Graz, Austria — November 15, 2011 – The Microsoft UltraCam business unit today announced that it recently sold an UltraCamLp photogrammetric digital aerial camera system to Blue Skies Consulting, based in Belen, New Mexico. The purchase for Blue Skies, a company with two planes and a staff of just five, marks its first digital aerial camera system.
“We’re a small company and this is a big deal!” said Tami Wiggins, Blue Skies’ CEO. “We have actually been ready to add digital technology to our capabilities for a couple of years. We decided the time was right to go ahead and make the move to digital to tap into the potential of the local market.”
Winner of the Technology Innovation category in the 4th Annual MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Awards competition, the UltraCamLp combines innovative hardware, electronics, and software that result in a light and compact camera system. The camera collects five spectral bands per exposure: red, green, blue, and near-infrared data, in addition to the higher-resolution panchromatic data. The UltraCamLp features an image footprint collection capacity of 92 megapixels (11,704 x 7,920 pixels pan), made possible through advanced electronics and a CCD array of just 6 ìm.
“The UltraCamLp system design works really well in small aircraft, given the absence of the additional cables and data drives that are typical of the larger systems,” explained Mike Racine, Blues Skies’ President. “It’s ideal for large-scale photography work and engineering-type contracts. Its footprint is sufficient but not excessive—engineering and mapping companies with limited IT budgets seem to appreciate smaller file sizes while still having RGB, PAN, and IR data for environmental work.”
Also factoring into the company’s decision to buy the UltraCam is its compatibility with existing systems. “I was able to integrate equipment such as our IMU and flight management system and didn’t need to replace equipment that l already own and am already experienced with,” noted Racine.
“The Microsoft UltraCam team is extremely pleased to assist Blue Skies in making this transition to digital aerial sensor technology,” said Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft Business Director. “We worked closely with the company over a considerable stretch of time to assist them in identifying the system solution best suited for them, given the size of their organization and their project considerations. The UltraCamLp is absolutely the right system for their business.”
Wiggins echoed Wiechert’s statement about the sales process, “For Blue Skies, the focus was not so much about which camera system is less expensive but about the price to performance ratio—how to work out the best solution for Blue Skies AND our customers. Microsoft worked hard to get us the right equipment while maximizing the value for our dollar.”
Added Racine, “The entire buying process was a unique and refreshing experience. We visited the UltraCam operation in Graz and met the young, enthusiastic, super-sharp folks in hardware and software development and support. Their attitude is not one of ‘Look … we’ve done it this way for 100 years.’ They listen to you, understand, and know what you are trying to do. We were much more comfortable with this approach than dealing with someone just trying to push products on us. Meanwhile, the support team who is just over in Boulder, Colorado, did an excellent job during installation and training, helping us get acquainted with our new camera.”
About Blues Skies Consulting, LLC.
Blue Skies is a certified woman-owned small business that provides aerial photography and aerial data acquisition for remote sensing and mapping applications. The company, established in 1999, is registered as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise with the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program and the New Mexico Unified Certification Program. The company also achieved ISO 9001:2000 certification for its aerial photography services in September 2005, and continues to maintain the certification to the upgraded and current standard, which is now ISO 9001:2008 . Blue Skies’ awards include the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year for 2003 and the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Woman-Owned Business Contractor of the Year for 2010. For additional information visit the Blue Skies web site: www.blueskies.aero
About Microsoft’s UltraCam Business Unit
With its operations based in Graz, Austria, and sales and support teams in North America, Microsoft’s Photogrammetry Division brings more than two decades of photogrammetry expertise to Microsoft’s Bing Maps business unit. The division is responsible for the highly successful line of UltraCam digital aerial mapping systems that include the UltraCamLp, UltraCamXp and UltraCamXp Wide Angle and the new UltraCam Eagle digital photogrammetric sensors. Rounding out the UltraCam mapping systems offering is the UltraMap workflow software system that provides an automated project-based color balancing module and additional quality control tools.
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