Aerodata International Surveys (www.aerodata-surveys.com) is an innovative and hands-on airborne surveying and mapping company. They specialize in airborne spatial data acquisition and advanced data processing for generating geo-information products.
Using Applanix’ (www.applanix.com) POS AV and POSTrack for data Direct Georeferencing, Aerodata has become one of the largest, most successful airborne surveying and mapping companies in the world!
Founded in 1992 in Belgium, Aerodata International Surveys is a leading European airborne surveying and mapping. Owned by Pasco Corporation, the company specializes in airborne spatial data acquisition of the earth's surface and geo-located image production. Now with 70 employees and units in Holland, Italy, France and Austria, Aerodata has grown into a very high-volume producer. It operates mainly throughout Western and Southern Europe, the Middle-East, and Africa.
Aerodata was the first European company to own and operate a Vexcel UltraCam-D digital photogrammetric frame camera. In 2005, over 70,000 exposures were collected. In 2008 Aerodata bought the first two of the newly launched UltraCam-Xp digital camera systems. In March 2009 Aerodata added a third UltraCam-Xp. The company currently flies eight airplanes and offers high-quality, high-value aerial photography products at low cost.
"Applanix products are extremely reliable. We push them hard and they stand up. Their customer support is also exceptional - extremely high expertise and very quick response!" - Ezra Philipse, Technical Director, Aerodata International
To produce orthophotos, the collected data needs to be accurately georeferenced. Aerodata turned to Applanix, the original pioneer of “Direct Georeferencing”- the most efficient and cost-effective method of georeferencing airborne data available. Direct Georeferencing is the geocoding of data from a camera, or other sensor, by directly measuring its position and orientation relative to the earth. These measurements are derived by integrating position information from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) with acceleration and angular rates measured with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU).
The Applanix POS AV is specifically designed for directly georeferencing airborne sensor data. By integrating precision GNSS with inertial technology, POS AV enables geospatial projects to be completed much more efficiently and economically. It is engineered for use with aerial cameras, scanning lasers, imaging sensors, synthetic aperture radar and LIDAR technology.
Aerodata purchased their first POS AV in 2000. According to Ezra Philipse, it was an easy choice. “The Applanix POS AV is very robust. It delivers accurate event latching, solid IMU performance and excellent GPS tracking. This all combines to make it an excellent system. We have a lot of faith in it.”
Aerodata currently operates 4 POS AV systems with 3 Microsoft UltraCAM Xp's and 1 Optech DiMAC Wide+.
In combination with the POS AV, Aerodata initially used a Flight Management System (FMS) from Track’Air called XTrack for its aerial operations. XTrack is software for real-time sensor control and pilot guidance. It runs smoothly on a decent laptop, has excellent storage capability, and does not suffer from slow-downs due to large databases or large flight plans. However, because POS AV and XTrack at the time were not fully integrated, wear and tear on cables and connectors over the years became a problem.
"POSTrack V6 + POSPac MMS V6 with IN-Fusion & SmartBase will be the best way forward in all aerial survey ops." - Ezra Philipse
Today Applanix partners with Track'Air to provide both the FMS and GNSS/INS solutions in an integrated solution called POSTrack. POSTrack tightly integrates POS AV with XTrack in one ruggedized form. Compact, lightweight, and easily installed on all types of aircraft, POSTrack eliminates the use of a complicated network of cables and connectors. It includes easy- to-use yet highly accurate flight mission planning software, precise project and flight path monitoring, accurate sensor positioning and image acquisition, and the highest level of in-flight task automation currently available.
POSTrack was the answer for Aerodata. “Including a state-of-the-art new Trimble GNSS receiver and an even smaller form factor, the newest POSTrack, the V6, is a very powerful FMS. It delivers smooth operations on even the largest flight plans. And there is no cabling issue!” said Ezra.
Aerodata currently operates 4 POSTrack systems and is planning to move aggressively forward with POSTrack V6.
Microsoft’s Global Ortho (GO) project aims to capture the entire continental United States and Western Europe at a spatial resolution of 30 centimeters, using UltraCAM digital aerial cameras. Launched in the spring of 2010, the entire project is scheduled to be completed by June 2012, with a three-year refresh cycle.
While Microsoft produces the camera systems and processes the imagery, partners carry out the actual aerial surveys. Aerodata has been contracted to perform the data collection in Western Europe. Using the UltraCam G, a very large format digital aerial camera custom built by Microsoft, and the Applanix POSTrack 510, Aerodata currently has four systems operating on this project.
After acquisition, the images collected by Aerodata are downloaded, processed, and checked for quality. Then they are bundled and sent to the Bing Imagery Technologies facility in Boulder, Colorado (USA), where a staff of only about twenty software developers and twenty production technicians put the imagery into a 37-petabyte storage facility and run some additional quality-control checks. The final products are orthophoto mosaics, available through Microsoft's Bing Maps and Digital Globe.
To learn more about Aerodata International Surveys, visit www.aerodata-surveys.com