Graz, AustriaRocky Mountain Aerial Surveys (RMAS), an aerial data acquisition company based in Longmont, Colo., has contracted with Vexcel Imaging GmbH, a Microsoft company, to purchase an UltraCamLp photogrammetric digital aerial camera system.

With three aircraft and a staff of six, Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys was originally founded in 1973 and then later acquired in 2011 by Christina and Robert Louwers. The company has flown hundreds of imagery acquisition missions—including digital, film, infra-red and thermal—and LiDAR projects. The UltraCamLp acquisition marks its first digital aerial camera system purchase.

“This is a critical and strategic move for RMAS designed to take the company into the next level of capability, project type and size,” stated Bob Louwers, RMAS president. “We took our time to exercise the due diligence necessary for a purchase of this importance to a company of our size. We had to get it right the first time and we carefully evaluated our options. The choice was made simpler by the UltraCam’s reputation for quality data and through the assistance of the UltraCam team in Boulder, Colo., who worked closely with us in our evaluation of the UltraCam systems and the UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software.”

Winner of the Technology Innovation category in the 4th Annual MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards competition, the UltraCamLp combines innovative hardware, electronics and software that result in a light and compact camera system. The camera collects five spectral bands per exposure: red, green, blue and near-infrared data, in addition to the higher-resolution panchromatic data. The UltraCamLp features an image footprint collection capacity of 92 megapixels (11,704 x 7,920 pixels pan), made possible through advanced electronics and a CCD array of just 6 μm.

Microsoft’s UltraMap software is included with UltraCam systems and allows users to ingest UltraCam raw data for rapid radiometric corrections, project-based color balancing and export as JPEG or TIFF Level 3 files. The software also features an aerial triangulation module, and the forthcoming version 3.0 release will offer additional modules for generating high-density point clouds, digital surface models and orthophotos (true and traditional).

“The software advancements will be of increasing interest to RMAS as we grow the company and expand our services,” added Louwers. “In general, the steady innovation path seen with the Microsoft photogrammetric products is impressive and evidence of a product line that will carry us into the future.”

“Microsoft is pleased to assist Rocky Mountain Aerial Surveys in acquiring its first digital aerial sensor,” said Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft business director. “As a small firm making the inevitable transition from film to digital technology to better serve its customer base and grow its business, RMAS epitomizes the customer profile we had in mind when we developed the UltraCamLp. We congratulate Christina, Bob and their team for this momentous step in the company’s history.”