Whether they go by the name of professional surveyors, geographic information systems professionals, certified photogrammetrists, LiDAR specialists or another title, geospatial professionals ultimately have one role in common--that of problem solver. Some solutions may require minimal resources and take a matter of days, while others demand a strategic network of partners, complex layers of technology and years of diligent effort. Regardless of the application, every project provides an opportunity to highlight the value of close collaboration with skilled geospatial professionals.
Each year, MAPPS honors the firms that demonstrate a superior level of excellence through the MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards. For the 2011 awards, a panel of independent judges chaired by Professor Robert Burtch, PS, CP, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich., evaluated projects submitted by MAPPS members for the awards program.
Winners were awarded in seven technical categories. The awards presentation took place at the MAPPS Fall Policy Conference in November 2011, held in conjunction with the ASPRS/Pecora Remote Sensing Symposium. The reception was sponsored by T3 Global Strategies, a MAPPS member firm, at the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel in Herndon, Va.
“In this, the fifth year of the Excellence Awards Program, I believe MAPPS member firms have once again demonstrated the professionalism, innovation and societal benefit that the private geospatial community provides to enhance our quality of life,” said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. “These awards highlight ongoing challenges that geospatial solutions address and solve. The projects demonstrate the ingenuity and professionalism MAPPS members strive to provide on a daily basis.” Following is an overview of the 2011 winners.
GRAND AWARD: AeroMetricGIS/IT
Geospatial Cloud Solution for Natural Resources Damage Assessment
When a gas release and subsequent explosion caused the Deepwater Horizon oil rig to sink in April 2010, leaking hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico, a massive data collection and surveillance effort was launched to determine the extent of the damage and develop a plan for restoration.Working in cooperation with BP, AeroMetric rapidly developed and deployed a geospatial cloud solution that allowed the collaborative management and discovery of response-related surveillance missions and imagery, as well as planning, QA/QC and exploitation of that imagery. AeroMetric’s geospatial cloud solution provides an evolving template for effectively dealing with the Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) elements in future spill events. (See the full story here.)
Microsoft Bing Imagery Technologies (BITs)Airborne and Satellite Data Acquisition
Microsoft’s Bing Maps Global Ortho Aerial Data Acquisition Program
In the spring of 2010, Microsoft launched the Global Ortho (GO) program, the single largest imagery project ever undertaken. To collect the imagery, Microsoft relies on partners using Microsoft’s UltraCamG technology. These partners download the imagery, process it, quality control it, bundle it up, and send it to the Bing Imagery Technologies (BITs) facility in Boulder, Colo. There, a staff of about 20 software developers and 20 production technicians ingest the imagery into a storage and processing facility and run quality control checks before sending the data to DigitalGlobe to sell for offline usage and to Bing Maps for inclusion in its Web services. In less than two years, Microsoft aims to collect the entire continental United States and Western Europe--or about 10.5 million square kilometers--at a resolution of 30 centimeters. The first of it began appearing in August 2010, and roughly half of the project had been completed by August 2011.
BAE SystemsRemote Sensing
Estuary Enhancement in the Garden State
In 1994, PSEG, a New Jersey-based energy company, established the Estuary Enhancement Program (EEP) to monitor and restore a portion of the Delaware Bay estuaries as part of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for their Salem Generating Station. The area of interest encompassed approximately 20,000 acres of salt marsh and uplands along the Delaware Bay in the states of New Jersey and Delaware. Working for PSEG, the URS Corp. teamed with BAE Systems to provide a comprehensive geospatial solution for monitoring this massive mitigation effort. Due to the tidal conditions, water temperature changes and seasonal differences, a unique remote sensing program was developed to include aerial acquisition and production of both natural color and color infrared (CIR) ortho-imagery for change detection, as well as to support thematic vegetation mapping and detailed photo interpretation to determine width, length and depth of channels. For the 2010 project, new image classification techniques by BAE Systems deployed new tone balancing processes to help produce consistent radiometric quality between the current year and previous years, which helped determine changes in vegetation classes. Using remote sensing to help monitor the success of the EEP program has proven to be invaluable for analyzing various restoration techniques.
BAE SystemsPhotogrammetry/Elevation Data Generation
PAMAP: The Keystone to Intelligent Decisions
PAMAP: The Keystone to Intelligent Decisions Through a professional services qualification process, BAE Systems was selected by Penn State to capture, process and deliver color orthophotography for Pennsylvania’s PAMAP program at a 1 foot ground sample distance (GSD) and LiDAR data capable of generating 2 foot contours. Beginning in 2007, the Commonwealth became interested in producing a detailed elevation model in addition to the orthophoto imagery, but the budget was very limited. While managing an aggressive project schedule, BAE Systems had to be creative in developing a cost-effective approach that maintained data quality. The firm overcame many complex challenges to ensure that the PAMAP program supports the needs of the Pennsylvania community and will integrate seamlessly into the National Map. (See the full story in POB’s September 2011 issue, online at www.pobonline.com.)
KAPPA Mapping Inc.Small Projects
Innovative Software use for Danbury Airport Obstruction Mapping
In late 2009 and into 2010, KAPPA Mapping Inc. provided airport obstruction mapping and related services for prime consultant Hoyle Tanner & Associates for The Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR) to ensure compliance with the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and NGS standards for Instrument Procedure Development. The standards and guidelines comprehensively address the surveying, mapping and infrastructure data collection and attribution requirements that support precision approach analysis, design, and certification. Certification will enhance the airport’s economic viability by improving southwest Connecticut air transportation access. KAPPA Mapping used its existing hardware and software and modified the Obstruction Identification Surfaces (OIS) by filling them in with surface-line patterns (guidelines) that provided a visual 3D surface reference that allowed the stereo-compiler to identify and collect penetrating features. The firm’s innovative treatment of OIS allowed a small business with lower overhead to add value to the approach certification process.
WoolpertSurveying/Field Data Collection
Aeronautical Surveys for FAA WAAS Program
As part of its Technical Support and Services Contract (TSSC-III), Parsons Infrastructure Group Inc. supports the FAA’s air navigation system, or Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) initiative, by producing aeronautical survey datasets for a significant number of airports across the country. In 2005, Parsons contracted Woolpert to complete aeronautical surveys of FAA-WAAS airports and collect the survey data required to complete the datasets that would ultimately integrate into WAAS. Woolpert leveraged its extensive surveying experience to help create and define the standards for WAAS while helping the FAA make the transition from paper-based to digital GIS survey data and simultaneously collecting aeronautical survey and mapping data at hundreds of airfields across the nation. For each airport included in this effort, surveyors created datasets that would become the basis of new Localizer Performance with Vertical (LPV) guidance procedures. To date, Woolpert has completed surveys to the LPV specifications at more than 870 airports in 47 states, encompassing more than 1,500 runway ends.
Optech Inc.Technology Innovation
ALTM Aquarius--the New Shallow- Water Mapping Sensor
Underwater surveying has traditionally been carried out with sonar systems. While effective in deeper water, sonar is inefficient in shallow coastal waters (less than 10 meters deep) because of the limited boat speed, narrow swath width and the inability to survey right up to the shoreline. Airborne LiDAR systems have been developed to address this gap, but many of these systems are prohibitively expensive for smaller mapping firms. To fill this gap, Optech developed the ALTM Aquarius, a new shallow-water mapper based on the popular ALTM Gemini design but with the ability to survey water depths and terrain elevations simultaneously. The expanded capability provides seamless topographic information across the land-water surface. The sensor is designed to be affordable and can be operated on the smaller aircraft typically used in photogrammetric surveys and, more recently, in airborne laser terrain mapping.
Web exclusive! View video interviews with some of the winners at www.pobonline.com