June 27, 2006

Optech Update

Darling Environmental buys ILRIS-36D

Darling Environmental & Surveying, Ltd. (DES; Tucson, AZ) purchased an ILRIS-36D laser scanner from Optech after seeing a demonstration at SPAR 2006, according to Richard Darling, president of DES. Darling was impressed by ILRIS-36D’s accurate data, long-range capabilities, and reduced noise levels in short-range data. DES took delivery on April 20 and is using the scanner in civil infrastructure surveys, drainage modeling, city modeling and urban planning, roadway/bridge measurement and modeling, topographical mapping, archaeology and cultural heritage documentation, crime scene documentation and structural/facilities as-built representation. Due especially to its long dynamic range, ILRIS-36D is a good complement to DES’s existing Riegl LMS-Z360 laser scanner, according to Mark Chapman, 3D laser scanning manager. DES provides environmental consulting, surveying, civil engineering, mining, geological and technical support services to municipalities, utilities, land developers, mining companies and agriculture industries. Chapman reports the company has executed close to 200 laser scanning projects to date. 

Terrapoint buys ALTM 3100EA

Terrapoint Canada Inc. (Ottawa, ON) took delivery of an ALTM 3100EA Airborne Laser Mapping System from Optech. Terrapoint had previously operated an ALTM model 1025 in a joint venture with another Canadian mapping firm, and subsequently developed and manufactured its own systems. In its first-quarter 2006 financial report, Terrapoint’s parent company, Pulse Data Inc. (TSX: PSD), indicates this is a step toward buying rather than making high-range lidar equipment going forward, now that a viable commercial choice exists. According to the Pulse Data financial release, the ALTM 3100EA “was put into operation in mid-April and as a result of the operational efficiency presented by this new system we have made the decision to no longer maintain or repair four older high-range systems during 2006 and lay off the engineering staff associated with its development.” The company says this strategy “will increase production, competitiveness and reliability of our high-range business and bring gross profit margins in line with the low-range sector of this business which has exceeded expectations.” Accordingly, we expect the company will continue developing and producing its own low-range helicopter-borne lidar systems, and the mobile ground-based system we reported on last month. Optech notes that, as the two companies are geographically close to each other, Terrapoint will be able to offer Optech operational and user insight into using the ALTM 3100EA system.

Canadian Space Agency honors Carswell

Dr. Allen Carswell, founder and chairman of Optech, won the John H. Chapman Award of Excellence from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for what CSA acting president Carole Lacombe called his “significant achievements and lifelong dedication to space science research and development in Canada.” The CSA cited Dr. Carswell’s work perfecting lidar technology, his founding and leadership of Optech to commercialize the technology, and his recent recognition by the University of Arizona, which named him Canadian co-investigator on the Phoenix Science Team for MET, a meteorological station to be placed on Mars in 2007. The award, established in 2000 and presented annually by the CSA to a member of the space community, honors contributions to the advancement of the Canadian Space Program and lifetime achievement in space science and technology. Recipients are selected by a committee headed by the president of the CSA. 

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