Aerotec Provides Airborne LIDAR for IBM’s “Smarter Planet” Videos

March 24, 2010 -- Picayune, MS – Aerotec, LLC recently provided airborne LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) for IBM's "Smarter Planet" series of videos. “Data Anthem” was produced by Ogilvy & Mather New York and directed by James Frost of Zoo Films. Aerotec's airborne LIDAR was used for the opening scene and some of the follow-on scenes. The videos sought to use the most compelling, arresting ways of visualizing actual data to complement the message of the importance of data, the context for its proliferation, and the enormous opportunities that lie within it.

IBM’s “Smarter Planet” videos are being used to convey the idea that the data all around us is spatially and logically “connected” and can be processed in a variety of ways to enrich our daily life on the planet while preserving the planet and its resources at the same time. In other words, work smarter not harder to achieve the desired result.

Aerotec provided airborne LIDAR pointcloud data for approximately seven (7) square miles of the downtown area of Houston, TX at a nominal point density of 40 LIDAR points per square meter. Emphasis was placed on detailed definitions of all buildings from the top of the buildings down to street level. Street details were also provided, including cars, trucks, and pedestrians. Additionally, emphasis was placed on infrastructure such as elevated roadways, railroads, drainage features, and other elevated structures. Post production added dimension and space within the environment to really convey the idea that our world is alive with data.

“It became very important that we find a way to show this data in a colorful, vibrant and optimistic manner that would stay true to the voice of IBM,” stated James Frost, Zoo Films director.

This is Aerotec’s second collaboration with Hollywood-based Zoo Films director James Frost. In 2008, Aerotec provided airborne color 3D LIDAR models (large outdoor scenes) to Zoo Films for the production of a new and innovative music video featuring the alternative British rock group RADIOHEAD and their release, "House of Cards".

Aerotec’s Jim Dow, Scott Dow, Jamie Campbell, Danny Gray, and William Wallace, were pleased to be able to contribute to this innovative use of LIDAR pointcloud digital imagery.

“It’s been very rewarding working with a group of people who not only appreciate creative uses of data, but bring it to a whole new level,” stated Jim Dow, Aerotec’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is great to see the technology being used so creatively and in a way that will reach a new audiences.”

The video can be viewed at or downloaded at


Aerotec, LLC is a value-added services company that uses state-of-the-art airborne remote sensing (data capture) and data analysis technologies to provide topographic maps and models to its customers throughout North America. Aerotec's primary technologies include Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR/laser-scan), digital photography, proprietary and commercial (off-the-shelf) software, and specialized engineering analysis packages. Aerotec is an active member of the EIGS geospatial technology cluster of the University of Mississippi. For more information, visit

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