Optech sought to simplify the process of managing marine environmental survey data with a one-flow solution based on its airborne lidar bathymetry expertise. When surveying coastal zones, airborne sensors offer a wide variety of data about the seafloor and water column that can be difficult to manage. Optech has spent decades honing the technology, and recently won an award from MAPPS for Technology Innovation for its Environmental HydroFusion Software for the CZMIL Bathymetry System.

Max Elbaz, president of Optech, Inc., told GeoDataPoint, “We’re very proud to have been recognized by MAPPS, which represents professionals in our industry. This is Optech’ s first full software suite that enables our clients to do data planning, data capture and 3D display all within one user interface.”

HydroFusion is a single program workflow that provides mission planning, data collection quality control and automated processes that lead to fused data results from Coastal Zone Mapping and Imaging LiDAR’s (CZMIL) three sensors—LiDAR, hyperspectral and camera—simultaneously to produce a variety of data products.

Optech designed HydroFusion for improved usability by implementing an intuitive graphical user interface for planning surveys as well as retrieving, reviewing and editing data. Optech built on existing technology, developing HydroFusion as a flexible platform that can incorporate updated systems and adapt to changing technologies. Integrated with Optech CZMIL, HydroFusion improves survey efficiency and the quality of the derived hydrography and topography data.

“It’s unique in the industry for providing the entire workflow capturing and producing seamless bathymetry and topography in a single interface, as it enables customers to be more efficient, with a much more efficient workflow,” Elbaz said. “Customers were using up to seven types of software to do these tasks and now they only need one. HydroFusion provides a huge efficiency gain. It enables you to extract and fuse all the information captured by the hardware with accuracy. This software complements the hardware, enabling customers to extract bathymetric data from muddy bottoms and simply water that isn’t clear, where before it just wasn’t possible.”

Elbaz also said the software is a big achievement for the industry. “Until a few years ago, manufacturers in this industry have been focusing on hardware, then the market moved and our clients started to require a complete solution including the combination of  hardware and software. They wanted a system solution of hardware and software to do their jobs more efficiently and could better meet the needs of their own customers. It’s a natural evolution with everyone moving toward 3D, the HydroFusion software also enables you to visualize the information in 3D to make better decisions using the information being extracted.”

He said Optech’ s software has been evolving since they first introduced it. “We have new versions coming out, working in concert with our customers in the U.S. and elsewhere, constantly making it more efficient and adding more features.”

A panel of independent judges evaluated projects submitted by MAPPS members for the awards program.