The company Z/I Imaging opened its doors in 1999, and was a joint venture between Zeiss and Intergraph, with Intergraph holding 60% and Zeiss 40%. "The whole reason for the spinoff was so we could create a new industry focus that had been lacking," explains Preetha Pulusani, president of Intergraph Mapping & GIS Solutions. "What resulted was the photogrammetry business and earth imaging solutions grew substantially - almost doubled."
Now Intergraph acquires 100% ownership in Z/I Imaging for reasons that benefit both companies. Zeiss wants to focus on other core businesses while maintaining their role as market leader in optics and opto-electronics.
"Intergraph and Carl Zeiss will continue to have a working relationship. The two companies have been working together since the early 1980's to develop analytical stereo plotters and scanners. Today, Z/I Imaging and Zeiss continue their work relationship with Zeiss providing the optics for the Digital Mapping Camera, RMK-TOP camera and the PhotoScan. The two companies have long-standing manufacturing contracts to build leading products for the photogrammetric industry," says Dr. Terry Keating, who has joined Intergraph recently as executive vice president, responsible for Z/I Imaging and complementary service units.
Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions will focus on offering complete geospatial solutions for cartography and map production and enterprisewide mapping and GIS. As a result of the acquisition, Intergraph and Z/I Imaging will be able to offer complementary solutions to their customer-base.
Intergraph reports in vertical business units, and Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions is one vertical business unit and Z/I Imaging is another. Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions' revenues are between $135-140 million annually and Z/I Imaging revenues are at about $35 million. (see Mapping and GIS at Intergraph)
"Intergraph is in a much stronger position now after restructuring, and over the last few years has focused on the businesses in which we're number 1 or 2," says Pulusani. "A consolidation is occurring in the industry, but this was an opportunity to maintain the focus Z/I Imaging has. With some integration of products, Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions and Z/I Imaging can provide even more end to end workflow solutions for our customers."
Areas of integration that will happen in the immediate future are the following: GeoMedia will have some stereo viewing capability added to it. 3D surface modeling, contour generation and surface analysis tools will be integrated into GeoMedia, benefiting from Z/I Imaging's work with elevation data and 3D collection.
In addition, Z/I Imaging's new product TerraShare, an image management and distribution system across the web, allows users easy access to spatially enable imagery. Their new digital mapping camera will create even more pixels. GeoMedia will begin to use TerraShare as part of its back office image management tools to web enable images, just as well as GeoMedia currently web enables vectors and other attribute information.
"Open systems architecture" is the fundamental premise of technologies and platforms that Intergraph builds, for both Intergraph Mapping and GIS Solutions and Z/I Imaging. This means that database ownership and data formats are non-proprietary.
"Z/I Imaging is going to keep a strong sharp focus on being number one in the photogrammetric industry, with synergies that will allow us to grow even faster with product integration," says Keating. "We intend to stay number one with the cameras and scanners we develop. Intergraph as full owner of the company gives us a lot of flexibility."