North West Team Using Leica ADS40 in NAIP’s Largest Digital Imagery Project

9 June 2004 – Atlanta, Georgia, USA and Calgary, Alberta, Canada— Six Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensors will acquire imagery over approximately 380,000 square miles of land in the states of Texas, Idaho and Louisiana. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) awarded the largest digital ortho-photo collection contract ever granted to a team of three companies: team leader North West Geomatics Ltd. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and its business partners, EarthData International (Frederick, Md., USA) and Horizons, Inc. (Rapid City, S.D., USA). The imagery will be used by the USDA’s National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) to monitor and manage farm programs.

The team will conduct its flight mission between 1 June and 31 August. All imagery must be processed within 90 days of flight completion to meet USDA guidelines. They will collect about 10.1 trillion pixels or 10 Terabytes of raw data for this project. Both color and color infrared products will be created to meet user requirements. To process the imagery, the team will use EarthData’s ISTAR infrastructure and Leica Geosystems’ GPro software.

In 2003, the team successfully flew the state of Nebraska for NAIP and delivered imagery of 90,000 sq. mi. of land, acquired with the ADS40, within the allotted timeframe. Nebraska was a pilot project for NAIP, as it was the first state flown by a large-format digital sensor. After the successful completion of the Nebraska contract, NAIP allowed large-format digital sensors and film cameras to compete equally for image acquisition contracts for the first time this year.

“Following on the successful completion of Nebraska, our team is confident we can meet the challenging delivery deadlines while maintaining the outstanding image quality our client has grown to expect from the ADS40 and our production processes,” said John Welter, Vice President of North West.

“Leica Geosystems is delighted that the extraordinary ADS40 results delivered by our customers in their first NAIP contract paved the way for an even larger and more challenging mission,” said Bob Morris, President of Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping. “We are ready to do our part in helping the team complete this significant project and look forward to seeing the amazing end products they are sure to deliver with the ADS40.”

NAIP annually acquires current and accurate imagery over all agricultural lands of the continental United States and delivers it to its various USDA Service Centers. The USDA adheres to two strict requirements in the imagery acquisition process: ortho-imagery must be provided quickly to Service Centers for mandated annual compliance review; and 1-meter ortho-imagery becomes the updated image base layer for the USDA’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

For more information about North West Group, call: +1 403 295 0694, e-mail:, or visit:

For more information about EarthData call: +1 301 948 8550 ext.111, or visit:

For more information about Horizons call: +1 605 343 0280, or visit:

For more information about the ADS40 or other products and services from Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping, call: +1 404 248 9000, toll free: +1 877 463 7327, or visit:

Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping is the expert in geospatial imaging. Its hardware and software products power the Geospatial Imaging Chain- the definitive industry workflow of capturing, referencing, mapping, analyzing and presenting geospatial information.

North West, also known as North West Group, provides full service in digital imagery, LIDAR, conventional aerial photography, film processing, scanning and digital ortho-photo production. The company has earned a reputation for high-quality, efficient service and is at the leading edge of the geospatial data industry.