The merger of EagleView Technologies and Pictometry International in January 2013 created a unique company with powerful technological solutions in the GIS, measurement and analytical space. The combined company has more than 50 patented technologies to provide scalable, efficient and highly accurate analytical solutions.
EagleView has specialized in automating manual processes through SaaS technology solutions for over five years. The company invented patented software that produces 3D models resulting in aerial roof and wall measurement reports that are extremely accurate and detailed. As the market leader in both the construction and insurance markets, EagleView continues to introduce innovation not only in construction and the insurance claims vertical but also in underwriting, estimating and disaster response.
Pictometry invented the technology behind aerial oblique image capture. As the market leader for over 12 years in the government space, the company also services the infrastructure and commercial industries. Providing powerful high-resolution aerial imagery and analytical tools for assessment, public safety, emergency response and overall visualization needs, Pictometry continues to offer one-of-a-kind solutions.
The beginning of EagleView is really the story of two creative brothers-in-law: Dave Carlson, who was working in Southern California as a roofing contractor, and Chris Pershing, a software engineer in Seattle. In 2006, Dave struggled with the process of measuring roofs accurately and safely. In addition to sharing a family relationship, both Chris and Dave share something else. They both have a passion for solving problems and they continually ask, "Is there a better way". As Chris and Dave discussed the challenges of accurately measuring roofs, they began researching to see if simple, accurate technology was available for determining roof measurements. They discovered that software did not exist and so they began collaborating on ways to create new technology to produce a remote roof measurement using available photography.
Chris started by using his wife’s ornamental birdhouses as models to prototype software that would create a 3D model of roofs using photographs. It was a collaborative process with Chris refining the prototypes using feedback from Dave's field experience and measurements taken on actual roofs. After many months of collaboration, the two brothers-in-law had created some extremely accurate software and quickly filed a software patent.
EagleView was launched in February 2008 as the first remote aerial roof measurement service in history! The idea immediately caught on with roofing contractors throughout the country as they recognized the time savings, increased safety benefits and how the EagleView reports were increasing their job closing rates.
Insurance companies and adjusters were soon embracing EagleView as they too saw the benefits to an accurate, third-party report in the event of a claim. By the time EagleView was less than a year old, it had become the industry standard in aerial roof measurements.
Dave and Chris were instrumental in the early success of EagleView's launch. Their vision and inspiration helped create what is now arguably one of the most successful technology companies in America. Dave has since moved on to his next venture, but still remains involved with EagleView as a shareholder and in a consulting capacity. Chris is currently EagleView's Chief Technology Officer and continues to drive the creation of new software and technologies that keep EagleView on the forefront of the industry.
On December 13, 2011, EagleView's first U.S. patent was issued, fulfilling and validating the development and leadership of the technology invented by Chris Pershing and Dave Carlson. A second U.S. patent issued on March 27, 2012, a third on May 1, 2012 and the fourth on June 26, 2012. As CTO of EagleView, Chris continues to create new software with several additional patents pending. EagleView is committed to developing progressive technology that automates manual activities in the construction and insurance industries and is expanding this concept to several new industries.
EagleView is focused on providing the highest accuracy, scalability and efficiency with a large team of software developers and hundreds of highly trained spatial recognition technicians to create the most accurate reports and measurements available today.
In the late 1980’s, while capturing street side imagery of every parcel in Rochester, John Ciampa, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), had an idea. Why not photograph buildings obliquely from the air and geo-reference the images so that parcels could be identified? There was only one issue. The industry was almost exclusively looking straight down when capturing aerial imagery – any oblique photographs that were being captured were largely just that: photographs.
After obtaining a patent on the methodology, Ciampa turned to Steve Schultz, a former student and colleague from RIT, to turn it into reality. Schultz worked part-time to validate the concept and in January 1996 became employee number one of the newly incorporated Pictometry Inc. For the next four years, Schultz refined the algorithms, created the initial hardware, operated the capture systems and created the first working prototypes.
To turn the technology into a product, the company hired Richard Kaplan as CEO in the fall of 1999. Kaplan saw extensive use for this capability for county and municipal governments. In 2000, he worked with Schultz to put together a demonstration of the future product and embarked on a road show to various counties throughout the United States. He quickly found five county customers willing to be early adopters of the technology: Ontario and Monroe County, NY; Arlington County, VA; Lee County, FL and Orange County, CA. Schultz, and his team of four software engineers, now had six months to turn the working prototype into a fully functional system.
Pictometry captured its first imagery in spring 2001 and delivered its first complete library to Arlington County, VA. The imagery was used by the Arlington County Fire Department during the response to the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon. The company also flew ground zero to help in the search, rescue and recovery efforts. A desktop application, Electronic Field Study (EFS), was developed for users to view, interact and extract data from the imagery. EFS was unique in that it allowed users to measure not only distances and areas, but heights as well, all through the use of a single image which surpassed the industry standard at the time that required the use of two or more overlapping images in order to extract any height information or vertical measurements.
With the early success, the company grew quickly, doubling its customer base each of the first few years. Knowing the processes would need to scale, Schultz turned to a former RIT colleague, Frank Giuffrida, and together they created the new Pictometry capture systems that would collect oblique imagery from all four cardinal directions as well as nadir. They continued to innovate and improve on the EFS application, creating the Tessellated Ground Plane to allow for more accurate georeferencing in areas of varying terrain and to allow for the ability to “walk the earth” when making measurements, instead of simple straight line calculations that do not take into account the varying terrain. They continued to create processes that scaled as the company expanded from six planes to 16 to 33 to 50.
As county customers found more uses for the Pictometry imagery, there was an increasing demand for additional products and integrations. The imagery was being incorporated into enhanced 9-1-1 call centers to deal with the rapidly increasing number of cell phone calls. The rough location from the phone would display a corresponding image on the call-taker’s screen allowing them to ask the caller what landmarks they could see. The full geo-referencing allowed the call-taker to do a reverse address look up and dispatch emergency services. Many call centers have attributed numerous saved lives to this ability to quickly locate mobile callers.
Pictometry imagery revolutionized the assessment market by allowing assessors to do more work from their desktop than ever before. The imagery also improved communication surrounding the selection of comparable properties to constituents, significantly reducing the number of costly appeals. In many states, assessment guidelines and regulations were modified to incorporate this new capability.
In 2006, the company expanded beyond the government customer and began development of PictometryOnline, allowing users to access the Pictometry images via the Internet. In 2010, the CONNECT™ platform launched. This cloud-based software solution offered the functionality and benefits of the EFS desktop solution remotely through a simple web browser. By now, the growing library had crossed the 150,000,000 image count.
By 2010, Pictometry had over 1,000 county customers as well as several federal, state, and commercial customers. Working with industry leaders such as Esri and Microsoft, the company continued to expand its coverage, capturing over 30,000,000 images per year in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and internationally. Domestically, Pictometry’s imagery covered nearly 90% of the homes in America.
Pictometry also continues to innovate, working with partners to create new products and services such as some of the most photorealistic 3D models and a ChangeFinder product that can locate and identify the changes in the structures. Along the way, Pictometry has obtained 75 patents covering the innovations and inventions used to create its unique products.