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AeroScientific Flight Management Systems Company Partners to Deliver Turnkey Airborne Mapping System

In May 2017, AeroScientific Flight Management Systems Company announced a vital partnership with Hasselblad Camera Company, according to a company press release. Together, the organizations are poised to release an innovative turnkey airborne mapping system. Discover more about the partnership, its product, and what it represents for the geographic information science and technology (GIST) industry.

Meet the Partners

AeroScientific Flight Management Systems Company is based in the Australian city of Adelaide. During more than five years of developing flight management systems, AeroScientific has earned a reputation as an industry leader. Large and small operators in nations around the world use its award-winning Aviatrix flight management system, according to an AeroScientific press release.

Hasselblad is a Swedish manufacturer of medium-format cameras and lenses. Formed in 1941, the company’s cameras are known for their ergonomic designs and superior image quality. Every Hasselblad camera is handcrafted in Gothenburg, where the company is based. It also has offices in prominent international cities, including New York, Tokyo, London, Paris, Hamburg, and Copenhagen, along with distributors in many other foreign markets, according to the Hasselblad website.

The New Turnkey Airborne Mapping System

AeroScientific and Hasselblad’s new turnkey airborne mapping system integrates technology from AeroScientific’s award-winning Aviatrix flight management system (FMS) and Hasselblad’s A6D 100-megapixel medium-format aerial camera, according to the AeroScientific press release.

“Partnering with Hasselblad has given us a unique opportunity to create a brand new, fully integrated airborne mapping system,” explained Dr. Paul Dare, the chief executive officer of AeroScientific, in his company’s press release. “The new A6D 100-megapixel medium format aerial camera is an excellent sensor which integrates seamlessly with our Aviatrix flight management system.”

The new turnkey airborne mapping system features a modified version of the Aviatrix FMS with upgraded hardware and adapted software. The Aviatrix FMS lets users control cameras, like Hasselblad’s A6D camera, in manned aircraft. Functions include pilot navigation, meta data logging, and camera triggering at specific locations. The system seamlessly integrates with popular global positioning system (GPS) and inertial measurement unit (IMU) systems, gyro-stabilized mounts, and other hardware. AeroScientific has also built a new airborne flight computer, dubbed the FlightCube, for efficient and easy operation of the new system.

Hasselblad’s A6D aerial camera features a high-definition 100-megapixel sensor (11600 x 8700). This robustly designed camera features fast shutter speeds and a large variety of lenses.

Together, the Aviatrix FMS and A6D camera form an innovative, flexible, and powerful aerial mapping system. Successful preliminary flight tests with the A6D and FlightCube are early indicators of the system’s strong performance.

“As a pilot myself, I know the importance of having a reliable system that is easy to use in the air,” Dare said. “This new system that we have developed with Hasselblad is exactly what every pilot wants: it makes mapping operations quick and easy.”

AeroScientific and Hasselblad’s new airborne imaging system made its debut at London’s Geo Business trade show in May.

What the Innovation Means for the GIST Sector

Aerial mapping has an established history in the GIST industry. Mining technology provider Maptek explained the way airborne mapping could help its clients better identify and plan for future repairs and upgrades. It noted that mapping from the air, as opposed to the ground, minimized disturbance to local people and infrastructure. Large-scale ground surveys may call for the temporary closure of roads and railways, but aerial mappers need never cause such interruptions. Aerial mapping can also be used for photogrammetry, which Maptek explains is the science of making measurements from photographs.

In some cases, aerial mapping can also be a safer way to gather data than ground surveys. Maptek notes that when flying, there is no need to approach active machinery or unsafe terrain. This is valuable not only when mapping within the mining industry, as Maptek’s clients do, but also when mapping in areas with landmines, dangerous terrain, or a high degree of crime. While flying carries some degree of risk, this is minimal when aerial mapping systems are used by trained pilots in operational, approved airspaces.

The turnkey nature of AeroScientific and Hasselblad’s airborne mapping system has been widely publicized. Noise Solutions, a noise control technology company, explained that turnkey products are fully equipped and ready to use on purchase. AeroScientific and Hasselblad’s airborne mapping system was subjected to rigorous testing to help users feel confident the product will work as claimed.

A turnkey airborne mapping system like this is typically more affordable than a customized product. While the lack of custom features may disappoint someone with an in-depth knowledge of geographic information systems and technology, users without sufficient knowledge to understand how best to customize airborne mapping systems for their needs may be attracted to this one-size-fits-all system. Through their invention, AeroScientific and Hasselblad have made airborne mapping and, by extension, GIST, more accessible to organizations.

Both AeroScientific and Hasselblad have a proven track record within their industries, as do the Aviatrix FMS and A6D camera that come together for the joint airborne mapping system. As the components are so well known and successful, trust in the new modified system has already been established. Most consumers are likely to feel confident they are investing in a high-quality airborne mapping system they can use quickly and easily.

To upgrade your geographic information science and technology skills and either influence the development and application of new mapping systems or learn how to improve your use of GIST tools and make spatial thinking a core-learning objective, consider a Geographic Information Science and Technology degree from USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute.