The product roadmap addresses the challenges posed by our changing climate.

There is tremendous value in shooting aerial imagery, providing a wealth of information over large swaths of land around the world. This information can be key for a number of industries, with government agencies, insurance companies and social media organizations among the many who turn to companies providing this information. Being able to get a general overview of how things change after weather events, what the landscape looks like before a construction project, and the development of specific areas is a necessity for these industries.

near the map is one of the leaders in providing such aerial imagery, and earlier this month they announcement a host of new features, mostly focused on solving problems stemming from climate change. Don Weigel, Nearmap’s Senior Vice President of Products, took the time to speak with Geo Week News about the new additions to Nearmap’s product roadmap and what their customers can gain from the new offerings.

New layers added to Nearmap AI

One of the big highlights of Nearmap’s announcement was the release of their fifth and latest generation of AI close to the map. As part of the deep learning model enhancement, the company added a slew of new information, increasing the number of layers included in its automated map from 49 layers to 78. As Weigel explained, there has so many additions that it’s hard to narrow down only a few remain as the most important. That said, he highlighted a few, including attributes related to roofs and objects on roofs, as well as surfaces and surface permeability.

These additions are sure to bring value to a number of different industries, insurance and government being two in particular. Roofs are an extremely important part of anything property-related, so having this type of information is crucial for things like helping companies determine repair estimates for roof replacements. With weather events related to climate change becoming more frequent, having this roof damage information will only become more important.

It’s not just the new layers that add value to Nearmaps’ clients, as the client also has a new near-infrared capability to feed better AI data, improving the accuracy of the added surface layers. This will in turn help assess damage and wreckage, which again will not become a priority over time. These improvements have also already been leveraged, with the company’s keynote announcing these additions to NAVIG8 noting that these capabilities have already been used, detecting damage resulting from Hurricane Ian in Florida.

via Nearmap

The new HyperCamera3 system

Another big announcement from Nearmap for their latest additions to their product offerings is their new patented and exclusive aerial camera system, HyperCamera3. The camera will capture leafless spring content in North America early next year. As Weigel explains, the company was looking to achieve some primary goals with its new product. Most important was to provide better Ground Sampling Distance (GSD) than their competitors, resulting in higher resolution and better Ground Sampling Distance. In other words, as Weigel puts it, “this camera is capable of incredibly high resolution and higher altitude.” This means that some very detailed information that previously could only be captured with a drone can be captured with HyperCamera3

He further explains that the camera collects data with an exclusive and radical design. With a set of mirrors, Nearmap is able to capture up to 14 angles for each ground location. This, in turn, leads to more angles to create a smoother reconstruction for a textured mesh and a better overall 3D product. Given the growing importance of 3D modeling as this technology becomes more accessible, this greater accuracy coming from this aerial imagery is a game-changer.

And it’s not just that they’re introducing this new camera, but they’re building enough of them to be able to increase the size of their fleet. Weigel explains that they will now be able to collect a higher percentage of packages, continuing to grow the company’s footprint. This should give customers an even greater amount of information around their area than they already had. Nearmap is a subscription service, and subscribers receive multiple data collections each year along with all past information for a given area. It varies by area, but generally they collect data at least twice a year to capture off-season leaves as well as leaves, with some areas capturing more than that.

Other Nearmap additions

New layers added to Nearmap’s automated map and HyperCamera3 system are just a few of the company’s major improvements. Weigel also explained some of the other key additions made. Perhaps at the top of this list is GeoData Link. Available with a Nearmap subscription, GeoData Link allows users to import their own spatial data into MapBrowserthe company’s software for aerial views, while supporting integration with an ArcGIS map.

He also highlighted Nearmap’s new collaboration tools. The ability of different stakeholders to collaborate seamlessly has always been important, but the pandemic has certainly prompted organizations to seek more remote collaboration tools. Nearmap now offers these tools in MapBrowser. Whereas previously these projects acted as a “single user” where each stakeholder had their own project. With new collaboration features, different users can integrate their own files into a single project and bring everyone’s data together. The company’s next release will add real-time editing, offering a solution that Weigel likens to a Google Doc.

These are just a few of the new solutions offered by Nearmap to provide highly accurate and valuable insights from aerial capture data.

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