Lost in some of the recent hype surrounding Web mapping portals are the companies that are the backbone of the geospatial industry. Optimal Geomatics ("Optimal"), formed just two years ago, but born of Avcan Systems, which had been incorporated since 1983, focuses on acquiring highly accurate geospatial databases for customers in the electric and gas utility industry.In December, Optimal closed on its acquisition of MD Atlantic, formerly Atlantics Technologies, in Hunstville, Alabama.According to the company's president and CEO, Colum Caldwell, the move now provides a more complete solution for its customers that need to acquire high resolution aerial photography or LiDAR imagery as well as deliver digital geospatial data in a format compatible with their existing geographic information system."Accuracy is a huge issue for our customers," said Caldwell, who is positioning the company to leverage location-based technology in other industries such as railroads and state departments of transportation.
The company's strength lies in linear corridor data acquisition, and LiDAR is proving to be a major competitive differentiator as its customers demand better quality digital elevation models and data that extracts elevated features such as transmission lines.The acquisition of MD Atlantic solidifies the company's position for delivering a variety of data choices, and allows Optimal the ability complete the value chain between capturing raw geospatial data and delivering the core components that help jump start the customer's GIS projects. Caldwell sees much opportunity in continuing to build onto Optimal's traditional customer base as companyies in the transmission industry become increasingly aware of the need to develop an accurate digital geospatial foundation of their assets as well as mitigate the risk associated with terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
Optimal is based in Vancouver but has a primary client base in the U.S. It's customers include Xcel Energy, Cinergy, TXU-Oncor, and Oklahoma Natural Gas.The company is traded on the Toronto-based TSX Venture Exchange as OPG.