Microsoft UltraCam L/Lp Wins Technology Innovation Award

Graz, Austria — November 30, 2010 — Microsoft Corporation’s UltraCam L/Lp digital aerial camera was selected winner of the Technology Innovation category in the 4th Annual MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards competition. The award was presented on GIS Day, 17 November, in Kissimmee, Florida, at the MAPPS Fall Policy Conference.

In its application, Microsoft noted that the UltraCamL and its successor the UltraCamLp combine the best elements of both medium- and large-format cameras in order to set a new price/performance standard for photogrammetric imaging operations. The camera system reflects innovation in areas of hardware, electronics and software, developed in response to customer feedback, and offers a revolutionary package that is lighter, more compact, more flexible, and more affordable to smaller mapping organizations.

Christine Grahl, editor of POB Magazine, announced the award. Representing the independent panel of judges, she said, “The UltraCam L/LP project by Vexcel Imaging/Microsoft was highly thought of by the judges. While it was hard comparing the diverse nature of the Technology Innovation projects, the one thing that stood out with Vexcel’s submission, beyond the technological hurdles, was the advantages that this new camera could give to the photogrammetric community. The UltraCam L/LP camera is designed to bring digital data acquisition to the smaller mapping firms by offering a camera that is low cost and accurate for mapping purposes.”

The UltraCamL/Lp enables smaller companies to use a fully-digital approach to mapping without compromising photogrammetric accuracy or quality and without a million dollar investment. The UltraCamL/Lp now bridges the gap between traditional medium-format imaging sensors and large-format photogrammetric sensors and creates a new class of digital aerial camera which can be used for mapping projects of all sizes by local mapping companies.

The importance and impact of the UltraCamL/Lp is best demonstrated by the reaction of the marketplace. Since May 2009, 16 UltraCamL/Lp cameras have been sold and delivered worldwide, and sales are now accelerating. New operators of the UltraCamL/Lp have reported excellent project results and are highly satisfied with the camera quality, operations, reliability and also with the image quality.

A panel of independent judges evaluated projects submitted by MAPPS members for the awards program. The panel chairman was Robert Burtch PS, CP, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Michigan; joining him were Christine Grahl, editor for POB Magazine, Troy, Michigan; Pamela Lawhead, associate professor at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi; Leonard Gilroy, AICP, director of government reform at Reason Foundation, Los Angeles, CA; and Donn Dears, president of, a nonprofit think tank conducting research on energy and economic issues, in Geneva, Illinois.

"MAPPS member firms have once again demonstrated the professionalism, innovation and societal benefit that the private geospatial community provides to enhance our quality of life," said MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello. "On a daily basis, MAPPS member firms are providing quality services, data and technology products. The Excellence Awards highlight these achievements and the professionalism MAPPS members strive to provide."

“We are honored to receive this award,” said Alexander Wiechert, Business Director of Microsoft and Managing Director for Vexcel Imaging GmbH. “I am proud of the Vexcel Imaging team that developed the UltraCamL and Lp camera to help smaller companies successfully transition from film to digital operations.”

About the UltraCamLp
The UltraCamLp features the same advanced technical specifications as its predecessor, the UltraCamL, and an even higher image footprint collection capacity of 92 megapixels (11,704 x 7,920 pixels pan). This image format capability is made possible through new electronics and a smaller CCD array of just 6 µm. The system is ideal for smaller large-scale and photogrammetric projects, high-resolution (true) orthophoto production, DSM (digital surface model) production, aerotriangulation, corridor mapping, and lidar integration.

About Vexcel Imaging, GmbH
Acquired by Microsoft Corporation in May 2006, Vexcel Imaging GmbH brings more than two decades of photogrammetry expertise to Microsoft’s Bing Maps business unit and is at the heart of the burgeoning Microsoft photogrammetry business. The company’s offerings include its series of UltraCam large- and medium-format digital aerial mapping cameras and related software tools such as the UltraMap 2.1 workflow software.

Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. Independent Consultant Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession.

Photo caption: Jerry Skaw, marketing manager for Microsoft, receiving the MAPPS Technology Innovation award on behalf of Microsoft’s photogrammety division from MAPPS Executive Director, John Palatiello.