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Apr 26 2012

What is Trimble up to?

I am really curious about what Trimble is up to and where the company is headed in the future. Trimble leading manufacturers of mapping and survey grade GPS equipment and software.  Earlier in the month it was announced that Trimble acquired the company Gatewing, developers of a streamlined UAV / computer vision 3D mapping system, press release here.  Today I found that Trimble is also buying Google Sketchup, Sketchup blog post here and Trimble press release here.

A 3D mapping company and a community-based 3D modeling program/warehouse in one month -- clearly massive 3D surveying and mapping are at the top of the list for Trimble.

I think this is very exciting, but what comes next?  More importantly perhaps, where do trees, vegetation and the non-built parts of local ecosystems fit into this?

Oct 18 2011

Gatewing UAV Mapping Awarded 'Most Disruptive Innovator'

The Gatewing UAV mapping company was recently acknowledged as the 'Most Disruptive Innovator' at the 2011 Intergeo conference in Germany.  Gatewing sells very high-end solutions for automated RC aircraft mapping with digital cameras, automatically generating orthophotos and DSMs at high resolution.  While the software is proprietary, I have no doubt that it is grounded in both photogrammetry and computer vision.

I have to agree with the award, it is given out "for the innovative application of existing technologies that will cause a significant shift in the market." (Gatewing email, 10/18/2011).  I think that the Ecosynth computer vision approach to ecological remote sensing also represents a disruptive new technology for the research community along those same lines.  Ecosynth is an application of existing technologies that will allow individual ecologists the ability to make very high-quality 3D color scans of landscape vegetation.  The Ecosynth approach means that field researchers can make useful and accurate measurements of study sites using remote sensing, without the need for fixed wing aircraft fly-overs, at relatively low cost, and without being remote sensing experts.  

Now, if only I had realized that the Gatewing office is in Ghent during my family trip in Belgium earlier in the month, 'D'oh!'