Connect with us at Locate18

 A 3D textured mesh of westpac house in adelaide, SA. 

A 3D textured mesh of westpac house in adelaide, SA. 

At Nearmap we are focused on (OK, obsessed with) delivering an accurate, current, high-resolution visualisation of what’s happening in your location. We call it the truth on the ground.

What goes into creating that seemingly simple snapshot of your on-site reality, though, goes far beyond point and click.

Sure, there’s a lab in our Sydney headquarters where GIS specialists, sensor technology experts, and vision systems engineers like to hang out, and a whole bunch of hardware and processing magic that comes out of our location intelligence pipeline. But we can’t do it alone — sometimes, we need to check in with the global geospatial community and take the pulse of the international trends and standards that are pushing geospatial technology to the next stage of growth.

That’s why we’re hopping a flight to Adelaide next week to get fresh inspiration at APAC’s biggest geospatial conference, Locate18. It’s an especially big year for Locate: they are combining forces with GeoSmart Asia for what promises to be a globe-shattering international geospatial pow wow.

If you’re planning to be at Locate this year, swing by our booth (#14) for a preview of our just-released wide-scale 3D reality capture of Australia’s major capital cities. You can also connect with our team at the Esri booth for tips on using Nearmap in ArcGIS.

Pre-book an appointment to chat to us here.

If you’re not attending this year, no worries — we’ll be sharing content during the conference and post-event, so stay tuned.

  • What: Locate18
  • When: 9-11 April
  • Find Nearmap: At booth 14
  • Join our panel discussion: Meet our product manager for 3D, Kevin Kwok, during an interactive panel discussion on future proofing in the Interaction Zone on Wednesday, 11 April, at 1:25pm
  • Chat to us about: How wide-scale reality capture empowers smart city planning, location tools for 5G networks, validating existing data sets with current imagery, the democratisation of geospatial and location intelligence
  • Keynotes we can’t wait to attend: Flavia Tata Nardini, CEO, Fleet Space Technologies; AWS on how the cloud drives geospatial innovation; Esri’s take on the age of modern utility; and Land Tasmania’s overview of the GDA2020 implementation
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How aerial imagery helps construction, engineering, and architecture firms keep up with urban sprawl

“Urban sprawl” is a phrase that’s top of mind for just about anyone who touches urban development: builders, planners, architects, engineers, infrastructure managers, local governments, and environmental analysts, to name a few. ABC has recently reported on the issue of how Australia is going to keep up with the demand for more houses, schools, and transport alternatives. With Australia’s greater capital cities adding 2.9 million people over the last ten years — accounting for 77% of Australia’s total population explosion — the question of how our built infrastructure will keep pace is an urgent one.

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If ever there was a siren song calling the name of the construction industry, it’s urban sprawl. The industry is well-positioned to take on the challenge: according to StartupAUS’s recent report on ConstructionTech, “construction employs 1.1 million Australians — more than five times as many as the mining industry” and accounts for 8.1% of the nation’s GDP. And with innovations in safety, BIM, machine learning, and 3D printing, the ACE sector is creating the technological capability to capitalise on the opportunity.

The potential financial impact of technological innovation in construction is also enormous: StartupAUS notes that “BCG estimates that global full-scale digitisation in nonresidential construction could lead to annual cost savings of US$0.7-1.2 trillion (13% to 21%) in the engineering and construction phases … Extrapolating to the Australian construction sector, the potential added value increase could be $25 billion year on year within the next decade.”

It naturally follows that the fastest-scaling construction, engineering, and architecture companies are adopting technology to streamline their workflows, maximise resources, and capitalise on the rich opportunity generated by population growth. One such technology is achieving wide adoption across the ACE vertical: aerial imagery.

In particular, Nearmap’s aerial imagery has become an integral part of the workflow for 14 of Australia’s top 20 construction companies (by revenue), providing a reliable source of unbiased truth about what’s happening on site. With high-resolution captures of 88% of Australia’s population up to six times a year — covering more than 535,000 square kilometres — Nearmap allows ACE businesses to instantly understand what’s happening on their sites and make data-driven decisions that have a measurable impact on efficiency and outcomes.

Aerial imagery plays a specific role during each part of the building development lifecycle.

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Evaluation

  • Stakeholder: Property developer
  • Job: Research potential properties to acquire for creation of assets — schools, parks, houses, government buildings.
  • Nearmap insight: Pan and zoom around an entire block, neighborhood, or city to find a tract of land that suits the initial project criteria. Measure size of parcel, slope, and heights of surrounding buildings and objects. Understand the context of the property: nearby schools, parks, transit hubs, shoppings centres, existing infrastructure, and vegetation.
 A multi-use area in Penrith, NSW, captured on 20 January, 2018.

A multi-use area in Penrith, NSW, captured on 20 January, 2018.

Feasibility

  • Stakeholder: Environmental consultants, architects, utility planners, engineers
  • Job: Understand the economic, environmental, infrastructural, and design suitability of site.
  • Nearmap insight: Overlay initial design over Nearmap imagery to visualise how it will fit into its surroundings . Measure ground slope, building heights, areas, and radius. Understand road access points. Overlay ABS data to understand demographics of area. Overlay property data to determine economic feasibility. Evaluate electrical and wireless networks. Measure potential solar irradiance output. Provide evidence of feasibility to local council authorities with exportable, annotated, and georeferenced maps.
 Bulimba, QLD, with estimated property value data overlaid. 

Bulimba, QLD, with estimated property value data overlaid. 

Tender

  • Stakeholder: Contractors.
  • Job: Present a competitive bid.
  • Nearmap insight: Create an accurate, compelling application with supporting imagery that’s up to date — and 80% higher resolution than standard commercial satellite imagery. Illustrate the different stages of the construction project to give the client confidence that their decisions are based on the reality on the ground. View current site access for heavy vehicles and materials delivery, and understand real-time obstacles (don’t design around a tennis court that was razed four years ago).
 The progression of the Perth Stadium project.

The progression of the Perth Stadium project.

Design

  • Stakeholder: Architects and engineers.
  • Job: Design the asset.
  • Nearmap insight: Overlay your design on real-world imagery and visualise in both 2D and 3D. Make accurate initial site measurements, and validate measurements that were made on site to avoid multiple revisits. Measure heights of surrounding buildings and estimate line of sight for views from top floors and roof. In a BIM model, examine level of detail to understand textures, angles, shapes, and exterior built features of surrounding buildings. Estimate building materials requirements and manage stakeholder engagement. Plan crane design, clearance, and placement.
 A simple structural figure visualised in the context of Nearmap's 3D textured mesh. 

A simple structural figure visualised in the context of Nearmap's 3D textured mesh. 

Build

  • Stakeholder: Construction companies, contractors, project managers, engineers.
  • Job: Build it!
  • Nearmap insight: Consult frequently updated imagery to allow iterative design as the project evolves. Avoid costly rework by viewing what’s happening on site, without having to drive out to the field. Plan delivery of building materials as access points shift throughout the project. Meet new utilities, logistics, and planning challenges. Support progress reports and validate measurements. Audit contractor work to validate project milestones. (Is that perimeter fence really 750m?) Dispute damage claims by referencing historical imagery. Revisit the site from your office as many times as you like, and discover insights that are harder to find in person.
 An ongoing construction site in Waterloo, NSW, captured on 15 March, 2018. 

An ongoing construction site in Waterloo, NSW, captured on 15 March, 2018. 

Maintenance

  • Stakeholder: Property management companies, local government councils.
  • Job: Maintain buildings, adhere to environmental standards, detect weather- or human-inflicted damage, estimate repairs, design new infrastructure.
  • Nearmap insight: Understand both today’s truth as well as the site’s history using Nearmap’s historical imagery archive. Evaluate the need for capital improvements. Use imagery for polished marketing and communications. Assess feasibility for new infrastructure. Monitor the building facade. Share information easily with LGAs and utilities providers.
 The recently completed new Royal Adelaide Hospital in SA, captured on 16 January, 2018.

The recently completed new Royal Adelaide Hospital in SA, captured on 16 January, 2018.

See how these construction, utility, and architecture firms rely on aerial imagery to power them through the development lifecycle:

Women Who Map

Let’s be honest: we don’t need a sanctioned day to appreciate all the ways women make our world amazing. But since there is one — International Women’s Day — we thought we’d talk to a few of our favourite women at Nearmap.

Women have a long history in mapping; they’ve been the first to create a scientific map of the ocean floor, map the dark side of the moon (sorry, Pink Floyd), and introduce the use of maps to illustrate demographic trends to engender change.

The three women we spoke to work on quite a different kind of cartography: digital maps of reality created through high-resolution aerial imagery, processed with modern photogrammetric methods. But their stories of how they became the technology leaders they are today, and what lessons they learned along the way, are just as intriguing.

 Florence Kelley created some of the first modern maps to  illustrate demographic trends. her methodology has shaped how social change is understood. 

Florence Kelley created some of the first modern maps to  illustrate demographic trends. her methodology has shaped how social change is understood. 

What’s your role at Nearmap? Not your title – what do you actually do?

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Silvia Arrigoni, VP Marketing

I try to know the user, know the magic, and then connect the two. It works best when we can use real-life stories to communicate the benefits of what we do. I want to inspire the Nearmap community to transform the way they work through our mapping technology.

 

 

 

 

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Mina Sistani, Sales Operations Manager

 My main focus is on process improvement, reporting initiatives, and data management. This means constantly reviewing current procedures to identify gaps in processes and systems while driving timely resolutions that can lead to organisational improvement. Part of the implementation and integration of new processes will be the UAT that the team does. I also work closely with other departments in the company to work towards the best process across most areas to meet the rapid growth of the business.

 

 

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Mary Cudmore, Director of Global Survey Operations

 I lead and support Nearmap’s global survey operations group, working with my teams, our aircraft operator partners, and across the company to capture our imagery and content.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you always worked in tech?

SA: I’ve worked in both. What attracted me to Nearmap was the amazing Aussie-grown technology and the culture. Nearmappers are a bunch of passionate, smart, driven people. We exist to help businesses thrive through richer location content, better data tools, information and connections.

MS: I have been working in the technical space for most of my career, and my previous experience has certainly played a role in what I deliver day-to-day in a niche industry like Nearmap’s. The primary role, composition, and hierarchy of sales ops may vary across industries and even across similar businesses, but we all perform a standard core set of functions. While my technical background helped me understand the business requirements from a sales ops point of view, I still needed to develop from a technical point of view, specifically understanding aerial imagery and what makes Nearmap stand out from its competitors, like the quality of our service and the frequency of our updates.

MC: Yes. I’ve always been attracted to how things work and the meaning behind things. I studied engineering and early on got hooked on working with great people solving big problems working with complex technology. I’ve since worked in many different areas, in different roles in both larger and smaller startup tech companies, loving the opportunity to learn and work with interesting people on new challenges. Nearmap is a perfect company to work for if, like me, you enjoy this type of fast-moving, small company technical environment.

“Women in technology” is a buzz phrase at the moment. Is that something that resonates for you personally? When Melanie Perkins of Canva (another of Australia’s homegrown tech success stories) is asked about this, she often says it’s not something she thinks about per se — she just tries to be the best she can be and the build the best company she can build.

SA: To me, it’s about empowering others to achieve their potential and, by doing so, achieving success for the company they work for. I have teenage daughters, and I love it when they get excited about doing what they’re doing, and feel they have the confidence and know-how to tackle anything. This is also my approach with my team and colleagues.

MS: I believe companies should provide enough opportunity and flexibility for women at all levels and in crucial roles. I am one of the strong believers and I try to provide any support I can in order for women to maximise their potential professionally.

MC: It’s a concept I’m familiar with and has been around for many years under a number of names, but I have not usually felt a strong need to be involved. For a lot of my career there were very few to zero women, but it didn’t matter to me — they were just great people to work with. I feel that I’ve been lucky and have had so many great experiences, so “women in technology” for me is about being able to provide support and encouragement to other women as the opportunity arises.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “no woman left behind.” What leadership techniques do you use to ensure that all members of your team share in opportunities to learn and contribute?

SA: Everyone wants to be successful and achieve amazing things at work. So create an environment and culture that enables that. Celebrate every single success, no matter how big or small. And don’t shy away from failure. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” There’s no doubt we’re going to mess up time and time again; it’s what we learn from those times that helps us improve.

MS: I try to be a good coach rather than a mere leader by giving my team space and opportunities to learn. I challenge them to find their own way of resolving issues. Supporting new ideas can build their confidence towards the best resolution. Finding your own way through creativity and self-discipline is a long term asset.

MC: Working in technology and operations, there is no other option — there are always things to learn together, and in operations the team is instrumental in deciding how we best work together. I’m passionate about providing a framework and direction that the team can step into and own.

Was there a woman who had a significant influence on you professionally?

SA: My mum. She was very successful in her career at a time when women were expected to stay at home and raise kids. Growing up, I never felt I missed out because she was working. She showed me that the one limiting factor is yourself. And my team inspires and challenges me every day to be the best leader I can be.

MS: Anousheh Ansari has always been one of the inspiring women in my life. When she was asked what she hoped to achieve on her spaceflight, she responded: "I hope to inspire everyone — especially young people, women, and young girls all over the world, and in countries that do not provide women with the same opportunities as men — to not give up their dreams.”

MC: Not obviously, no. But I’d like to say that I think my upbringing meant that I was able to pursue what I was interested in without a sense of gender giving pause for thought — it just didn’t matter. I guess that allowed me to forge ahead in a very male-dominated area with confidence — so I suppose that means my mother 😊.

Nearmap’s staff is 38% female in Australia – well higher than the national average for women in technology, but there is always room to grow. There are different theories about how to attract more women to careers in technology. What technique or agenda do you see having the most traction?

SA: Teaching STEM in schools, because it foster a lifelong love of learning. Also increasing Australia’s technology workforce is very important, as is creating opportunities for future generations so they don’t feel they have to go off-shore. Getting the core tech subjects into schools is something I’m very passionate about.

MS: I believe that the mindset for technology needs to be developed in women from early on. Industry can play an important role in building this passion in the younger generation by providing them exposure and insight to what is involved in different aspects of technology. I was always fascinated from an early age because I was exposed to the world of engineering and technology both by my family and by my teachers, and that led to my eventually earning an engineering degree.

MC: I feel it needs to start with a broader cultural message about the opportunities and excitement available by following STEM as a career. We need that interest and passion across our population.

At Nearmap we celebrate the success of all of our staff, and thank them for creating a professional environment where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Nearmap Focus is touching down in a city near you this February & March!

 An Oblique view of Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA. Captured 16 January, 2018. 

An Oblique view of Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA. Captured 16 January, 2018. 

Normally we’re up in the clouds, making sure we capture the most up-to-date, high-resolution imagery of Australia’s urban and regional metro centres.

But sometimes we have to come back to Earth — to see our families, drink some properly made coffee, and go to yoga. (Ever tried to do flying crow in a cockpit?)

This February & March, we’ll have another reason to make ground contact: We’re touching down in six major cities across Australia to meet you for our biannual roadshow — now open to both customers and professionals who want to learn more about how aerial imagery is impacting traditional modes of business.

Nearmap Focus is an opportunity to learn how aerial imagery is disrupting a wide range of industries. From enabling more accurate solar job planning, to allowing property developers to win large development contracts, to supporting more accurate oversight of major infrastructure projects, to allowing easy detection of insurance fraud, hyper-current high-res imagery is becoming an indispensable resource for fast-scaling organisations.

 An Oblique view of Docklands, VIC. Captured 23 November, 2017. 

An Oblique view of Docklands, VIC. Captured 23 November, 2017. 

Nearmap Focus is also a chance to mingle with the influencers shaping the geospatial industry — including our own product team, digital mapping experts from Nearmap's location content partners, and members of the Nearmap community across both industry and government.

Get an inside view of our latest imagery content — including new Measurable Obliques — and discover how advances in aerial imagery, including real-world 3D modelling and rich visual data sets, are transforming the way businesses and industries get their best work done.

 A DSM model of Adelaide showing a colour map of elevation data. DSM data has a wide range of industry applications, including telco and emergency services.

A DSM model of Adelaide showing a colour map of elevation data. DSM data has a wide range of industry applications, including telco and emergency services.

Oh — did we mention lunch is on us?

If you're thinking about incorporating aerial imagery into your workflow, this is a perfect opportunity to learn what's possible and speak directly to other professionals about their experience with our platform. We have limited spots in each city — grab yours now!

If you’re an existing customer, please get in touch with your account manager to reserve.

We’ll see you on the ground!

Product Story: Making the new MapBrowser

Recently, we released the new version of MapBrowser, our web app for viewing and working with Nearmap's aerial imagery. We had a chat to Technical Product Manager for Apps Tash Ridley to find out more about what's involved in a major product update.

What’s your favourite feature in the new MapBrowser?

I think my favourite feature is the compass tool. I love how you can switch between Vertical and Panorama (Multiview) imagery quickly, just by clicking on the compass.

You click on N/S/E/W to switch to that view for Panorama imagery, and click on the centre to go back to Vertical. It just feels intuitive and nice to use.

What were the technical and UX reasons for creating a new version?

The new MapBrowser is built on a completely new tech stack which will allow us to build new features more easily. For example, you can now rotate the image in MapBrowser — something that sounds pretty simple, but wasn’t possible in MapBrowser Classic.

We also currently have two different interfaces for our Australian and U.S. customers, so another big benefit will eventually be having a single interface for all of our customers. This way, new features and improvements can be released to all of our customers at the same time.

You’re really passionate about human-centred design. What were some of the interactive design features you wanted to include in the new MapBrowser? Do you think we got there?

The number one thing I wanted to improve was the overall look and feel — to bring MapBrowser into the modern age! Customers use our product because of the imagery, so I wanted to make sure it’s as easy to view and work with as possible.

 the new mapbrowser interface. the most frequently-used tools have been moved to the top of the browser, and the old sidebar menu has been condensed to an icon in the top left that converts to a drop-down.

the new mapbrowser interface. the most frequently-used tools have been moved to the top of the browser, and the old sidebar menu has been condensed to an icon in the top left that converts to a drop-down.

The thing I love about product design is that we’re never finished. The power of getting this in front of all our customers is the feedback that we get — both positive (thanks everyone!) and, more importantly, the negative. This helps us refine the user experience further and even helps us identify and define new features.

What were some of the biggest challenges in getting the new features to work?

We believe that simplicity is key — and that’s much harder to deliver than you might think! That, and also trying to cater to everyone who currently uses MapBrowser Classic. Some things will change, which can take a little adjustment, but ultimately, the aim is to make things better overall now and in the future.

The new Measurable Obliques feature (launching later this quarter) was possibly the most technically challenging. The maths involved in figuring out how to measure the height of a building from a 2D photo were highly complex. But the tech team at Nearmap is incredibly smart and managed to wrap up all that hard-core number crunching in a pretty decent user interface.

What’s the product development process at Nearmap? Do you do short sprints? Partner programming? How do engineering and product work together?

We’re lucky in that our product team and engineering team work hand in hand. We follow an agile development methodology which is ultimately about how we approach the work, rather than being bound by particular practices like sprints.

Methodology aside, we’re focusing on making small changes and releasing things that provide value to our users as early as possible. This way, we can get something useful in the hands of our customers and get their feedback early, rather than building an entire complex feature or application in one go. That could take many months, and only at the finish would we discover it wasn’t the right thing and didn’t meet our customers' needs.

That’s why you’ll notice that not all the MapBrowser Classic features are available in the new MapBrowser right now; more features will be added over time. In fact, we’re currently working on adding georeferenced image export, and this will be released in the next few weeks.

Do you find it easier to reiterate an existing product, or to create something from whole cloth? What’s different about each process?

To be honest, I love both processes. The benefit of iterating on an existing product is that you usually have a great understanding of the feature or product and you have existing users to learn from. It’s then a matter of refining and simplifying it until you have something that is better than it was before.

With a clean slate, the exciting part is the discovery — what is the problem the user is trying to solve? Why do they need to solve it?

Lean methodology has a concept of “the five whys” as a technique to get to the heart of a problem.

My favourite analogy is this: A customer might ask for a 10mm drill bit. My response: “What do you want to do with it?" Customer: “Drill a hole in the wall.” Through the process of asking why, we discover the real problem to be solved, which is to hang a painting without leaving marks on the wall.

 Figuring out what the customer actually wants (and why) informs good product development strategy.

Figuring out what the customer actually wants (and why) informs good product development strategy.

Then the answer may very well be, “OK, here’s a 10mm drill bit.” But a better solution might be: “Here’s a heavy-duty sticky hook that won’t leave marks on the wall when you need to move the painting later.” Only by iterating and talking to the customer to understand their actual task can you design a truly user-centric product.

Product management is a delicate balance of project management skills, technical and design prowess, deep understanding of the customer, and a healthy dose of empathy. What’s the “special sauce” that distinguishes a good from a great product team?

I think the secret sauce is having the right balance of skills on the team, and above all, being great communicators. There has to be conversation, or it won’t work, no matter how smart the people are! It’s also important to have support from the organisation to try small experiments, talk to customers, and to learn. Without that support from the top down, it’s easy to spend a lot of time building the wrong thing.

Also, you have to let go of your own personal preferences and ego. You have to understand that you represent the user, but you are not the end user! So you need to be prepared for people to tear apart your product, and not take it too personally!

The new MapBrowser is going to enable some of our incredible new content, including Measurable Obliques. Given all the new kinds of content we’re envisioning for Nearmap, including our expanded suite of 3D capabilities, do you foresee building additional apps to join MapBrowser in the future?

Absolutely. And, I’m not sure!

I do think we’ll eventually have more than one app. Right now, if you think about it, we have our content as a product, and we have two ways to access it — MapBrowser and our API integrations.

Not all of our content is going to be deliverable by either of those methods. Certainly, some content will require different technology to consume it.

The biggest challenge will be to understand how our customers might use this content. While there’s a lot we already know as we work with customers on 3D, there are also a lot of unknowns — and that’s the fun part!

Where can people learn more about the new MapBrowser?

We’ve got some great resources available on our support site, and you can also visit our MapBrowser info page for recorded demos.

We’re also going to be travelling to six major Australian cities in February & March to meet customers in person and explain more about our recent and forthcoming product updates. Check out the Nearmap Focus schedule and make sure to RSVP early, as spots are extremely limited.

If you have feedback on the new MapBrowser, don’t hesitate to let us know! Get in touch at support@nearmap.com, or directly via the "feedback" option in the new MapBrowser at https://apps.nearmap.com/maps.

 Learn about the new MapBrowser directly from our product team at our Nearmap Focus roadshow in February and March. RSVP:  https://goto.nearmap.com/nearmap-focus-02-2018/

Learn about the new MapBrowser directly from our product team at our Nearmap Focus roadshow in February and March. RSVP: https://goto.nearmap.com/nearmap-focus-02-2018/

Celebrating 10 years of capturing reality & a record-smashing H1 FY2018

Did you know that Nearmap recently celebrated ten years of capturing reality on the ground across Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S.? We can’t believe it either!

To mark the occassion, we held a charity auction of some of our favourite images, below, and raised over $25,000 for beyondblue, a charity dedicated to helping everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health.

Here are a few highlights from Nearmap’s first decade:

  • We took our first capture (200 square km) on 1 November, 2007, in Perth
  • We now capture 1.5M square km each year — enough to cover all of California, NSW, and Victoria
  • We've taken 465M individual photos, comprising 2.5 petabytes of storage
  • These photos have been processed to produce 20 billion web tile images
  • We regularly capture 90% of Australia's population and 70% of the U.S., and are expanding our NZ capture program this year to include the top 13 cities, plus Queenstown
  • Over 72,000 users use Nearmap every day
  • We're ranked in the AFR Fast 100 2017 and are an Esri Best New Content Partner 2017

Nearmap celebrated its first decade of capturing aerial maps of Australia, the U.S., and New Zealand by auctioning off 10 images to benefit mental health charity beyondblue.

Of course we couldn’t have gotten this far without our amazing customers, who surprise us every day with their innovative uses of our aerial imagery.

Not content to wax nostalgic, we kicked 2018 off by announcing the highest-growth half financial year in our company’s history.

The first half of FY2018 ended with a combined Australian and U.S. annualised contract value (ACV) of AUD $54.2M, showing incremental growth of $7.2M over the prior half.

And on the product front, we just launched the new version of our MapBrowser web app, providing a clean, straightforward interface that allows professionals to work more intuitively with Nearap imagery. We're also continuing to work hard on our 3D processing pipeline, which will enable the generation of 3D reconstructions for commercial and governmental use on an unprecedented scale.

We can’t wait to see what the rest of 2018 — and our next decade — will bring. ✈️

Australia's Year from Above 2017

Last year saw some remarkable events in Australia, including hallmark historical moments like the passage of the same-sex marriage bill, record weather events like Cyclone Debbie and a scorching Sydney summer, as well as the launching of several major infrastructure projects. As always, Nearmap captured it all from above. Here are a few highlights.

  26 January: Australia Day . Marking the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in 1788.  Port Jackson, NSW, captured on 22 August, 2017.

26 January: Australia Day. Marking the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in 1788. Port Jackson, NSW, captured on 22 August, 2017.

  11 February: Record-setting temps in Sydney .  The hottest summer since records began  didn’t keep sunseekers off the beach in Coogee.  Coogee Beach, NSW, captured on 11 February, 2017.

11 February: Record-setting temps in Sydney. The hottest summer since records began didn’t keep sunseekers off the beach in Coogee. Coogee Beach, NSW, captured on 11 February, 2017.

  20 March: Victorian Desalination Project  begins operations,  allowing the first 50 gigalitres of desalinated water  to begin flowing into the Cardinia Reservoir.   Cardinia Reservoir, VIC, captured on 30 November, 2017.

20 March: Victorian Desalination Project begins operations, allowing the first 50 gigalitres of desalinated water to begin flowing into the Cardinia Reservoir.  Cardinia Reservoir, VIC, captured on 30 November, 2017.

  27 March: Cyclone Debbie  swells the Pioneer River in Mackay. The tropical cyclone caused AUD  $2.4M in damage due to extreme flooding .  Mackay, QLD, captured on 1 April, 2017.

27 March: Cyclone Debbie swells the Pioneer River in Mackay. The tropical cyclone caused AUD $2.4M in damage due to extreme floodingMackay, QLD, captured on 1 April, 2017.

  26 June: Barangaroo Ferry Wharves open.  Move over, Circular Quay:  the $59M infrastructure project  gives Barangaroo office workers a new way to commute.  Barangaroo, NSW, captured on 19 October, 2017.

26 June: Barangaroo Ferry Wharves open. Move over, Circular Quay: the $59M infrastructure project gives Barangaroo office workers a new way to commute. Barangaroo, NSW, captured on 19 October, 2017.

  5 September: New Royal Adelaide Hospital opens.  The new facility expects to care for 85,000 inpatients annually —  a far cry  from the capacity of 30 patients the original hospital offered when it opened in 1841.  Adelaide, SA, captured on 21 November, 2017.

5 September: New Royal Adelaide Hospital opens. The new facility expects to care for 85,000 inpatients annually — a far cry from the capacity of 30 patients the original hospital offered when it opened in 1841. Adelaide, SA, captured on 21 November, 2017.

  11 October: Vegemite releases “Blend 17,”  an artisanal version of the beloved Aussie toast topper that left some fans  less than ravenous .  Vegemite Way, Port Melbourne, VIC, captured on 23 November, 2017.

11 October: Vegemite releases “Blend 17,” an artisanal version of the beloved Aussie toast topper that left some fans less than ravenousVegemite Way, Port Melbourne, VIC, captured on 23 November, 2017.

  7 November: Melbourne Cup.  The race that stops the nation had its  youngest-ever winning trainer , 24-year-old Joseph O’Brien.  Flemington Racecourse, VIC, captured on 7 september, 2017.

7 November: Melbourne Cup. The race that stops the nation had its youngest-ever winning trainer, 24-year-old Joseph O’Brien. Flemington Racecourse, VIC, captured on 7 september, 2017.

  19 November: Malcolm Young, AC/DC guitarist and songwriter, dies.  The now-defunct Chequers Club in Darlinghurst was the site of their  first live concert .  79 Goulbourn Street, Darlinghurst, NSW, captured on 11 February, 2017.

19 November: Malcolm Young, AC/DC guitarist and songwriter, dies. The now-defunct Chequers Club in Darlinghurst was the site of their first live concert. 79 Goulbourn Street, Darlinghurst, NSW, captured on 11 February, 2017.

  4 December: Amazon’s e-tail business  begins Australian operations. Local booksellers  stood their ground .  Amazon warehouse, Dandenong South, VIC, captured on 25 November, 2017.

4 December: Amazon’s e-tail business begins Australian operations. Local booksellers stood their groundAmazon warehouse, Dandenong South, VIC, captured on 25 November, 2017.

  6 December: Perth City Link opens  to pedestrians,  connecting Northbridge with the CBD for the first time in over a century .  Wellington Street, Perth, WA, captured on 20 October, 2017.

6 December: Perth City Link opens to pedestrians, connecting Northbridge with the CBD for the first time in over a century. Wellington Street, Perth, WA, captured on 20 October, 2017.

  7 December: Australian Parliament legalises same-sex marriage  after a public referendum that resulted in a  61.6% “yes” vote .  Parliament House, Canberra, ACT, captured on 20 September, 2017.

7 December: Australian Parliament legalises same-sex marriage after a public referendum that resulted in a 61.6% “yes” voteParliament House, Canberra, ACT, captured on 20 September, 2017.

Want to capture an aerial map of the major events in your business or organisation in 2018? Let us know.

Advanced aerial imagery analysis with MapBrowser & 3D content preview (Webinar recap)

Happy 2018, Nearmappers! If you’re still in a holiday haze, no worries; this week in Sydney, you can actually get a seat on the train during rush hour, as most people are still camping out with family or visiting one of our beautiful local beaches.

But if, like us, your mind’s already wandering back to the map, we'd like to catch you up on some important information and updates we shared in our December webinar.

  • Our product and business development teams did a deep dive on the most useful techniques in MapBrowser to analyse your site imagery, including our Splitview, solar, and exporting tools;

  • gave a preview of what we’re working on in the 3D content space, including high-resolution panoramic imagery captured with our new HyperCamera 2 system, measurable obliques, and DSM modelling;

  • and demo’d our new, more intuitive and easy-to-use MapBrowser, scheduled for release early this year.

If you missed the webinar or want to review, you can catch up with the recording here.

Nearmap Webinar Series

We also fielded over 200 questions during the presentation — some of the most-asked and insightful are below.

Want to find out more about our forthcoming content, or have a question about your account? Or are you considering integrating aerial imagery into your business or organisation, but aren’t sure how to get started? Get in touch.

FAQ

3D Content

How accurate are the height measurements in the Oblique imagery?

Our vertical measurement accuracy is about 15cm within a single photo.

What vertical accuracy do you expect from the 3D data sets?

We currently have 40cm RMSEz or better measured from the ground.

Will depth be measurable as part of the height measure tool?

3D content has length/height/depth dimensions and would practically support depth measurements. The height measurement tool is not designed to measure depth, but this feature is something that will be considered in the future.

Is the 3D model going to cover all current areas of Nearmap coverage, or just the major population areas?

We are putting together a coverage program specifically for our 3D content and will share that information in the near future.

It would be great to get a height raster with the same extent as the georeferenced image we download.

Our 3D content will be exportable in GeoTIFF format, among other raster formats such as ASCII Grid. GeoTIFF files are georeferenced images with height values included.

Will the 3D data be downloadable into GIS?

3D datasets will gradually be made available in formats supported by modern GIS applications. For example, Autodesk (Map3d, Infraworks) and ESRI (ArcScene, CityEngine).

Do you plan on allowing exporting of DTMs?

Nearmap does not currently produce DTM, but we will be looking at a number of ways to generate and provide this data to users.

In the 3D diagram as a single line showing building heights, will that only show it on a level base, or will it show the actual slope of the land so that we can see true heights relative to each other?

DSM provides you with an understanding of an elevation surface profile. Imagine you drape a blanket over the Earth — you'll be able to view the height of all structures above ground level. Nearmap’s DSM looks from above at all the different variations in height, including tree canopy, buildings, and gaps between buildings, anywhere our cameras can capture.

Our DSM also undergoes vertical height datum processing to ensure that the vertical height difference in consideration with the curvature and terrain of the Earth's surface is minimised. Our DSM has a 40cm RMSEz vertical accuracy measure.

Will 3D be available for vegetation or will it be limited to buildings?

Nearmap 3D content uses our next-generation camera systems to collect wide-area reality captures. This means all detectable objects are captured at high resolution and processed to produce a 3D photo-realistic model showing all features with very fine detail.

Will we able to accurately measure a rooftop area of a residential property, taking into consideration the pitch of the roof structure?

Nearmap imagery captured with our latest camera system has 5.8cm GSD and 28cm RMSExy. Features such as measuring roof pitch are on our future roadmap.

What if the building is blocked by other buildings in the 3D view? Will you get to see through other buildings that are in the way?

Our imagery will allow you to virtually "fly around" each building to get past obstructions that are blocking any structure you wish to see; however, you won't be "seeing through" buildings as though they are translucent. High definition imagery applied as a texture layer allows you to view buildings as they appear in the real world: if it's made of glass, you'll view it as a glass building, or if it’s made of brick, it will appear as a brick building. The imagery will be viewable in 360 degrees, providing a realistic line of sight so you can navigate to explore different views to explore between, on top of, or on the sides of buildings.

MapBrowser and Tools

When does the new MapBrowser come out?

The new MapBrowser will be made available to all of our users in Q1 of 2018. Keep an eye out for an email with more details.

How do you become a beta customer?

If you're interested in getting early access to the new MapBrowser and other features, contact your account manger or email our support team at support@nearmap.com.

In the new version of MapBrowser, can we save/print images in Multiview and 3D? Currently it only saves/prints in aerial (ortho) view.

Yes, in the new MapBrowser, you will be able to print all base layers — Vertical, Panorama, Oblique (when available), or road maps. You will also be able to include things you’ve drawn on the map, such as measurements and annotations. Currently, you can save the image as a .png file, and over time we'll develop that feature to include additional file options.

You can't rotate the map when in bird's eye (vertical) or Multiview at the moment. Will this be addressed in the new version of MapBrowser?

The new version of MapBrowser supports rotating the Vertical (bird's eye) and Panorama (Multiview) imagery. The 3D format and visualisation allow for 360 degree rotation.

For measuring heights, must I start from the bottom up or can it be top down?

Yes, it can be top down; this feature is being built to accommodate both. Some people find it easier to measure bottom up, as you can pick the ground point more accurately. But up to you as per your preference; the feature supports both.

Can you zoom in by smaller steps and if so how? I currently use the “+” and “-” keys.

Within our current MapBrowser, this is not an available feature. We are only able to provide specific zoom levels. Our new MapBrowser (currently in development) will allow users to use discreet zoom levels. This means that it will display our imagery much more quickly and smoothly. It will also be able to display our imagery between current zoom levels.

How do I get a good resolution print out? Generally I have to take a screen copy to get a print and quality is not so good.

You can export a high resolution image by clicking on the camera button on the left hand side of MapBrowser. You then have a drop-down that lets you choose the resolution; it is automatically set to the highest resolution. Select the relevant projection, then export. If you plan to use the export in an application such as CAD or ArcGIS, make sure you check the “include georeferenced file” option before exporting.

How do I access Splitview?

There is a small time clock icon in the top right corner (next to the admin section). You can click that and it will split the screen in half; you can then choose the different dates of the images you wish to compare.

How do I search with geocoordinates rather than address?

You are able to search for latitude/longitude coordinates (decimal degrees) by adding an @ symbol to the start of your query. For example: @-33.856740, 151.215010.

Can locations be bookmarked or saved as favourites?

The location tool is able to create a URL that can be shared or searched by easily opening the URL. You will also be able to bookmark these URLs for easy access. For more information regarding the location tool, please review this support article: https://support.nearmap.com/hc/en-us/articles/228493168-MapBrowser-Toolbar-overview#Location

Is there a way to capture the exact imagery location over time without having redrag again and again over the same area?

When defining a location for which you would like to save an image, you'll be able to keep the existing defined bounding box on screen and still change the timeline date. This will update the background imagery and allow you to save the image at a similar location. Please understand that there will be small shifts in our imagery when browsing our timeline. Our imagery is accurate to 0.75m RMSE.

I notice that often the cadastre boundaries don't line up with the actual fence line shown on the map view. What is the source of the cadastral data?

The cadastre boundaries come from PSMA, who source the data from state authorities, who in turn are ultimately responsible for ensuring accuracy. The states manage their own accuracy improvements based on their needs and priorities. PSMA states that the boundary accuracy in urban areas is 2m and in rural areas up to 10m. Please note that neither Nearmap or PSMA alter this information before being displayed. Unfortunately, this means that Nearmap and PSMA are unable to correct any misalignments or errors that are identified.

When will Street View be updated to reflect the changes in map view?

Street View is provided to us by Google. Whatever they provide to us via their API is what you'll see. We've placed Street View inside of MapBrowser as a convenience, but you can always choose to navigate to Street View in a separate window. Unfortunately, we can't control Street View data, as it's coming directly from Google.

Data Usage and Pricing

Do the new features cost extra?

At this stage, we are still developing our 3D products and new features such as Measurable Obliques. If you are interested in these products, you can register at https://goto.nearmap.com/register-your-interest. You may also contact your account manager to discuss your individual needs.

With the HyperCamera 2 content, will I be charged more for what I view?

How you use our product will continue to define the amount of data you consume. Panning, zooming in and out, and searching new locations will continue to be the primary data use for all accounts. The new imagery will continue to be retrieved through individual tiles, and these tiles will not use more data.

How can I find out how much data I’m consuming?

Account administrators have access to the monthly usage details of their account. This will display both a usage summary for the whole account and a summary broken down by user for the last two months. Please review this documentation for more information: https://support.nearmap.com/hc/en-us/articles/213093077-Administrators-View-account-data-usage.

How is usage calculated? Is it the amount of time spent with the Nearmap browser open, or downloaded images, or something else?

Nearmap imagery is split into multiple small tiles. These tiles are stitched together to build the map you view. New tiles are downloaded to either build a new map or add to the map you are viewing. For example, when dragging the map to the left, the tiles on the left leave the screen and are discarded. The MapBrowser will however download new tiles to fill in the imagery on the right of the page. Alternatively, when you zoom in/out or search a new address, the MapBrowser will download a full page of new tiles. Usage is only accumulated when downloading tiles. This means that if you leave a page open on a map, you will not consume more usage. If you close the map and reopen it, you will re-download the previous map.

When using the camera screenshot tool, does it use up the monthly usage allowance?

The expected process for saving imagery is to first search a new location and then save the image by either defining the location or saving the full map. In this scenario, the usage attributed to the saving of the image is not added to your consumption. Although in this scenario we do not include this usage, we still monitor its consumption in case of abuse.

When a user zooms in on a image (sometimes in and out multiple times for the same image) does it consume more of the monthly usage?

Yes. Each time that you zoom in/out, the previous map that you were viewing is discarded and a new map is downloaded and displayed on your screen. To save data, we recommend that users don't needlessly zoom in/out.

How does the Watchlist feature impact data consumption?

Reviewing and updating your Watchlist via the account admin portal does not consume your Nearmap data allowance. Viewing the Watchlist location (or the new imagery) in the MapBrowser will, however, consume standard usage on your account.

When you view Street View, is it counted as data downloaded within my subscription?

Google Street View imagery is provided to us by Google. This imagery is not included within your account usage. Customers are only able to accrue usage on their account by downloading Nearmap imagery.

==

Celebrating Women Executives at Nearmap

At Nearmap, we pride ourselves on our talented and high-performing employees. Women of Nearmap are highly valuable contributors to our overall growth and, together with their male counterparts, create a perfect team for success.

Today on International Women's Day, we'd like to celebrate two of Nearmap's executives who represent successful women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sector - Leah Rankin, VP of Product & Engineering, and Sue Steel, VP of People & Culture.

We have asked them a few questions about their Nearmap journey and here is what they have shared with us.

What inspired you to work in the technology industry?

Leah Rankin: I am passionate about people, technology and delivering products to market that solve a problem or create an opportunity.  I love working in this industry because it allows me to do just that.  It’s fast paced & constantly changing, and you get to work with some exceptional people!

Sue Steel: Being part of a truly Australian, intelligent, fast paced company that believes in its product, engages its customers and allows flexibility to its staff to innovate, collaborate and “own it” is what inspired me to work in this industry.

How do you define success?

Leah Rankin: As a leader, success comes from having a highly effective team – a team that is diverse, has common goals and shared ambitions, values open and honest communication, and most importantly can have fun and enjoy what they do. As the VP of Product & Engineering, success comes from delivering a great product that our customers love.

Sue Steel: Success means numerous things to numerous people. I define success by knowing what you are doing is helping others and yourself lead a better, healthier, happier life. I also believe plain old hard work, perseverance and loving what you do to achieve the outcome you desire attributes to success and lastly, teamwork. Henry Ford said it so well when he said, “coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."

What are you doing to improve gender equality at Nearmap?

Leah Rankin: I am very proud of the fact we have so many women at Nearmap, representing all teams from Product, Technology and Engineering through to Sales and Finance.  But we can of course always do more.  I am lucky enough to be connected with some amazing women in the industry, and I believe it’s important to maintain these connections and do what we can to encourage and support women wanting to work in this industry. 

Sue Steel: I am really proud of the women that we have at Nearmap. We are improving gender equality in ways, such as, advertising roles on female board sites for engineers. Additionally, we have doubled the women in the executive team from 1 to 2 in the last 2 months, as well as, 30% of all roles in the past 8 months have gone to females (9 out of 30). These are all good initiatives we have in place at Nearmap and we are always looking at ways that we can improve and truly welcome suggestions.

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                                                                                Sue Steel, VP - People & CUlture, and Leah rankin, VP - product & engineering

Thank you, Sue and Leah, for your valuable contribution and successful leadership at Nearmap.

 

Whitepaper: The Benefits of using aerial imagery in Government communication

Whitepaper: The Benefits of using aerial imagery in Government communication

communication to the public is vital to the success of major infrastructure projects that involve disruptive construction and require stakeholder support. Increase in communication efficiency can be achieved through various methods, but the end goal is to enable people to get a visual feel of the project and “see” the bigger picture.

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How innovation in technology is helping transform the face of Australia

How innovation in technology is helping transform the face of Australia

Australia is in the midst of a massive facelift as it prepares for a population boom. Perth has added a new business district at Elizabeth Quay and Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane continue to rapidly expand outwards, inwards and upwards. With Australia’s impending “population boom”, which will see our nation grow to approximately 39.7 million within the next four decades, it is unsurprising that the nation is transforming rapidly to meet future needs.

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