Pictometry captures Oklahoma disaster imagery within hours of the storm

When a disaster strikes, timing is everything.  Immediately following the May 2013 tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., Pictometry International Corp. deployed their planes over the area to capture images that will be used in the days, weeks and even years ahead to support disaster recovery efforts including long-term rebuilding and damage analysis.

Using its PentaView Camera System, Pictometry captured and created detailed, functional, accurate imagery and analytical tools immediately after the disaster. This was possible due to Pictometry technology including its custom-designed, United States Geological Survey (USGS)-certified PentaView camera combined with the patented technology behind the Rapid Access™ image processing techniques.  These technologies, images and tools provide critical information to a variety of end users ranging from state and local government officials to FEMA, insurance providers and restoration contractors.  

Pictometry’s PentaView Camera System architecture was designed and built by the company and is the only oblique camera system to receive the USGS Camera Type Certification. Pictometry continues to upgrade the system with higher resolution sensors and methods for increasing the accuracy above what is normally obtainable from the IMU-based Position and Orientation System. The five cameras provide oblique views from all four cardinal directions as well as a view from directly overhead that can be orthorectified to create an AccuPlus™ orthomosaic, which has been accepted into the USGS national map program.

Presently, Pictometry has 73 PentaView-equipped planes in its fleet, making it the largest privately held aerial imaging fleet in the country.  Pictometry continuously monitors national weather patterns to ensure that planes are available for projected major storm paths. The company maintains a large database of prebuilt flight plans for most major metropolitan areas as well as many suburban and rural areas – enough to cover over 85% of the households in the US.

Pictometry’s Disaster Response Operations Center, located in Rochester, NY, can generate additional flight plans quickly and can distribute them directly to the planes through installed communications links in the plane.

The company’s Critical Response program for utilities includes the ability to re-task aircraft in flight and to deliver fully functional image libraries to the utility company’s intranet within minutes of landing.

The Pictometry pilot checks in with the local Air Traffic Control to obtain authorization to fly the affected area. Once they receive permission and have the go ahead from Pictometry’s Disaster Response Operations Center, the pilot can commence capturing the post-disaster imagery.

The PentaView Capture System is fully automated, capturing imagery with sufficient overlap to allow for full oblique coverage and full stereo vertical coverage. The system provides the pilot with a heads-up display for flight line data, which allows the pilot to concentrate on flying the plane and watching for air traffic. The capture system does the rest, recording the images and metadata on an array of hard drives that can store several days’ worth of imagery.

Once captured, the imagery is expedited back to Rochester for fast processing and rapid upload to the Pictometry Online (POL) system that allows users to access not only the days-old, post-disaster imagery, but also the pre-disaster imagery from the growing collection of over 250,000,000 images.
Pictometry’s response in Oklahoma is not an isolated situation; the company has captured imagery after nearly every major hurricane since 2001.  The ability to process the imagery in the plane to produce fully georeferenced oblique images relies on a patent-pending, real-time airborne processing system, coupled with Pictometry’s patented core technology.  The image accuracy can be refined in post-processing and the final images uploaded to POL soon after they arrive back in Rochester thanks to the patent-pending Rapid Access™ methodology. 

The POL system allows any authorized user to access and integrate the uploaded imagery for analysis purposes.  In addition to its easy-to-use software that runs completely within a web browser, POL imagery can also be accessed through OGC-compliant protocols such as WMS and through extensions into numerous native applications, such as Esri’s ArcGIS, numerous Enhanced 911 call center applications, and many computer-assisted mass appraisal applications.

For additional information on Pictometry and its disaster response capabilities please visit www.pictometry.com or call 888.771.9714. 



Pictometry is the leading provider of geo-referenced, oblique aerial imagery. Pictometry’s merger with EagleView Technologies, the inventor of 3D aerial measurement technology, in January 2013, means the company now offers a complete suite of technology solutions in the GIS, measurement and analytical space.

GIS and mapping is enhanced by Pictometry’s high-resolution oblique images that, unlike traditional orthogonal (top-down) images, show each side of every structure, roadway and other outdoor object, with views from all four cardinal directions.   Since each pixel is individually geo-referenced, users can quickly and precisely measure geographic position, height, distance and altitude directly on the images in real-time. The professional-quality, high-resolution aerial imagery is stored in the cloud, eliminating the need for local, manual management of imagery.

Used daily by GIS, county assessment, public safety, defense, insurance, construction and utility professionals, Pictometry solutions bring field work to the desktop.  Solutions are easily integrated into existing workflows through strategic partnerships and make it easy for users to make informed decisions and enhance productivity.

Pictometry’s unparalleled image library contains more than 210 million images captured by a fleet of 73 aircraft and a patented capture process that includes the only oblique camera system to receive USGS certification.

To learn more about Pictometry solutions please visit www.pictometry.com or call 888.771.9714.

100 Town Centre Drive, Suite A
Rochester, NY 14623


» Back to our Aerial Mapping Fall '13 Issue

Website design and hosting provided by 270net Technologies in Frederick, Maryland.