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Gray Sky, News
According to an article in the Tallahassee Democrat Sunday, Hurricane Michael’s waters dredged up shipwrecks on Dog Island in Franklin County that are believed to be vessels wrecked during the 1899 Carrabelle hurricane. That Category 2 storm swept through the Florida Keys wiping out dozens of ships along with extensive land damage. And now a century later Michael has uncovered at least two of the large wooden ships as seen in this aerial image captured by Vexcel’s Condor camera 2 days after the storm. Click here to explore the area in our public map viewer. The ‘before/after’ slider shows no sign of the ships prior to Michael.


Gray Sky, News
The GIC team is completing processing of acquired imagery, and publishing it steadily to our productions systems.  Inland cities like Union City and Macon Georgia are covered, as well as Tallahassee Florida and Cullman Alabama. With this type of imagery you can get up to 5 views of a single property allowing you to rotate to see all sides of the structure. For tips on viewing our oblique imagery, reference this post from yesterday.


Gray Sky, News
Gaining access to high resolution aerial imagery immediately after a disaster like Hurricane Michael is critical for rescue, insurance claims assessment, and humanitarian efforts. The ability to enter an address and instantly see the nearby conditions has obvious benefits. But when the area affected is as large as Michael’s, it is impossible to manually  inspect every area. This is where AI and computer vision play an increasingly important role in post-disaster operations.

Our partners at Munich RE have trained a model to asses roof damage from high resolution aerial imagery, and this layer is now live in the public GIC map application.

This makes it possible for an assessor to immediately focus in on a hard hit region. As an example, here is an area in Panama City right in the storms path. Yet not all property sustained equal damage. Here we see a great example of where the model correctly detected light, medium, and high roof damage all in an area roughly the size of a few sports fields.  Click here to explore the area shown below in our public map viewer. And a huge thanks to the team at Munich RE for creating this valuable data layer so quickly!


Gray Sky, News
Captured with Vexel’s highest resolution camera, we now have our first 360 degree oblique images of Hurricane Michael’s devastation online. With oblique views, you can look at the sides of houses and not just the roof. You can also rotate to see up to 4 views of a single property. As of this evening we have Port St. Joe, Panama City, Mexico Beach, and Dothan available, with more imagery being published throughout the evening.

For comparison, here is the Nadir view of the same location as the image featured above.

Oblique 360 imagery is currently available in the NICB Web application. Click here to view the imagery.

To turn on the Oblique imagery viewer, look for the Oblique  Viewer button in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Once loaded, you can click on the main map to bring up the corresponding oblique image in the viewer. There you also have access to tools like a ruler, compass and exposure adjustment.

This imagery is also available programmatically via REST api or WMTS layer here:


As of 6:30 pm PST, the GIC Map apps, tile servers, and REST API’s are back to normal. We are still investigating the root cause of the outage and will report details here as they become available. 

We sincerely apologize for the unplanned downtime and fully realize it could not have come at a worse time, in the aftermath of Michael.

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

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

To access the Hurricane Florence Portal go to:

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


While we are working to restore map and tile access on our production systems, we have worked with ESRI to get a temporary workaround in place on ARC GIS Online. you can access 8 blocks of data at this location:

Scroll down to latest content, click on the Area of Interest you would like to access, and open the map viewer.

We will continue to work on restoring access with updates to follow on the blog and Twitter.

As hoped for, flying conditions remained solid throughout Friday, yielding 15 fully loaded data units. In an effort to get the data into the processing pipeline as soon as possible, we skipped the usual commercial delivery options and went DIY. A member of the NICB (henceforth known as ‘super agent Todd’) loaded the units into plastic storage containers and red eyed them to Denver where our crew was waiting to meet him. After a middle of the night handoff, our GIS team began pushing the raw imagery through the pipeline immediately. The fruits of this effort will be apparent shortly as imagery goes live in under 18 hours from wheels down!

Kudos to all  – shaving many hours off of the data delivery has allowed us to have massive amounts of new imagery online today. Stay tuned here on the blog, or follow our twitter feed for updates. Extra special thanks to Super agent Todd – we promise you a K-9 escort, or at least a shoe phone next time.

Data Unit handoff in the parking lot.
and safe arrival at our offices for the data gremlins to dig into.