NORCROSS, Ga. – Leica Geosystems and Peregrine Aerial Surveys announced that Peregrine has taken delivery of the first Z/I Imaging DMC II-230 digital mapping camera in Canada. Leica delivered the next-generation DMC II-230 in April to Peregrine’s headquarters in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where it will be the fourth DMC II system in operation in North America.

“We chose the DMC II-230 because the companies involved – Leica, Zeiss, and Intergraph – have a strong history of developing camera and image processing systems that are accurate and reliable,” said Paul Gagnon, Peregrine’s president. “We had previous experience with the Leica RC30 film camera, and transition to the DMC II was a natural progression.”

A newly formed aerial survey company, Peregrine leverages the expertise and experience of Selkirk Remote Sensing, which sold its aircraft and other assets to Peregrine when Selkirk’s owner retired last year. Managed by several former Selkirk executives, Peregrine is assuming management of many of the original company’s airborne acquisition contracts in many divisions. Peregrine sees a significant market demand for airborne digital imagery in British Columbia.

“The DMC II-230 has unique design capabilities that make it the best choice for many natural resource mapping applications, especially in forestry and agriculture,” said Gagnon.

He explained the appeal of the DMC II-230 is the monolithic design of its detector arrays. The digital mapping camera boasts a single 230-megapixel black-and-white sensor and four 42-megapixel color (Red, Green, Blue) and near-infrared arrays that simultaneously acquire all bands of imagery, resulting in perfectly co-registered data sets. This will enable Peregrine to generate extremely high quality Normalized Differential Vegetation Index (NDVI) solutions from the multispectral imagery, which will yield detailed information regarding the species and health of imaged vegetation at a spatial resolution as fine as 1 inch.

“This combination of high spatial resolution and multispectral acquisition gives us the ability to serve applications as broad as precision agriculture, illicit crop detection, automated forest health reporting and post-disaster damage assessment,” said Gagnon. “The DMC II’s market range spans rural, suburban and municipal areas.”

Designed specifically as a photogrammetric mapping camera, the DMC II offers a rigid square frame and a fixed pixel geometry in a single pixel array that result in very high-quality geometric resolution. All DMC systems collect four-band multispectral (Red, Green, Blue, Near IR) and black-and-white panchromatic imagery. Automated forward motion compensation and rapid refresh rate enable operators to fly the DMC at low altitudes for large-scale survey applications and at higher altitudes for small-scale regional projects.

“As is occurring in so many sectors, digital aerial imagery is becoming the remote sensing data set of choice in Canada,” said Jean Gardiner, general manager of Leica Geospatial Solutions. “The DMC II will give Peregrine Aerial Surveys an instant advantage in many of the contracts it will bid on.”

The DMC II cameras represent a significant evolution in the innovative digital technology introduced with the original DMC. The DMC II is the first digital aerial camera to add a single monolithic panchromatic (PAN) camera head to produce extremely wide ground coverage for capturing large-scale, high-resolution imagery. This improves overall geometric accuracy and radiometric quality, eliminating the need for image mosaicking during post-processing. The PAN-to-multispectral pixel ratio is 1:2.6, resulting in extremely crisp pan-sharpened imagery.

Other advances in the DMC II include a new customized lens design by Carl Zeiss in Germany and a single, ultra-large CCD sensor developed by Teledyne DALSA to power the PAN camera head. The radiometric resolution has also been improved in the DMC II from 12- to 14-bit, which resolves greater detail from dark shadows and highly reflective surfaces. The DMC II integrates with commercial GPS/IMU devices for high-accuracy data collection using minimal ground control.