NORCROSS, Ga.Leica Geosystems announced that Ayres Associates and Applied Ecological Services have jointly purchased the Leica RCD30 digital imaging camera. While Ayres and AES have extensive experience acquiring, processing and using aerial imagery, the RCD30 purchase is a first for both, and the two Wisconsin-based firms plan to deploy it in a wide variety of projects from environmental assessment to engineering-grade mapping.

“Ayres and AES bring a unique combination of geospatial, engineering and ecological sciences expertise that will enable the firms to offer innovative services to the market place,” said Jean Gardiner, general manager of Leica Geosystems Geospatial Solutions. “The price of the RCD30 makes it an attractive choice for geospatial firms who are interested in providing their clients with a nice balance between project size and budget.”

Introduced by Leica Geosystems as a digital follow-on to its RC30 film cameras, the RCD30 is a medium-format digital imaging system developed for a variety of photogrammetric and remote sensing applications. The 60 MP single-camera-head design delivers co-registered, multispectral imagery in four bands of the spectrum (Red, Green, Blue, Near-Infrared). The sleek modular design allows the camera to fit easily in aircraft previously outfitted with film cameras, and the RCD30 integrates with many LiDAR sensors, including the Leica ALS series.

“Recommendations from digital camera owners and our experience with other Leica Geosystems equipment were key factors in our decision to buy the RCD30,” said Kirk Contrucci, Ayres vice president of geospatial services. “And the ability to seamlessly integrate the RCD30 with a Leica LiDAR system in the future gives us added flexibility.”

“Another important reason we chose the Leica RCD30 was its co-registered four-band multispectral capabilities,” said Steven I. Apfelbaum, AES founder and senior ecologist. “Multi-spectral imaging technology has allowed AES to do what ecologists have only dreamed of doing for many years – remote sensing and imaging of ecosystems using detailed measurements that could otherwise take weeks to collect in the field.”

Co-ownership of the new camera allows Ayres and AES to provide rapid mobilization and cost-effective aerial acquisition and image processing services to government agencies, non-profit organizations, land trusts and private-sector clients throughout North America.

“This digital camera will enable our firms to better serve our existing clients, while also opening up new markets to us,” said Ayres’ Contrucci, whose geospatial group has been a strong player in the mapping industry for more than 35 years.

“Ownership of the RCD30 will enable our firms to respond quickly to our client’s needs, adding a ‘just-in-time’ dimension that’s critical for capturing vegetation at specific stages in its growth, which usually offer only narrow windows of opportunity for acquisition,” said Apfelbaum.