Leica Virtual Explorer Zooms Face From Space!

Norcross, GA – To create a global news event around Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new look unveiled in November 2006, PR giant Weber Shandwick proposed building a physical logo so large that it would be visible from space.

Dubbed the “Face From Space” by the project team, the new KFC logo (which adds a red apron to the Colonel’s familiar double-breasted white suit) would be appreciated by more than astronauts and aliens. It would be photographed using an earth-orbiting satellite and processed to produce interactive web-based graphics that would let visitors to KFC’s website and other sites like YouTube zoom in seconds through space toward earth to view the logo.

The idea went over big with KFC, so the agency researched current record holders through Guinness World Records and found that breaking the record would require building an 87,500-square-feet logo.

Over three months, a project team including designers, architects, engineers, and even astrophysicists spent 3,000 hours creating the face. Installation was originally planned in Utah, in the flatlands near the site of the first KFC restaurant. However, when a deluge of rain damaged the site, things got even stranger. The project was moved to the Area 51 desert near Rachel, Nevada, also known as the "UFO Capital of the World."

During the six days of onsite construction, the tiles were covered from prying eyes, human and otherwise. The grid is made of 65,000 1’x1’ interlocking tiles that were painted red (6,000), white (14,000), eggshell (12,000), beige (5,000) and black (28,000). Laying connected on the ground they resemble a big jigsaw puzzle but when viewed from far, far above, the familiar face becomes quickly recognizable.

Once the grid was unveiled, the IKONOS commercial satellite, circling 423 miles above earth, was used to capture the image for processing. Leica Geosystems in Switzerland used its Leica Virtual Explorer 3D visualization product to incorporate the captured IKONOS imagery into a virtual earth, a clear and spatially accurate digital reality. Terabytes of spatial information are seamlessly merged into a highly informative digital earth and distributed to thousands of users worldwide without preprocessing. For the KFC project, the virtual earth was used to create a sequence of images to let viewers at Internet sites “zoom” from space to the KFC face.

“Having these images online and engaging the consumer was the most important part of this project,” notes Timothy Potter, a senior account executive with Weber Shandwick’s London office.

“We were pleased to play a role in this landmark project,” comments Bob Morris, President of Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Division. “This application showcases Leica Virtual Explorer’s strength in supporting 3D terrain and feature visualization and full collaboration with other users.”

The Leica zoom sequence was incorporated into footage provided by the agency to media outlets worldwide and, says Potter, the resulting coverage was outstanding. The Face From Space received international coverage and thousands of people blogging by the second day. The video has been viewed over 100,000 times on You Tube and Google, and continues to receive hits. The movie was available at the KFC corporate website (www.kfc.com) as part of interactive promotions during the launch (find the hidden message in the logo), and can still be found at that site in the news release section.

Obviously, Earthlings are enjoying KFC’s larger-than-life message. One can only wonder what the aliens are thinking.

About Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging Division
When building image-based maps, you need reliable measurements and solutions for your entire workflow. So when it has to be right, more geospatial professionals trust Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging, LLC to help them collect, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is powering geospatial imaging by putting precise imaging to work. Its broad array of photogrammetry and remote sensing software solutions capture data efficiently, reference imagery accurately, measure and analyze easily and present spatial information, even in 3D. Those who use Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging products every day trust them for their precision, their seamless integration, and their superior customer support. Delivering geospatial imaging solutions with precision, integration, and service from Leica Geosystems. When it has to be right.

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About Leica Geosystems
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems products and services are trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze, and present spatial information. Leica Geosystems is best known for its broad array of products that capture accurately, model quickly, analyze easily, and visualize and present spatial information in 3D. Those who use Leica Geosystems products every day trust them for their dependability, the value they deliver, and the superior customer support. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 2,400 employees in 23 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries around the world. Leica Geosystems is a publicly listed company, registered with the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX).

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