October 10th, 2006 -- Calgary, Alberta, Canada— North West Geomatics Ltd. today announced its detailed plans to create a new digital elevation model (DEM) for the province of Alberta. Commencing in the spring of 2007, North West will utilize the latest Lidar and airborne, dual frequency synthetic aperture radar technologies to accomplish this substantial task.
Current plans will see the heavily forested and rugged foothills areas of the province being covered with high accuracy Lidar data. Acquisition and processing procedures will result in a highly accurate bare earth and full feature dataset for the entire region. These plans will see in excess of 100,000 square kilometers of area being covered with Lidar. North West has extensive experience in Lidar technology and over the past 3 years has accumulated the largest proprietary database of Lidar in Canada. Current holdings are in excess of 50,000 km2 in NE British Columbia and Alberta, nearly 3 times the holdings of any competing data base.
The balance of the plains areas of Alberta will be acquired using the latest in dual frequency IFSAR data in partnership with North West’s partner, EarthData International, of Frederick Maryland. The GEOSAR system employs a proprietary dual frequency interferometric approach to obtain ground accuracies far superior to any existing airborne or satellite SAR system. The GEOSAR system collects an extremely large swath with each flight line which is essential in collecting the entire plains areas of Alberta in a timely and accurate manner. The GEOSAR areas will be augmented with strategic Lidar data to ground truth and provide the highest possible accuracy with this technology
In anticipation of this plan, North West conducted a pilot survey using GEOSAR to provide digital elevation data over one of North West’s proprietary Lidar areas near Grand Cache, Alberta. A detailed analysis was performed comparing the ground and forest cover data determined from GEOSAR to the Lidar data. Recent developments in this dual frequency technology have confirmed a reliable RMSE accuracy of 1m in both forested and unforested areas.
North West’s Vice President and General Manager, Tim Crago, stated, “This program has been underway for a number of months and is the result of demand from our existing private sector and government clients. The launch of this provincial wide program is a natural extension of our past speculative efforts and will fill a void that exists by providing a highly accurate and homogeneous DEM for the entire province. It is our intention to make the data widely available through our Valtus Imagery Services distribution system giving our customers the same cost effective and reliable service they currently enjoy with our ortho imagery database.” North West’s ability to serve the new DEM data through Valtus will allow for reliable access and extremely effective use of the data.
North West is currently in partnership discussions with select key industry companies to provide additional resources to the program.
The entire dataset will be collected over a two year period with priority regions established jointly between North West and its clients. Opportunity exists for initial partners in the program to gain access to the entire data DEM data base through upfront investment at a preferential cost. For information regarding this partnership, please contact Tim Crago at (403) 461-2235.
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