Bluesky Soars with Eagle Aerial Mapping Camera

Leicestershire, UK, 23 January 2014 – Aerial mapping company Bluesky is taking to the skies with a new large format digital aerial photogrammetric camera. Purchased from Microsoft’s photogrammetry division the UltraCam Eagle has a larger image footprint and a higher rate of image capture than other cameras on the market. These features allow for more efficient data capture; with each image covering more of the land below, in addition to the Eagle’s breath-taking image quality. As well as the state of the art aerial mapping camera, Bluesky also purchased UltraNav; the Microsoft flight management and georeferencing system, and a camera mount specifically designed for use on survey aircraft. 
Rachel Tidmarsh, Managing Director of Leicestershire based Bluesky, commented, “The UltraCam Eagle will allow us to maximise our data capture capacity both at home and overseas. We can make the most of the sometimes limited weather windows here in the UK, increasing our update programme from every 5 years to every 3 years, and we can also deploy the system during the winter months for project work around the world.”
Technical Director James Eddy added, “We selected the UltraCam Eagle for its large image footprint, its speed of acquisition as well as its amazing image quality. We have worked with UltraCam since 2005 so we are familiar with the system and the company and we know the new camera will be compatible with our existing workflows.”
Alexander Wiechert, Microsoft Business Director said, “We value Bluesky as a long term customer, having previously purchased an UltraCamX. We are confident this new acquisition will exceed their expectations and support Bluesky’s future ventures, ambitious growth plans and innovative product developments.”
The UltraCam Eagle sets a new standard for digital aerial photography. With an image footprint of more than 20,000 pixels, an image capture rate of 3.7 gigabits per second and an integrated storage capacity of nearly four thousand images the UltraCam Eagle can capture more data in less time, completing mapping projects with fewer flight lines and greater efficiency. Described as ultra-reliable, ultra-efficient and ultra-user friendly the UltraCam Eagle is also lightweight and compact meaning it takes up less space in the aircraft further helping to minimise fuel consumption.
Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial imaging and remote sensing data collection and processing. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies. Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography, 3D landscape/cityscape visualisations and prints and also runs a national mapping centre, providing digital mapping, satellite imagery and aerial photography including ultra-high resolution imagery of cities and towns. Bluesky is now leading the way developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UK’s first nationwide map of solar potential, citywide ‘heat loss’ maps, 3D maps of trees and their proximity to buildings and historical imagery.
The UltraCam Eagle features a pan image footprint of 20,010 pixels across the flight strip and includes enhanced electronics for improved frame rate and less noise compared to previous UltraCam systems, and innovative high-resolution, high-performance lenses and state-of-the art CCD technology for sharp images with a high dynamic range. The UltraCam Eagle is the first multi-cone large format digital photogrammetric camera to offer an exchangeable lens system with 80mm, 100mm, and 210mm options. This digital camera system boasts an integrated housing concept with all of the parts residing in a modular sensor head. The small physical form factor of the UltraCam Eagle requires minimal space in the aircraft and makes installation and operation simple.
UltraNav is an integrated unit that consolidates all navigation and flight planning components for simpler installation and more economical operations when compared to similar “standalone” systems. UltraNav is comprised of embedded GNSS/inertial hardware, pilot and operator displays, and office software for flight planning and generation of exterior orientation.
With its operations based in Graz, Austria, and sales and support teams in North America, Microsoft’s UltraCam business unit brings more than two decades of photogrammetry expertise to Microsoft’s Bing Maps business unit. Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.