May 15, 2006
Microsoft Buys Vexcel Corporation
Please note that contributed articles, blog entries, and comments posted on GIScafe.com are the views and opinion of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the management and staff of Internet Business Systems and its subsidiary web-sites.
Message from the Editor
Welcome to GISWeekly! Last week Microsoft bought Vexcel Corporation, a company well known to the geospatial community as a leader in photogrammetry, remote sensing and imagery. This acquisition, which will become a subsidiary of Microsoft, was made to complement and enhance the Microsoft Virtual Earth vision. Read about this acquisition in this week's Industry News.
GISWeekly examines select top news each week, picks out worthwhile reading from around the web, and special interest items you might not find elsewhere. This issue will feature Industry News, Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances, Announcements, Awards, Financials, Appointments, Wins, New Products, Around the Web and Upcoming Events.
GISWeekly welcomes letters and feedback from readers, so let us know what you think.
Click Here to send me your comments.
Susan Smith, Managing Editor
Microsoft Buys Vexcel Corporation
by Susan Smith
Last week Microsoft bought Vexcel Corporation, a company well known to the geospatial community as a leader in photogrammetry, remote sensing and imagery. This acquisition, which will become a subsidiary of Microsoft, was made to complement and enhance the Microsoft Virtual Earth vision.
The announcement of the acquisition was made at ASPRS, a first time event for Microsoft, but they will probably be at every one from now on, according to Microsoft Virtual Earth Business Unit spokesmen. With this acquisition and the previous acquisition of GeoTango, Microsoft is clearly moving into the geospatial world.
Tom Bailey, director of marketing, Microsoft Virtual Earth Business Unit and Steven Lawler, general manager of the Virtual Earth Business Unit and John Curlander, former CEO of Vexcel Corporation spoke about the Vexcel acquisition and what it means to Microsoft.
Steven Lawler said that John Curlander and the Vexcel team will join the Virtual Earth Business Unit team. In addition to the acquisition, Microsoft announced the new Ultra-Cam X digital camera and the UltraMap Server from the former Vexcel.
Microsoft Virtual Earth: A Destination and a Platform
and understand what it's like there. They can navigate from references and hints of information, they can understand that where they are trying to get to and what they're trying to find."
this to be both a destination and a platform." The Windows Live Local destination site is set up so you can do all kinds of local search and mapping functionality, but they also want the platform for government and business to use technology to incorporate their data. For the consumer, the Virtual Earth team wants the platform to be "highly contextual and relevant."
With this much said, it is no wonder that Vexcel was approached to provide the remote sensing/imagery piece of the puzzle. Key reasons for acquiring Vexcel include:
place Microsoft in the hardware market.
John Curlander, former CEO of Vexcel Corporation and now general manager for the Virtual Earth Business Unit at Microsoft, noted that this might seem like a "strange marriage" between Microsoft and Vexcel, as Vexcel is a mapping and remote sensing company with customers in the government space and Microsoft is a consumer software company. However, the blending of these two companies will ultimately benefit both the government and the consumer space with enhanced visual assets and content.
The latest version of the Ultra-Cam can collect on the order of four gigabits per second of data, very high overlap data, very high dynamic range and the quality of the product to start making the automation possible. "The new camera is the largest camera in terms of megapixels: it has 260 megapixels and four spectral bands to operate in so it has a remote sensing capability, over 14,000 cross track elements so we can fly much higher and have a very wide swath and we can go down to 1 inch resolution with triple redundant stereo imaging. We can get very high resolution and full stereo quality so we can construct the geometry with the stereo," Curlander said.
Curlander pointed out that 3-4 gigibits of data per second adds up to a lot of data in a short time. Vexcel also introduced at ASPRS their fully automated workflow which includes everything from cataloguing to archiving plus the whole processing chain, i.e., orienting all the images, the aerial triangulation, creation of the digital elevation model, and the full ortho-mosaic product. This system is called the UltraMap System with the UltraMap Server, which is the catalog/archive piece. The UltraMap worksuite is the full processor. This is the core technology Vexcel will employ to build out Virtual Earth for Microsoft.
Most importantly, said Curlander, "Once we create these databases and build these effective GIS layers, we need to work with the people who can build the applications on top of it, who can make it interesting to consumers, in addition to what we're doing in the local search."
You can find the full GISCafe event calendar here.
To read more news, click here.
-- Susan Smith, GISCafe.com Managing Editor.
Be the first to review this article