EarthData Holdings announced the purchase of ISTAR Americas, Incorporated, a move that cements EarthData’s commitment to provide its clients with the most advanced digital imaging capabilities in the industry. The U.S. subsidiary of ISTAR SA of France, ISTAR Americas, developed in the U.S. the unique mapping process that rapidly generates from airborne digital imagery a robust digital surface model (DSM), and orthorectified images of the ground and features (“true ortho images”). The high resolution and metric accuracy of these digital orthophotos makes them an ideal GIS base map for counties and cities, especially in highly urbanized areas where the ISTAR process eliminates building lean and allows for precise 2D and 3D feature extraction, line of site analysis, counter terrorism planning, and emergency response.
The acquisition of ISTAR Americas is another brick in the foundation of EarthData’s move to offer clients exclusive new services in 2003. ISTAR Mapping Services, together with the group’s newly commercialized radar service, GeoSAR Mapping Services, broadens EarthData’s ability to provide clients with the most advanced solutions for their geospatial needs. Complementing these two new service lines are two newly acquired Leica ADS40 advanced digital imaging systems, two Leica ALS40 lidar systems, and a suite of other aerial sensors and processing systems. With its move to a state-of-the-art production operation in Frederick, Maryland in June 2003, EarthData will house under one roof this full suite of data processing and product development operations.
Most of ISTAR America’s employees accepted posts with EarthData and will be working in business development, processing, and program management, which will ensure a smooth transition of the technology. EarthData already has utilized the ISTAR processing system with its new Leica ADS40 digital camera and the results were remarkable. EarthData’s exclusive new service — ISTAR Mapping Services — provides both ground and true ortho imagery in 8-bit and 16-bit black and white, 24-bit color, and infrared. The highly accurate DSM, while serving to orthorectify each image, also is available for 3D visualization and line of site applications. A derived digital terrain model also will support generation of topographic contours. Regardless of which image or surface model product is initially requested by the client, since all data sets are collected from the same initial flight, later requests for value-added ancillary products can be accommodated easily. EarthData is an airborne data collection, mapping, and GIS services company that provides clients with customized products and services to support a wide range of land-use, resource management, and engineering activities. With its fleet of aircraft, the company collects aerial photography, uses an airborne laser sensing system (lidar) and radar (GeoSAR) to produce 3D terrain models, and develops or deploys other remote sensing technologies to detect thermal, moisture, or multispectral information about the earth’s surface. EarthData offices in California, Florida, Maryland, and North Carolina use this data to create and supply photogrammetric, lidar, radar, and digital orthophoto mapping and GIS products and services.