Inside Nearmap’s breakthrough combination of 3D aerial imagery and artificial intelligence

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Boston, as seen by Nearmap aerial images.

Aerial imagery business Nearmap launched its new 3-D product that could revolutionize the way industries such as urban planning, architecture, construction, government and councils view and shape cities across the U.S. and Australia.

Here’s the deal: Nearmap 3-D allows customers to stream and export 3-D imagery on-demand at a massive scale, through its proprietary MapBrowser web application. Additionally, because the imagery is updated frequently, businesses can work with the most current information to make better-informed decisions.

In addition, Nearmap has developed new AI technology that is turning millions of aerial images, captured over a decade, multiple times a year, into valuable datasets. These datasets can be used to more accurately and efficiently measure change and quantify attributes, such as solar panels, pools, roofs or construction sites. Organizations ranging from small businesses to large companies and cities will be able to take advantage of AI-driven location intelligence.

The AI technology will allow organizations to identify locations with specific attributes and in so doing, reduce site visits, generate more leads, and eliminate the time involved to inspect properties manually.

“Nearmap 3-D is the result of a significant investment in R&D, but also listening to our customers and what they need to transform the way they work. Accessing 3-D imagery up to now has typically been an arduous, time-consuming and expensive process – but not anymore,” said Tony Agresta, Executive Vice President of Product at Nearmap. “This represents the single largest, most frequently updated footprint of 3-D accessible through a browser. The ability to measure in 3-D space, size up an area and then export Nearmap 3-D for use in other platforms will transform the aerial imagery market.

Instant Access to 3-D through MapBrowser

Nearmap is making 3-D imagery accessible to anyone in the same way it has with 2-D. While Nearmap has offered 3-D imagery since 2017, this new iteration of the technology allows users to instantly stream 3-D content at massive scale via its MapBrowser web application.

The lightweight platform offers customers a fully immersive 3-D experience, allowing them to visualize cities in 3-D from any direction, measure distances, and immediately export a custom area in a variety of 3-D formats at unprecedented speed – the download time is a matter of minutes for most requirements and only a few hours for very large footprints.

“It’s like switching from DVDs to streaming services,” said Dr. Tom Celinski, Executive Vice President of Technology & Engineering at Nearmap. “Our camera technologies have been capturing 3-D since 2017, but now our secret sauce is bringing it onto MapBrowser, allowing users to easily and instantly stream this content with many export options. Now users can visualize, measure, define a custom area, export our 3-D and use it in their workflows with other commercial platforms and tools. We’re helping 3-D experts and novices alike access reality like never before, and this is an important next step in our Reality as a Service journey.”

Nearmap 3D

San Francisco, as seen by Nearmap

And like the best streaming services, Nearmap 3-D comes with an extensive library, more than 400,000 km2 covered. It is updated once a year and covers major urban areas in Australia and the U.S.

“We live in a 3-D world, we think in 3-D, and so we have to ensure that our products give the closest representation of reality as possible,” Celinski said. “That means businesses that rely on visualizing 3-D content, like architects, for example, can now access up-to-date 3-D models instantly and export them in just minutes. In a tender process, for example, that can be the difference between winning a new project or not. The opportunities for Nearmap 3-D are endless.”

Petabytes of images, and a living data set

Nearmap AI technology is the result of more than two years’ worth of research and development, and a team of close to 20 data scientists and machine learning engineers. The team, led by Dr. Michael Bewley, is using the petabytes of imagery that the business has captured over the past 10 years and turning it into a living dataset to accurately identify changes or quantify attributes from the Nearmap library of aerial imagery.

Nearmap has built highly accurate machine learning models and deployed them on a massive scale. The automated process, and the constantly learning engine, means that the AI technology can be applied to any new geography. Nearmap also applies the models to new surveys, generating fresh results with current imagery.

To date, Nearmap has performed analysis on over 1 million square kilometers of imagery across Australia and the U.S. (which constitutes about 80 million properties) and is performing more analysis every day. Nearmap is now inviting customers to take part in a beta program to experiment with various use cases.

“We don’t prescribe how our technologies or content can be used by our customers,” said Dr. Michael Bewley, Director of AI Systems at Nearmap. “Our solar customers could use the AI technology to easily identify where and when solar panels have been installed for maintenance jobs, to prospect new clients in an area where solar energy’s popularity is on the rise; or a government entity that previously had the arduous task of tracking swimming pools or construction in their jurisdictions will be able to do it automatically.”

“But this is the tip of the iceberg – we’re just getting started. This technology is going to profoundly change the way that cities are built,” Bewley said. “Our plans include delivering AI results in many forms, much the same way we deliver our imagery today.”

Both technologies will be presented at Nearmap’s flagship event, Navig8, in Perth on June 6, Melbourne on June 11 and Sydney on June 13.

— Solar Builder magazine

How aerial imagery helped Auric Solar close more sales (and how you can too)

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Auric Solar, a residential and commercial solar power provider, turned to Nearmap, a premium global location content provider specializing in high-resolution aerial maps, to accelerate the company’s initial assessments. The result was a more complete and accurate view of properties that led to overall better solar sales proposals.

Attend this free Webinar tomorrow to learn more about using aerial imagery at your solar company

How it works

Auric accesses Nearmap imagery through the Aurora Solar platform, a solar sales and design software program. By utilizing Aurora software integrated with Nearmap imagery, Auric analysts have access to crystal clear and current imagery.

“Aurora’s responsive engineering interface coupled with Nearmap’s high-resolution captures allow us to use a combination of 3-D lidar models and 2-D high-resolution maps for complete accuracy in the planning and measuring stage of a project. This equips both the sales and analytics teams with accurate information to save time, money and serve the customer,” said Tyler Soukup, Director of Analytics at Auric Solar.

Analysts can make accurate measurements, run production numbers, identify roof obstructions and craft proposals all within the program. The sales team, analysts and installers are all on the same page—significantly reducing change orders.

Auric also has access to Nearmap historical imagery from years past, including leaf-on and leaf-off imagery—the presence or lack of the foliage depending on the season. This greatly enhances shading analysis, making it easier to place the panels for maximum sun exposure.

The company not only saves a significant amount of time with less onsite visits to qualify homes, but it also opens up more customers to solar.

“We’ve been able to qualify more customers than ever because of Nearmap’s clear, current captures. You really can’t accurately qualify a property without up-to-date imagery,” notes Soukup.

With annotated, high-resolution imagery incorporated into proposals, customers are impressed and have a clear understanding of the project.

“We quote projects from $20,000 to a few million dollars, and our proposals, plans and marketing materials should match that level of value,” said Soukup. “Nearmap helps us achieve that. It creates a ‘wow’ factor.”

Before using Nearmap aerial imagery, Auric resorted to using low-resolution satellite imagery to qualify properties. With outdated, blurry imagery, it was difficult to make accurate measurements and qualify a home before sending a technician for an on-site assessment.

Auric Solar is one of the fastest growing companies in the nation, with recognition on three consecutive Inc. 5000 lists and offices in Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Utah.

How you can use HD Aerial Imagery to bid smarter, design faster and win more solar business

Wed, Dec 5, 2018 2:00 PM EST

This webinar will highlight the use of how aerial imagery integrates with leading PV design platforms, and how having the most recent property location content aids in both the strategy and tactical side of your business. Project managers, designers, and contractors rely on high-res 2D orthomosaics, oblique aerial imagery, and 3D location content to unlock insights, streamline worksite operations, and communicate with confidence.

Sign up for free here.

— Solar Builder magazine

Nearmap’s new MapBrowser tools improve measurement precision, imagery for remote solar design

nearmap rooftop design

We gave this a mention in our top storylines from Solar Power International this year, but Nearmap is changing the game for remote design for solar installers with a complete measurement toolset in MapBrowser for the solar, roofing and other rooftop industries. The new MapBrower tools allow users to measure roof-pitch, height, width and area, enabling roofers and solar installers to confidently measure rooftops and structures from high-resolution oblique aerial images.

The new MapBrowser helps customers significantly reduce onsite visits during the quoting and planning stages of projects and complements their remote roof/site inspection workflows, giving many small businesses the power of expensive systems that only large companies use.

“Gone are the days of climbing on roofs to take measurements. Delivered to the cloud within days of capture, our aerial imagery allows roofers, solar companies and other small businesses to carry out assessments from the comfort of their office,” said Tony Agresta, Executive Vice President of Product, Nearmap. “Once the domain of large companies, the new features provide businesses of all shapes and sizes with the tools they need to save time, plan and estimate more accurately at a fraction of the price.”

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Using Nearmap’s new tools, roofers and solar companies will be able to:

• Prospect more efficiently by viewing and expanding opportunities through aerial maps instead of other, more traditional ways.
• Process leads more quickly by qualifying prospects prior to visiting a potential job.
• Reduce costs associated with the qualification and proposal stages.
• Create better proposals using up-to-date, high-resolution photos, giving companies a better chance at winning a client’s business.
• Close more sales with the most accurate and competitive quotes.
• Increase revenue without adding systems or headcount.

Businesses in construction, home building, painting, insurance and other industries can also benefit from these new tools to accurately measure areas on properties in three dimensions. Nearmap’s aerial imagery can help users to show context for work being done, and the imagery can be annotated with notes, drawings and measurements that provide details of the plan.

Nearmap Oblique imagery can be accessed through a standard web browser using Nearmap’s intuitive MapBrowser application. In addition, Nearmap Oblique photos are published at sub-7.5cm Ground Sampling Distance (GSD)—better than satellite imagery—which allows users to see great detail.

— Solar Builder magazine

Nearmap now offers complete aerial map measurement tools for solar installers, roofers

nearmap

Nearmap, a premium provider of high-resolution aerial maps, is introducing a complete measurement toolset in MapBrowser for the solar, roofing and other rooftop industries. Referenced in our top storylines from SPI, the new tools allow users to measure roof-pitch, height, width and area, enabling roofers and solar installers to confidently measure rooftops and structures from high-resolution oblique aerial images.

The new MapBrowser helps customers significantly reduce onsite visits during the quoting and planning stages of projects and complements their remote roof/site inspection workflows, giving many small businesses the power of expensive systems that only large companies use.

sb-econference-web-post

“Gone are the days of climbing on roofs to take measurements,” said Tony Agresta, Executive Vice President of Product, Nearmap. “Delivered to the cloud within days of capture, our aerial imagery allows roofers, solar companies and other small businesses to carry out assessments from the comfort of their office. Once the domain of large companies, the new features provide businesses of all shapes and sizes with the tools they need to save time, plan and estimate more accurately at a fraction of the price.”

Using Nearmap’s new tools, roofers and solar companies could do the following:

  • Prospect more efficiently by viewing and expanding opportunities through aerial maps instead of other, more traditional ways.
  • Process leads more quickly by qualifying prospects prior to visiting a potential job.
    Reduce costs associated with the qualification and proposal stages.
  • Create better proposals using up-to-date, high-resolution photos, giving companies a better chance at winning a client’s business.
  • Close more sales with the most accurate and competitive quotes.
  • Increase revenue without adding systems or headcount.

Businesses in construction, home building, painting, insurance and other industries can also benefit from these new tools to accurately measure areas on properties in three dimensions. Nearmap’s aerial imagery can help users to show context for work being done, and the imagery can be annotated with notes, drawings and measurements that provide details of the plan.

— Solar Builder magazine

Aurora Solar sales, design software now includes HD aerial images from Nearmap

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Aurora Solar, a solar sales and design software leader that was in our nine customer service products to watch, sent word that it is now partnering with Nearmap for a serious upgrade to its site image interface. Through this collaboration, Nearmap’s up-to-date, sub 3” GSD imagery is now available within Aurora’s software, helping solar installers design and sell with exact precision.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Nearmap to provide aerial imagery to solar installers across the country,” said Chris Hopper, CEO and co-founder of Aurora Solar. “By integrating high-resolution imagery with our industry-leading software, we empower solar installers to quote with confidence—reducing the number of truck rolls required. This is the next big step in remote solar design.”

Previously, Aurora has enabled its users to design over 1 million solar projects, with over 60,000 projects designed in March 2018 alone. Now, in addition to satellite imagery, Aurora customers can utilize high-resolution and current Nearmap imagery for increased accuracy and informed decision-making.

RELATED: How Momentum Solar doubled its business with aerial imaging software

“We’re excited to announce this relationship because it offers a lot of flexibility for both Nearmap and Aurora customers. The partnership offers solutions for businesses of all sizes. Organizations can choose from different licensing models: pay as you go, with unlimited access to imagery, or per bundle through Aurora, which provides a more flexible option based on the needs of the user,” said Patrick Quigley, EVP of Nearmap U.S. In addition, existing Nearmap customers can also authenticate their Nearmap licenses in Aurora.

Alex Chelius of Momentum Solar notes that this integration will “significantly increase our productivity as well as accuracy.”

Aurora Solar users now can …

• Reduce costly, time-intensive on-site visits with Nearmap aerial captures. The imagery’s detail enables professionals to measure and design from the comfort of an office with a precision that rivals traditional measuring methods.

• Enhance their shading analysis and remote system design processes by utilizing high definition images to better model sites.
• Increase the number of leads they nurture by spending less time on each lead. Aurora users are now able to expand their coverage area rapidly.

• Access Nearmap historical captures so users can visualize the property through all seasons.

“Every design begins with imagery, and high-quality imagery helps designers create permit-quality drawings and game-changing proposals,” said JT McCook, sales consultant at Aurora Solar. “That’s why this integration is so exciting; it allows solar installers to create highly accurate 3D models remotely.”

— Solar Builder magazine