Driven by customer demand for high-quality aerial images, Peace Map switched from film cameras to the UltraCam digital aerial cameras. Peace Map purchased six cameras: one UltraCamD, two UltraCamXp, and three UltraCamLp photogrammetric digital aerial cameras. The company now delivers superior images with up to 30 percent more efficiency and plans to purchase more UltraCam cameras in the future. Business Needs
Peace Map is a professional surveying and aerial mapping company that was founded in 2006. It is one of the most prolific photogrammetric services companies in China and has mapped more than 50 percent of the terrain in China for both government and private-sector customers. Since 2006, Peace Map has grown from 15 to 500 employees and has increased its revenues by more than 100 percent each year.
When Peace Map was established as a subsidiary of China Siwei Surveying and Mapping Company, it used analog film for its aerial mapping projects. However, the company faced issues with analog film, especially in a time when many companies were turning to digital image capture. Specifically, the analog film was costly and time-consuming to process. The costs for film and the chemicals required to develop the film were rising. Plus, Peace Map had to account for film-processing time when working on projects for customers.
Not only did Peace Map struggle with the inefficiencies of film, it also wanted to avoid the grainy, lower-quality images that often result from using analog film. In fact, the company found that its customers wanted higher-quality images, particularly with digital cameras gaining popularity. In addition, Peace Map realized that delivering superior images was a key differentiating factor that would contribute to its long-term success. “For customers, it comes down to quality and efficiency,” explains Guan Hongliang, Chairman at Peace Map. “Whichever company delivers the best images—and the fastest—wins in the end.”
The company wanted to switch from film to a digital format to gain the efficiencies and image quality that it aimed to achieve. After deciding to switch to a digital camera, however, the company still had to choose the best camera for its needs. Solution
Peace Map evaluated several digital aerial cameras, including Intergraph DMC and UltraCam. After comparing camera features, including image footprint, Peace Map chose the UltraCamD large-format digital aerial camera. “The decision to go with UltraCam was based on the fact that they have a larger footprint and can deliver quality images with greater efficiency,” says Yu Xiang, Deputy General Manager at Peace Map.
||By using UltraCam, we are up to 30 percent more efficient than if we used other digital cameras.
Deputy General Manager, Peace Map
After purchasing its first UltraCamD camera in 2006, Peace Map acquired two UltraCamXp cameras, which have even larger footprints than UltraCamD. In January 2011, the photogrammetric services company purchased three UltraCamLp digital aerial cameras, which are perfect for the smaller aircraft that Peace Map has in its fleet. In total, Peace Map has six UltraCam cameras that it mounts in its various aircraft, which include Cessna 208 and Harbin Y-12 and Y-5 airplanes. It also uses the UltraMap workflow software system for image management.
Since switching to UltraCam, Peace Map has completed several notable projects. In 2008, the company captured high-resolution images of an area affected by an 8.0 earthquake in Wenchuan County, China. For its first-response emergency work, Peace Map was honored by the Chinese government. In addition, the company is working on a venture to create a high-resolution image library of 600 cities in China.
Peace Map works with Imagemaps, a reseller in the Asia–Pacific region, in addition to another local reseller for camera support. “Microsoft and its partners provide excellent support, which is important because it helps us meet our commitments to customers and build a good brand,” says Guan. The company is so impressed with the quality of UltraCam and the support it receives from Microsoft and Imagemaps that it plans to further expand its digital aerial camera fleet and purchase the latest in the UltraCam series, the UltraCam Eagle.Benefits
By using UltraCam, Peace Map can capture high-quality digital images with fewer flight lines and without the headaches of processing film. With the regular innovation that Microsoft delivers, Peace Map plans to use UltraCam for years to come.
Thanks to the large footprint of UltraCam, Peace Map can complete aerial mapping projects with fewer flight lines, gaining the utmost in efficient image capture. “By using UltraCam, we are up to 30 percent more efficient than if we used other digital cameras,” explains Xiang. In addition, the company can easily capture images in low light, in low contrast, or in weather conditions that would produce lower-quality images with traditional film. “Since using UltraCam, we can fly between 5:30 A.M. and 7:00 A.M. and get good picture quality, despite the bad lighting, and finish projects in very short periods of time,” says Xiang.
Peace Map also avoids the costly development process for film and can begin processing images in flight. “Digital images are more durable over time and don’t require time-consuming development,” explains Xiang. “Compared to film, digital is significantly more economical.”Improved Image Quality
Since the company switched to UltraCam, Peace Map has been able to deliver the superior images that customers want. “We get better accuracy and color in the images we capture with UltraCam,” says Guan. “Our customers love the images we produce now—that is extremely important to us.” In fact, the image quality helped the Chinese government assess damage caused by the Wenchuan earthquake. “We captured images with a resolution of 30 centimeters,” explains Xiang. “It provided the necessary data to evaluate the disaster and reconstruction efforts.”
Gained Access to Innovation
Peace Map appreciates that Microsoft constantly innovates and offers a clear upgrade path for UltraCam, which helps the company take advantage of the latest camera enhancements. “The innovation that goes into UltraCam is wonderful,” says Guan. “We know that Microsoft will continue to deliver valuable new features, higher-quality images, and even more efficiency. We intend to purchase the UltraCam Eagle, and I would recommend UltraCam to any of my colleagues.”
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