Similar to the evolution of music from Sony's ubiquitous Walkman to iPods to on-demand streaming like Spotify, aerial mapping technology is transforming rapidly, giving businesses powerful new ways to see "reality" instantly—without actually being there. Nearmap CEO, Rob Newman, lays out his vision of Mapping Reality in a special GIS-focused edition of CIO Review.
In the article, Newman explains, "Not that long ago, high-resolution aerial imagery was available mainly to a privileged few: large companies and governments that could afford to hire an aerial photographer, engage a fleet of planes, and wait weeks, if not months, for a bird’s-eye map to be constructed. The service was expensive—and obsolete by the time the customer received it. This was essentially the old model, quite similar to the way that bespoke enterprise software was once installed, before the advent of SaaS and the adoption of the cloud."
Forging ahead as a pioneer in the aerial imagery industry, Nearmap is serving far wider audiences by providing a subscription service that lets businesses access a massive library of current and historical imagery on demand. Nearmap's high-resolution 2D orthoimagery is updated frequently, making it a more accurate source of visual data than satellite images. Newman continues, "Companies are creating derivative products from Nearmap location content, using advanced algorithms to analyze and classify the most relevant and useful attributes in the imagery itself. Virtually any user can easily create massively scalable databases of attributes like decks, pools, trees, crops, types of buildings, and more—the democratization of data at its best."
More recently, Nearmap is continuing down the path of innovation with new advances in 3D mapping. Aerial surveys conducted with Nearmap's HyperCamera2 collect thousands of photos using views from multiple angles. "With this vast collection of visual data, our proprietary software constructs a detailed, photo-realistic, 3-D view—a model of reality on the ground."
The uses for this kind of data are limitless. Developers can see 3D models of of buildings in the context of real surroundings, infrastructure, environment and light. Municipal governments can make better decisions about how plans impact a community, permitting, and citizen services. Utilties and telecommunications companies can better visualize and manage critical assets.
Newman concludes, "We’re just at the beginning of a dynamic new age for 3D aerial imagery, where future uses lie somewhere beyond our imaginations."
Read the full article from CIO Magazine here.
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Nearmap’s blog and can be viewed here.