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Imageos

An odd-looking van sprouts 13 digital cameras that its builder wants to use to photograph 50 million buildings in the country while driving, taking pictures every 15 feet.

The van’s drive-by snaps would be matched against GPS satellite positioning data and aerial photographs in a database. Police, insurance agents and others then could call up overhead and street-level views simply by entering an address.

The setup from Imageos Inc. was one of the security-related exhibits on display at this year’s CeBIT America technology trade show, which opened here Tuesday. Other companies were showing software tools to secure wireless networks, monitor employee surfing and protect users from viruses and spyware.

The main market for Imageos’ photographs would be insurance appraisals, but the Boulder, Colo., startup is also touting the pictures for “homeland security” applications, law enforcement and emergency services.

Imageos’ Paul Jurasin said that thanks to the aerial photos, the database could show whether a house has a swimming pool or a fence in the back, details that could be of interest both to insurance companies and police.

“It gives them more information than they would get by driving up to a house, before they get there,” Jurasin said.

So far, Imageos has photographed only Orlando, Fla. If it gets funding, it plans to photograph the 25 largest cities in the country over the next five years using more than a dozen vans.