Yesterday at SPAR 2009, earthmine, Inc. launched a new street-level 3D mapping platform and an innovative business plan to leverage partners for the data collection process. The earthmine plan is to create a 3D geospatial data mine of urban environments with much more detail and accuracy than current street-level data providers such as Google’s StreetView. The company has been around for three years, and won a Crunchies Award for Best Technology Innovation/Achievement at TechCrunch in January 2008, but this event marked the commercial availability of the collection platform.
I spoke with Anthony Fassero co-founder and co-CEO and Paul Smith, chief strategy officer and former co-founder of GlobeXplorer about the technology and their business plan. The company has a pixel-based collection platform with stereo-panoramic cameras that capture imagery at 50 megapixel resolution, with each pixel retaining latitude, longitude and elevation coordinates with an accuracy of less than one meter. The Berkeley, Calif.-based company has collected 12 cities on the West Coast, and aims to involve partners to ramp up the collection process. The Project Partner and Collection Partner programs give partners the option of purchasing the hardware or contracting to have earthmine collect data using earthmine operated vehicles.
Project Partners contract to have earthmine collect data, which is provided online as a service to be ingested into CAD or GIS environments. Collection Parners own and operate earthmine data collection systems, receive all earthmine software and services, including the online data delivery capability for their customers and an API for custom solution development.
The underlying techology for this system was developed over many years for the Mars Exploration Rover Missions and Earthmine has an exclusive lincense for the software and algorithms from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.