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“Extraordinary development creates a great backlog for survey data”

ROLF BECKER


ROLF BECKER
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR,
MAPS GEOSYSTEMS

Tell us something about MAPS geosystems – its vision, mission and achievements.
MAPS stands for Middle East Aerial Photogrammetric Surveys. Established 32 years ago, today the company has carried out over 1000 aerial survey projects in 70 countries. With a staff of over 200, and operating 2 survey aircraft it counts amongst the prominent aerial survey companies worldwide.

Our mission is to promote development by constructive participation. Through 30 years of dedicated development of our procedures, the building of a relevant knowledge base and hardened by tough competition on an international market, MAPS has a solid foundation to expand. In our achievements the unusual high system engineering effort was instrumental, which account for approximately 15 % of our manpower, which not only provided us with advanced highly automated production procedures, but also enabled us to pioneer many procedures that by now have found their place into the geospatial industry.

What are the various products and services, which are being offered by the company?
MAPS offers a comprehensive service starting from aerial photography – or raw satellite data as the case may be – to geodetic control, 3D data capture, DTMs, image enhancement through to the delivery of ‘database ready’ data that plug effortless into the clients GIS. Relying entirely on its own resources, MAPS offers full geographic data acquisition services including: Airborne data acquisition (aerial photography and GPS); Satellite image data processing; Ground Surveys and Geodetic Control, including network; rehabilitation; 2D and 3D photogrammetric data capture, High resolution DTMs and Orthophotos; Detailed vector mapping; Data processing and data migration to advanced data models i.e. geodatabases; System Installation; Training and Consultancy.

How would you comprehend the contemporary technological trends in aerial photography and satellite imagery in the Middle East region in particular and the world in general?
GIS space technology, notably GPS and very high resolution satellite imagery is literally heaven sent. This applies more so in the Middle East, where in addition to the lack of existing data, the extraordinary development creates a great backlog for survey data. The impact of GPS on our industry has already been tremendous. This will be further increased after 2008 when the Galileo system becomes operational and accuracy, reliability, accessibility as well as operating facilities will greatly improve.

Industry estimates forecast that digital images – acquired airborne or space borne – will increase the data volume within 6 years 100 fold. Likewise with the increase in imagery, the volumes and complexity of vector and attribute data will increase rapidly as the systems to manage such data are available and the benefits of well-structured GIS data become more evident. As far as very High Resolution Satellite Imagery is concerned, its impact in the Middle East is far greater than for instance in the USA or Europe. MAPS realized that potential and became DigitalGlobe’s QuickBird distributor for the Middle East and Africa. One has to realize though that whatever can be done with very high resolution satellite images, can be done by aerial photography better, more accurately and usually cheaper. What makes satellite images so attractive in the Middle East is that here governmental restrictions on the acquisition and use of aerial photography are particularly severe, causing many organizations, public as well as private, to turn to satellite image based solution, even when this results in higher costs than using aerial photography.