looking for in terms of “innovation”

• I had a chance to interview Brent Gelhar and Daina Morgan while at SPAR International back in March, and this seems as good a time as any to post the video. Essentially, Optech agrees that the mobile scanning marketplace is beginning to mature and is looking for software, both from outside companies and its internal software development, to help customers process the huge amount of data that these mobile mapping systems are creating. 

Gelhar makes a good point about “mobile mapping”: It needs to be data rich and provide survey-grade data, not just pretty pictures. As the market moves forward, it will be incumbent that service providers give the end users of the data the tools they need to extract more and more information from that data in timely fashion. They need to make it easy in order for them to tell their friends how much value they’re getting from it.


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