The Silicon Review
Innovative mapping solutions provide government and companies with the current and comprehensive information needed in a fast-changing world.
Satellites, aircraft, drones, self-driving cars, crowdsourcing, even machine learning and AI – have contributed to the tremendous growth and availability of geographic spatial information and digital imagery, however only Vexcel Imaging delivers the geospatial information solutions that provide the confidence need for decision making in this rapidly changing world.
Vexcel Imaging, based in Colorado, offers state-of-the-art digital sensor systems, fully integrated processing software, and cloud-based data-as-a-service needed to provide the highest caliber of detailed, accurate mapping and digital representations of the ever-changing world around us. Vexcel Data Program (VDP) addresses the need of government and companies for ensuring current, comprehensive, and precise information of the situation “on the ground.” Among the many benefits, VDP significantly reduces the need for in-person fieldwork and on-site inspections. VDP contains frequently updated, high-detail, lossless, positionally accurate imagery of areas across the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia, giving users the survey grade accuracy needed for effective decision making and integration with government standards, corporate systems, and the emerging computer vision/artificial intelligence analytics areas.
Robert Carroll, vice president of the Global Government Solutions spoke about the company in an exclusive interview with The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.
From developing the sensors to fleet operation and data production: What are the benefits of covering the entire value chain within the company?
Vertical integration provides us a unique position in the industry as we can optimize each component from leveraging advantages in our camera technology, operational fleet efficiencies, to imagery processing optimization. You can see this in our recent post-disaster response work with our specially developed aerial camera technology supports up to 1.5cm high detail imagery, aircraft hubs tactically located across the country for fast, broad deployment, and scalable image processing resulting in 24-hour publishing turnaround times.
Vexcel is renowned in the industry for over 25 years for its best-in-class photogrammetry. What benefits do you see in a data library utilizing photogrammetric grade imagery?
Other subscription options in the market may have similar coverage and resolution. Still, only Vexcel provides a far superior quality and accurate solution needed for uses like virtual inspection to AI analytics. The UItraCam technology enables us to produce lossless 4-band imagery with high-dynamic range, combined with survey ground control points for accurate geographic positions.
Q. You recently acquired Verisk’s Geomni business. What was the strategic rationale?
That unit acquisition enhances our operational resources with a sizeable owner-operated fleet of survey aircraft across the U.S., giving us complete oversight of the entire aerial survey lifecycle. This increases our capability, flexibility, and speed to respond to disasters as well as directly control the day to day activities of the survey fleet. The Geomni image library was also acquired supplementing our program’s urban coverage to cities with populations over 15,000 and added historical images dating back to 2012. Verisk is a strategic partner with Vexcel to better support our work with the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC) members. Many of the GIC members also use Verisk software and information products, and our partnership will result in better integration with those tools.
Q. Tell us about your customers. Who needs location data, and why is it important?
Our VDP customers are anyone who needs the ability to evaluate structure features like roof condition, accurately overlay property boundary layers, and make measurements on objects – to give them an understanding of the what, where and when of the real world. These tools help a wide range of organizations, from large insurance carriers to government departments to small not-for-profit organizations.
Q. How do you market your services?
We use a combination of value-add channel partners who integrate our imagery into their services and direct sales to government and strategic accounts. We launched our integration partner program in 2019 and have already developed quite a few, ranging from analytics start-ups to large information services companies. Vexcel expects the program will grow to over 30 partners by the end of this year.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?
In addition to 2020 international expansion plans, we are currently working on releasing new access options for our customers ranging from specially designed end-user applications to an enhanced API to give partners and large customers greater access and flexibility to consume our information.
Q. What do you see as the future trends for your markets?
There are two core trends that we see impacting our business. The first is the accelerating move of companies to cloud-based content services changing how information products are consumed and bought. The second is the advances in computer vision and artificial intelligence systems capable of reviewing and predicting features across large areas of interest and data volumes. The volume of imagery and an organization’s ability to analyze it specific to its needs no longer requires expensive, large teams of interpreters, but rather thousands of AI processes running against 100s of petabytes of imagery online like VDP.
About Robert Carroll
Robert Carroll is the Vice President of Global Government Solutions and has 30 plus years of experience in the geospatial information industry, including as vice president of operations at Nearmap and president, international division for Pictometry (now Eagleview). He has been innovating data-as-a-service, geospatial solutions, and international imagery collection programs for over 15 years.