Berkeley, USA, December 11, 2007: earthmine inc., a 3D, street-side mapping company, announced it has finalized an exclusive agreement with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to license 3D data-generation software and algorithms created by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and utilized on the Mars Exploration Rover Missions. earthmine recently unveiled its ground-breaking technology for collecting and delivering street-level, three-dimensional geospatial information for cities. The agreement with JPL and Caltech includes an exclusive and perpetual license for photogrammetric technology allowing for the creation of very dense and accurate 3D data from stereo panoramic imagery. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but Caltech has taken an equity position in earthmine.
The agreement between JPL and earthmine includes exclusive use of software and algorithms for street level mapping and asset management, and encompasses stereo vision systems and camera calibration algorithms. earthmine will utilize the software and algorithms as a part of its processing pipeline, which automates the creation of high-quality, seamless panoramic imagery with pixel-for-pixel 3D depth information from its image collection system.
The technology licensed by earthmine is currently utilized as a part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Wide-angle stereo cameras are mounted on NASA’s twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) launched toward Mars in 2003. The licensed software and algorithms are used to create a 3D representation of the local terrain, allowing autonomous routing of the MERs through the Martian environment. earthmine has combined this JPL technology with its unique, capture hardware and web delivery technology to deliver 3D data with unprecedented density and accuracy.
“The JPL technology provides an unsurpassed level of accuracy and density in our 3D data generation process,” said earthmine co-founders John Ristevski and Anthony Fassero. “The problem of generating very dense and accurate 3D data from wide-angle images is an extremely difficult one, which engineers and scientists at JPL have been working on solving for over a decade. Licensing this technology from JPL gives earthmine a significant advantage and will enable ongoing improvements in our technology.”