More than 2,500 attendees from 65 countries gathered in Orlando, Fla., June 6-9 for the inaugural Hexagon 2011 conference. With the theme “Building a Smarter World,” the conference combined the latest technologies and user communities from Leica Geosystems and Z/I Imaging as well as Intergraph and Hexagon Metrology.

In the opening keynote address, Hexagon AB President and CEO Ola Rollén discussed the numerous ways in which users are applying technology to make processes and infrastructures better, safer and smarter. He noted that change drives progress and can be harnessed to our advantage. Hexagon and all of its divisions are dedicated to delivering actionable information through design, measurement and visualization technologies, he said-a commitment that is captured in Hexagon’s new mission statement. By empowering customers to create, manage and share information, Hexagon aims to help them increase productivity, improve quality, and make better and faster operational decisions.

One example of this empowerment was the launch of Leica Geosystem’s new ScanStation C5 laser scanner, a compact, scalable tool with a starting price of under $50,000. The new instrument created a substantial amount of buzz among attendees in the Geosystems track since it offers another low-cost option for geospatial professionals who are trying to expand into laser scanning-a market that has previously been considered too expensive for many firms. “With the new C5, we can help more surveyors get into this market and we can custom-build their scanner for their markets,” said Michael Harvey, HDS Product Marketing Manager for Leica Geosystems. “We’re really excited about that.” (Go here for more details on the ScanStation C5)

Also highlighted was Leica’s new ALS70 and its family of systems for airborne LiDAR use, which provides high-density, high-accuracy data in a short amount of time. “The qualities that increase the value of raw data are the speed with which it is gathered and the latency with which it is processed,” said Ron Roth, product manager for airborne LiDAR. “Both of these values have been significantly enhanced throughout the 13-year history of LIDAR product development at the Geospatial Solutions Division. LIDAR systems have a trajectory of doubling the point measurement rate roughly every two years, and the IT hardware used to process and store the data has kept pace with the performance of the instruments themselves. It continues to be an exciting product line to be involved with.”

The Geosystems track at the conference included a keynote address by Jürgen Dold, president of Hexagon Geosystems, and Ken Mooyman, president of Hexagon Geosystems NAFTA, who highlighted how measurement technologies are being used in innovative ways to advance Earth’s infrastructure. Examples included the precise layout of high-speed railways to ease urban traffic congestion; the use of integrated geospatial sensors to allow the precise construction of tall skyscrapers that help resolve urban space pressures; and increasingly sophisticated scan-to-BIM processes that make it easier for communities to rebuild after a natural disaster.

Although the event was held just six months after the Leica Geosystems HDS Worldwide User Conference, attendance from the survey audience was still high. A number of attendees in the Geosystems track said they appreciated the opportunity to network with the larger group from Intergraph since many of those participants are consumers of survey data. Information gleaned from the conference provided food for thought on capturing new business, increasing productivity and adding value to a data-driven world.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s conference, which will be held June 4-7 in Las Vegas. For more information,