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Boulder, CO — October 15, 2018

On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm. The storm has left widespread destruction totaling up to an estimated $4.5 billion in property damage, a death toll of 18 people to date, and tens of thousands without homes, electricity, and food.

In response, the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC) on Thursday began mobilizing a fleet of aircraft equipped with Vexcel Imaging UltraCam digital aerial camera systems to capture ultra high-resolution vertical and oblique imagery of impacted areas, beginning at the gulf coastline and moving inland as far as Macon, Georgia. The entire collection covers regions in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama and amounts to an area 84k square kilometers, roughly the size of Austria. 

The imagery began appearing in the GIC ArcGIS Online based web map portal as early as Friday, October 12, less than 24 hours from collection, where it was made accessible to GIC member insurers, NOAA, FEMA, Red Cross and first responders involved in ground efforts. Additionally, a public-facing web map is available on the GIC website, allowing visitors to search for properties and locations and to compare before and after storm imagery using an on-screens swipe tool.

The GIC is a National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) initiative in partnership with Vexcel Imaging that is focused on building a national database of high-resolution imagery to be used by its member companies that write almost 80 percent of all property/casualty insurance and over 94 percent of all auto insurance in the country, as well as public sector and non-governmental organizations. The Geospatial Intelligence Center has previously mapped the areas hardest hit by hurricanes and disasters and those views are also available through the web map portal.  The GIC partners with Esri, a worldwide leader in GIS software and services, to leverage its ArcGIS online platform and tools to underpin the GIC web map portal for visualization and exploitation of the imagery.

 “Hurricane Michael is the first Category 4 storm in recorded history to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast,” said Ryan Bank, founder of the Geospatial Intelligence Center. “Regrettably, it may not be the last. The trend for billion-dollar weather and climate disasters shows a year-over-year increase. In 2017 alone, the US saw more than $300 billion in disaster-related costs. The GIC is committed to providing rapid and efficient aerial response to quickly get imagery into the hands of those who can use it to respond to citizens in such times of crisis.”

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau:

Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy, and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $436 billion in insurance premiums in 2016, or more than 79 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($202 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

About Vexcel Imaging:

Based in Boulder, CO, Vexcel Imaging Inc. is a leading provider of geospatial data and services and mapping products. At the core of the business is the industry-leading line of UltraCam digital aerial and terrestrial camera systems widely adopted by aerial mapping firms worldwide and underpinning the Vexcel data program. The UltraCam portfolio provides a range of imaging systems including photogrammetric nadir camera systems, combined nadir and oblique image capture systems, and high-altitude wide-area mapping systems. For terrestrial collection, the car-based mobile mapping system UltraCam Mustang captures a street-level perspective, and the UltraCam Panther collects high-resolution imagery, video, and LiDAR via a portable 3D reality mapping system. These systems, coupled with the UltraMap workflow software, offer geospatial data organizations and geospatial data users with highly accurate but cost-effective nadir, oblique and streetside data expertise. In 2006, Vexcel Imaging was acquired by Microsoft Corporation and contributed as a subsidiary to the success of Microsoft’s Bing program by pushing the envelope of photogrammetric hardware and software technology with innovations that underpinned the Bing Maps web service and mapping platform. As a direct result of these advancements, the UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software solution was born and today offers customers with an extremely rapid and efficient solution for generating aerial imagery and downstream data products such as high-density point clouds, digital surface models and orthophotos. Ten years later, Vexcel Imaging is again a private company and continuing our story of success with renewed and greater flexibility and agility. Learn more about Vexcel Imaging at http://www.vexcel-imaging.com/.

To access the Hurricane Florence Portal go to: https://maps.geointel.org/app/gic-public/


About Esri:

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, offers the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Since 1969, Esri has helped customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Today, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world’s largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and location analytics to inform the most authoritative maps in the world. Visit us at esri.com.


     
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Graz, Austria/Des Plaines, Ill. — October 5, 2018

In the days following Hurricane Florence’s landfall on the southeastern U.S. coast, extensive inland
flooding caused by high storm surge and continuous rain required mass evacuations and rescue
operations throughout Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Many areas were unreachable on
the ground due to water and debris, making aerial imagery an extremely valuable tool for emergency
responders, insurers and the public to better understand and assess the dangerous situation.

As soon as aircraft could be flown safely, the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC) mobilized a fleet of
airplanes equipped with highly efficient UltraCam aerial imaging systems and began collecting vertical
and oblique aerial imagery of the hurricane-devastated region. Over the next several weeks, images of
approximately 65 sq. km, roughly an area the size of Ireland, were processed and uploaded into the GIC
web map portal, built on Esri’s ArcGIS cloud-based mapping platform. In circumstances like this, high-
resolution survey-grade images are available within 24-36 hours of data collection, due to Vexcel’s high-
speed processing capabilities, and are accessible to the public and all agencies through a public map
viewer that allows users to search for properties and compare pre- and post-storm views. First
responders, federal government agencies, and state/local agencies have the option to submit
credentials to receive access to other portals containing additional information.

The GIC is a National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) initiative in partnership with Vexcel Imaging that is
focused on building an imagery database of vertical imagery for every address in the nation and both
vertical and oblique imagery of top U.S. metro areas. This image library is being built for the benefit of
GIC’s member insurers, as well as FEMA and other emergency responders. “Through the NICB, the GIC
has a close relationship with law enforcement and first responders, which means we have priority access
to disaster sites and are there working with authorities before, during and after any major disaster,” said
Ryan Bank, founder of the Geospatial Intelligence Center. “Participants in our network of aviation
companies are on call to respond to any disaster-hit area within two hours and immediately start
providing information that will improve situational awareness and help visualize properties in context
with their surroundings.”

The “before and after” imagery offered by the GIC is collected with fixed-wing aircraft equipped with
large format aerial systems capable of gathering high-resolution vertical and oblique imagery
simultaneously over large areas in a short period of time. The portal includes previously flown “blue sky”
imagery, useful for making comparisons against post-disaster imagery to assess damage and support
relief efforts. The viewing and analysis tools on the data portal include searching by address and
“sliding” between before and after imagery. To facilitate analysis, algorithms automatically detect
damage while other functions measure the area of roofs and structures.

In a disaster as widespread as Hurricane Florence, access to up-to-date and accurate aerial imagery
improves the safety of the public and emergency responders. The GIC is committed to continuing its
efforts to map the vulnerable areas of the country before and after disasters, and utilizing its advanced
imagery collection, processing and distribution technology to provide an extremely valuable service.

About the Geospatial Intelligence Center:

The Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC) is a consortium-funded initiative within the National Insurance
Crime Bureau (NICB), the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to
preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics,
investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than
1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations representing more than
79 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. The GIC is tasked with collecting and making
available high-resolution aerial imagery of the entire U.S. for use by its member insurers, law
enforcement, first responders and the public. GIC has partnered with Vexcel Imaging, developer of the
highly successful line of UltraCam photogrammetric aerial camera systems and software, and Esri, the
global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, to build a “blue sky” image library
and to rapidly collect and process current imagery of disaster-hit areas. The imagery is accessible to
multiple organizations and the public through a web-based portal to improve situational awareness and
support “before and after” comparisons.

To learn more visit NICB, Vexcel Imaging, or ESRI.

Click here to access the Hurricane Florence Portal.  

Contact Vexcel Imaging:

European Corporate Office
Anzengrubergasse 8
8010 Graz, Austria
Email: info@vexcel-imaging.com
Phone: +43 (0) 316 849 066 – 0

North American Corporate Office
12503 E. Euclid Drive, Unit 20
Centennial, Colo. 80111
www.vexcel-imaging.com
Jerry Skaw
Email: jerry.skaw@vexcel-imaging.com
Phone: +1 303 586 1625
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Images Available to Emergency Personnel, Insurers and the Public

As Hurricane Florence slowly moved inland, The Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC) began flying planes over the Carolinas on Monday, taking ultra-high resolution images of the damage and flooding. The resulting imagery, incorporated into Esri’s ArcGIS cloud-based mapping platform, can be viewed by citizens and insurers alike at this website – GIC Hurricane Florence.



By typing in an address, the aerials of the property will appear with a slider that moves to show the before and after views. A fleet of a dozen planes, each equipped with a $1.5 million UltraCam sensor from Vexcel, will be flying in full force this week, documenting the damage to provide insurers with vital information that will help them respond and pay claims faster to help victims get on the road to recovery. The imagery will also be provided at no charge to emergency personnel, first responders and law enforcement to assist in their response to the damage.

The Geospatial Intelligence Center has previously mapped the areas hardest hit by previous hurricanes and disasters and those views are also available.  This effort is part of the massive data collection and processing system spearheaded by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), whose member companies write almost 80 percent of all property/casualty insurance and over 94 percent of all auto insurance in the country.

The GIC’s service is available as a result of NICB’s partnership with several public and private organizations, including Vexcel Imaging, the premier aerial imaging company worldwide; Esri, the global leader in location intelligence; and the Federal Geographic Data Committee, whose GeoPlatform is managed by the U.S. Department of Interior and provides hosting and discovery services for national geospatial data assets. Esri makes the service available to any organization who needs it, free of charge, through its Esri Disaster Response Program.

On a regular basis the GIC is in the process of collecting high-resolutions “before” benchmark imagery on the ground and in the air in some 100 markets.  Through a network of aviation companies, the GIC is prepared to reach any disaster area in the U.S. within two hours and can begin imagery collection as soon as it is safe to fly and skies have cleared.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau:
 Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $436 billion in insurance premiums in 2016, or more than 79 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($202 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

About Vexcel Imaging:
Founded in 1992, Vexcel Imaging boasts over 20 years of photogrammetric and remote sensing expertise. Its highly successful line of UltraCam systems was launched with the first UltraCam in 2003. In 2006, Vexcel Imaging was acquired by Microsoft Corporation and contributed as a subsidiary to the success of Microsoft’s Bing program by pushing the envelope of photogrammetric hardware and software technology with innovations that underpinned the Bing Maps web service and mapping platform.As a direct result of these advancements, our UltraMap photogrammetric workflow software solution was born and today offers customers with an extremely rapid and efficient solution for generating aerial imagery and downstream data products such as high density point clouds, digital surface models and orthophotos. Ten years later, Vexcel Imaging is again a private company and continuing our story of success with renewed and greater flexibility and agility. Learn more about Vexcel Imaging at http://www.vexcel-imaging.com/.

About Esri
: Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, offers the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available. Since 1969, Esri has helped customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Today, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations including the world’s largest cities, most national governments, 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. Esri engineers the most advanced solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and location analytics to inform the most authoritative maps in the world. Visit us at esri.com.

About the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC):
The FGDC is an organized structure of Federal geospatial professionals and constituents that provide executive, managerial, and advisory direction and oversight for geospatial decisions and initiatives across the Federal government.  In accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-16, the FGDC is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior with the Deputy Director for Management, OMB as Vice-Chair. 
SOURCE:
National Insurance Crime Bureau
Related Links
http://www.nicb.org
https://www.vexcel-imaging.com/
http://www.esri.com/services/disaster-response
https://www.geoplatform.gov/hurricane-florence-response-and-recovery/
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