04 September 09
As I'm driving home from my day job the other day, I’m grateful to even have one in today's climate, I’m sure I still want my own business. I am a firm believer that ice can be sold to Eskimos if two elements are present... desire and opportunity. After all, Eskimos do buy refrigerators.
BeltAir Industries, Inc. (BAII) is a company that does elevated photography (www.beltair.org). Very similar to aerial photography, elevated photography is an example in innovation. While the need of aerial photography needs no invention. How we get it, does. This innovation is to satellites is what prop-driven commuter planes are to big, fast, shiny airliners. There is still a vital need; the commuters can do things that the airliners can't.
Some of you may feel services like Google Earth (tm) will make my service obsolete before I even get started. With Google Earth (tm), you can get an impressive image over nearly every square foot of the earth. But the devil is in the details. Satellite imagery has two very real problems. The picture could be 5 years old or more and changes are not captured - especially in the case rapid developments of an auto accident.
More subtle, is the ability to capture synoptic information. There is the pre-start of a project, the start, mid-schedule developments and finally, the completion. Photographic documentation of each stage of development is performed. It would be pure luck to get that level of coverage from a satellite or airborne operation.
Next is detail; the satellite images now available are very impressive. However, by law, satellite imagery open to public viewing can only be allowed to be so good, as not to give away national capability. Elevated imaging is also supported by the serendipitous use of engineering quality software.
My reason for not losing faith and determination is because need was demonstrated on that ride home I was at the light of a heavily used intersection. A local TV channel news van with a telescoping mast with cameras and sensors – was capturing a major modification to an interstate on-ramp. If images, available from the services like Google Earth would have solved the problem, then why was this service necessary?
Finally, there is the issue of entreprenuerialship that is the spirit, the creation of jobs, the lifeblood of business, and commerce in this country. In a conversation with another friend I was told that if I couldn't compete with services like Google, then I should not even get started with starting my own service. That struck me as odd; according to his view - when Burger King moves into a local neighborhood - all sales of home barbeque grills should stop. Little guys like me should not even try if they don't have billions of dollars at their disposal. I don't believe that. See what aerial imaging can do, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAEOTeht7-w.