Message from the President: October 2017
Published On: October 23, 2017
I hope you are enjoying nice fall weather if you're on the north half of the planet or having an enjoyable spring if you are on the other side.
We have been extremely busy this last quarter at GeoCue. We have been working with Teledyne Technologies on a new platform for managing and distributing data from a sensor array that Teledyne is mounting on the International Space Station (ISS). We are commercializing the Amazon Web Services (AWS) portion of this system to enable management and distribution of very large imagery and LIDAR data sets. The commercial spinoff, known as Earth Sensor Portal (ESP), got an unexpected public test. During a GeoCue discussion, we were trying to think of a meaningful way our company could contribute to the hurricane relief efforts for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. We thought that pre-event imagery and LIDAR could be extremely useful and set off to have a look. Turns out that while these data have been collected for all three areas, it is not so easy to get your hands on it. We decided to stand up a free data portal for the affected areas using our in-progress version of ESP. The USGS was extremely interested in cooperating with us because while they already had a lot of data in AWS S3 storage, there was not a public portal for download. In a similar vein, the Texas Natural Resources Information System (TNRIS) has lots of LIDAR data for Harris County, but it had to be delivered on disk drives. We quickly stood up GetLIDAR.com to serve as a free clearing house for these data. This turned out to be extremely successful, validating the concept of cloud archiving, search and delivery for these type data. See our Director of Enterprise Solutions' (David Glenn) article on GetLIDAR in this issue.
We have also released to manufacturing and delivered to customers our new direct geopositioning system (DGPS) for DJI (and other) drones. Dubbed Loki, the system is based on the proven Septentrio-based DGPS we developed for our AV-900 mapping drone. The really cool thing about Loki is that it enables PPK positioning on a DJI Inspire 2 drone (Phantom 4 Pro and M200 should be available by year end). We recently conducted a nine flight sortie over a quarry with over 75m of vertical terrain relief using Loki on a DJI Inspire 2 with DJI X4S camera. We used no ground control (of course we had test points for accuracy assessment) and combined all nine flights into a single PhotoScan Pro project. Our vertical error was a stunningly good 0.136 feet (4.1 cm). This level of accuracy will support ½ ft contours. Now if you are a surveyor, you may not be impressed. However, sit back and think about the equipment; a $3,600 drone/camera combination with a $6,000 DGPS and no ground control at all, achieving an accuracy sufficient for differential volumetrics. This is really a game changer!! We'll be updating you on the Loki system in most issues of the newsletter. In the meantime, have a look in this issue at the case study of the use of our drone data processing technology.
Have a great quarter! If you are a GeoCue customer for any of our technology (thank you very much!), see you in next month's letter. Otherwise, please be on the lookout for the January issue.