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Checking Out the Lay of the Land

Software Gives 3-D Views of Terrain

By Jenalia Moreno
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 14, 2005; Page E05

Applied Imagery's first customer purchased the company's terrain imaging technology to search for tools from the past.

The University of Birmingham in England used the Silver Spring company's program last year to find archeological remnants from the Bronze Age.

Chris Parker pulls up a demonstration model of Baltimore. "It would appear as if you were playing a video game in Baltimore," he says.

Applied Imagery

Location: Silver Spring

Funding: The company is housed in the Silver Spring Innovation Center, a high-tech incubator in Montgomery County.

Big idea: Visualization and analysis of 3-D maps derived from airborne surveys.

Big-name customers: Defense Department, University of Birmingham in England, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, city of Naperville, Ill.

Founded: June 2004

Who's in charge: Chris Parker, president and founder.

Employees: Two.

Web site: www.appliedimagery.com.

Best employee perk: Working across the street from Mayorga Coffee Factory.

"You would see patterns of ancient civilizations underneath a field of just, say, sugar beets," said Chris Parker, 38, Applied Imagery's founder and president. "It would be invisible to the naked eye."

The purchase came two weeks after Parker licensed the software, which produces and analyzes three-dimensional images of terrain. The software works with lidar surveys, which record laser light pulses .

The lidar technology, which uses data collected by aircraft, was already available. But it produces huge quantities of data that often required the costly use of supercomputers. Applied Imagery's software, which sells for $3,495 per license, processes and analyzes the three-dimensional imaging on a conventional computer.

The technology was developed in a physics lab at Johns Hopkins University, which licensed it to Parker. The university's Applied Physics Laboratory is collecting royalties on sales, according to Heather Prettyman, the technology and marketing associate for the lab's Office of Technology Transfer.

One of Applied Imagery's demonstration models is an image of Baltimore, complete with a view of Camden Yards.

"It would appear as if you were playing a video game in Baltimore except the distances would be precise and accurate," said Parker, who has worked as an engineer for Voice of America and in sales for Britain's Cable and Wireless. "I gave a presentation in Baltimore one time, and people picked out their own building and zoomed in on it."

Parker's clients include the city of Naperville, Ill. "It makes the data much more manageable," said Sarah Jenniges, geographic information systems specialist for the city of 130,000. "It's a very nice software package because it allows you to create models of the landscape very quickly."

Parker would not reveal how much revenue his private company has taken in but said he hopes to show a profit by year-end from sales in the United States and internationally through distributors.

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