Success Stories – PCI Geomatics Enterprises Incorporated

The Company

PCI Geomatics is a global leader in the development of software and systems for remote sensing, imagery processing, and photogrammetry. With more than 30 years of experience in the geospatial industry, PCI is recognized globally for its excellence in providing software for accurately and rapidly processing both satellite and aerial imagery.

With headquarters in Markham, Ontario, a regional Canadian office in Gatineau, Quebec as well as a satellite sales office in Beijing, China, PCI Geomatics competes globally with an emphasis on the commercial market. They have delivered their products, services and software worldwide to over 100 countries in Europe, South America, South East Asia and the Pacific Rim. As such, they are primarily an export driven company with a focus on innovation, with approximately half of their 70 employees involved in R&D activities.

The Project

The SADI project Automated Wide Area Earth Observation Information Extraction was a broadly based seven year (2008 to 2015) initiative that supported R&D activities with the objective of further enhancing and increasing PCI Geomatics' technical capabilities in the area of Earth Observation (EO) information. With the improvement in satellite system capabilities to deliver tailored data products, EO is a growing market with an abundance of sophisticated imagery available as more countries launch their own satellites systems, resulting in an increased awareness of and demand for commercial data solutions.

The positive outcomes of this project will allow PCI Geomatics to capture this growing market as well as capitalize on its unique expertise in remote sensing technologies, take advantage of the substantial advances in computing power, and position itself to deliver unique and innovative geo-imaging products. The company met its ultimate project goal which was the launch of a suite of leading-edge software tools for accurately and rapidly processing both satellite and aerial imagery which offers significant improvements and cost advantages over earlier versions.

"We are a leader in a field that is transforming how we process information and we provide the enabling tools; we are at the forefront with our expertise and technologies; the outcomes of our SADI activities have set us up for future growth and opportunities in a wide variety of global markets and applications (security, mapping, monitoring climate change, arctic exploration etc.)."

David Stanley, Chief Technology Officer, PCI Geomatics

Results

The SADI funding has assisted PCI Geomatics in enhancing all of its software technologies, most notably Geomatica (Core and Prime) and Geolmaging Accelerator (GXL), and allowed them to enter the marketplace with leading edge tools and value-added functionality at a faster rate. PCI Geomatics was able to apply more resources to technology development, improve the quality of its product release and expand its range of offerings to new technology areas. Currently, PCI has four key products (Geomatica, Geolmaging Accelerator (GXL), Historical Airphoto Processing (HAP) and Geomatica Discover) all of which have been enhanced during the SADI project.

More specifically, the technology platforms developed during the SADI project now offer improved accuracy, increased speed, flexibility and scalability (including deployment to the cloud computing environment), higher levels of automation and ultimately more customized, enhanced imagery at a reduced cost than those currently available on the market.

Leveraging GXL’s rapid processing capability made it possible to optimize image selection from over 50,000 archive RapidEye images.
Composite image of Mexico, comprised of thousands of individual satellite images,
produced by GeoImaging GXL

PCI Geomatics has achieved this success, by creating and sharing mutual benefits of collaboration with numerous Canadian universities and research institutions. During the SADI project, PCI Geomatics worked closely with seven universities across Canada (both with professors and graduate students). Collaborators included: (i) York University (ii) University of Toronto (iii) University of Ottawa (iv) Queen's University (v) University of Waterloo (vi) University of Calgary and (vii) University of New Brunswick. In addition, over the course of the SADI project, PCI Geomatics collaborated with a number of Research Centres including the Alberta Terrestrial Imaging Centre, Pacific Forestry Centre, and Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing. These partnerships were beneficial in allowing PCI Geomatics to address the technology gap within their own skills set as well as draw on the extensive leading edge expertise available within the institutions, particularly in the area of classification of imagery (both SAR and optical), new algorithms and neural net computation (artificial intelligence).

Geomatica software
PCI Geomatics' flagship software product Geomatica, enhanced with innovative features during the SADI project

As a result of the SADI project, PCI Geomatics now has a competitive advantage as it has limited, if any, Canadian competitors and they are at the forefront in transforming how customers process and use remote sensing data. They have developed enabling tools and are seeing results as a leading exporter of this technology. With the SADI project now concluded, PCI Geomatics continues to grow the sales of its flagship product Geomatica and as customers begin to realize the benefits, they are now being introduced to the new GXL product (which has evolved from its prototype state to first commercial release) and thus new sales opportunities have materialized.

In Summary

The SADI project assisted PCI Geomatics to compete in a timely manner with market leading technologies for accurately and rapidly processing both satellite and aerial imagery. Their software supports critical decision making for security, defence, and planning across a wide array of industrial sectors from forestry and resource extraction to mapping and emergency preparedness. The work undertaken as part of the SADI project further solidified PCI Geomatics' expertise and credibility in this area, has maintained their core R&D team, and has subsequently led to solid financial performance as they continue to exploit the growing market for enhanced geo-imaging solutions.

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