Photo Science Receives Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Award from MAPPS

January 05, 2011 -- Photo Science was presented with the prestigious MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Award in the Airborne and Satellite Data Acquisition category for their “Humboldt Bay Ecosystem Mapping” project completed for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Contracted by NOAA’s Coastal Services Center (CSC), Photo Science was tasked to acquire imagery to map submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) for natural resource management initiatives underway in Humboldt Bay, CA. The SAV mapping required imagery to be captured at a specific tide stage with tight sun angle and optimal weather parameters. Calculating acceptable tide control and sun angle scenarios resulted in only 40 possible acquisition days over a 2-year period. Out of those 40 potential days, humbling weather conditions eliminated the potential for acquisition on all but a single day. The total window based on tides and weather was less than 2 hours.

In response to this challenge, Photo Science created a Flight Planning Application for aerial flight operations to compare tide, sun angle, and weather by date. This unique ability to “calibrate” local tide gauges based on specific weather conditions offered unparalleled capabilities for flight planning. This protocol was used successfully to obtain the Humboldt Bay imagery and reflected the true collaborative nature of all project stakeholders.

“Photo Science demonstrated an inordinate amount of innovation in their flight planning operations to make this data capture successful…The Humboldt bay images will be used to develop change analysis maps for important habitats such as eelgrass, salt marsh, and macro-algal beds…Overall, the effective management and information Photo Science provided between 2007 and 2009 were invaluable and ensured a successful mapping project”, stated Nicholas (Miki) Schmidt, Division Chief Coastal Geospatial Services, NOAA Coastal Services Center.


Formed in 1982, MAPPS is the only national association exclusively comprised of private firms in the remote sensing, spatial data and geographic information systems field in the United States. The MAPPS membership spans the entire spectrum of the geospatial community, including Member Firms engaged in satellite and airborne remote sensing, surveying, photogrammetry, aerial photography, LIDAR, hydrography, bathymetry, charting, aerial and satellite image processing, GPS, and GIS data collection and conversion services. MAPPS also includes Associate Member Firms, which are companies that provide hardware, software, products and services to the geospatial profession in the United States and other firms from around the world. Independent Consultant Members are sole proprietors engaged in consulting in or to the geospatial profession, or provides a consulting service of interest to the geospatial profession.

For more information on MAPPS, please visit

About Photo Science

Founded in 1974, Photo Science is a full-service geospatial firm, specializing in aerial imaging and data collection and processing, LiDAR acquisition and processing, photogrammetric mapping, remote sensing, GIS, surveying, and mobile mapping services. The firm maintains a nationwide presence in nine offices located in Lexington, KY (headquarters); Washington, DC; Philadelphia, PA; Ann Arbor, MI; Colorado Springs, CO; Oakland, CA; Atlanta, GA; Orlando, FL; and St. Petersburg, FL. Photo Science’s professional and technical staff are devoted to providing the highest quality geospatial products and services to federal, state, and private sector clients.

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