Friday, November 11, 2016

AXIS GeoSpatial LLC - Celebrating 15 Years in Talbot County Maryland

Easton, Maryland – AXIS Geospatial LLC has reached a milestone this November, celebrating 15 years of business. The company has grown from the visions of founders, Justin Lahman and Dave Rorrer, into a company with locations in three major U.S. cities and internationally.

AXIS readied itself for growth by implementing new processes, services while improving branding and increasing market penetration. Over the years, as technology evolved, improvements in aerial photography, computer software, and LiDAR have made the process more accurate, less cumbersome with the results more useful for clients. This expertise requires an investment which AXIS continues to maintain and support as an industry pioneer. Armed with the latest technology, AXIS growth plans include doubling current revenue by 2019 and an additional 50% growth by 2021.
AXIS GeoSpatial LLC Headquarters in Easton Maryland

As a local company here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, AXIS was selected by the State of Maryland to provide digital, high-resolution aerial imagery for use in all Emergency 911 centers and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and currently has the statewide contract from 2014-2019.

According to co-founder Dave Rorrer, “As a doer, learning to step back and manage the bigger picture as a manager has been challenging. Allowing our employees to do the job they were hired to do is required in order for growth and success to happen for everyone. We have been blessed with smart people helping along the way and could not have done it without them. We have always believed we could succeed.”

The biggest changes witnessed in the geospatial industry have been 100% technology driven. Advancements in LiDAR have, and will continue to, dramatically change any industry or profession requiring precision positional measurements. Miniaturization of, and exponential growth in, computing processing speed and storage capacity have contributed to these advancements. Processes that took months to complete in the past now takes days.

Aside from the forecasted growth outlined in the original business plan, the biggest operational changes within AXIS have been opening international production facilities, the creation of AXIS aviation and land surveying divisions. These operational expansions were not predicted or outlined in the original business plan 15 years ago. “I consider it a prime example of two elements required for success in business: adaption and exploitation”, says President & CEO Justin Lahman.

When asked what they see for the next 15 years, they stated other than standard corporate growth, look for more expansion at AXIS in the way of aviation, land surveying, UAS-related services and possibly civil engineering. There will be continued advancements in technologies used for data capture. Digital camera systems, Airborne and Aerial LiDAR systems, Drones and scanners will all continue to evolve and become more advanced allowing more work to be accomplished in a shorter amount of time with less man-hours required. Computer hardware and software systems used for manipulation and analyzation of data will also continue to change in order to keep up with data capture demands. Business will start relying on “the cloud” more and more for data storage and business operations.

Founded in 2001, AXIS GeoSpatial LLC, a national geocapture firm, employs innovative remote-sensing and measurement technologies to capture geospatial data for integration into civil engineering, land surveying and GIS applications. AXIS is headquartered in Easton, Maryland with additional locations in Colorado, Delaware & New Jersey. During the past 15 years, AXIS has applied extensive, proven experience in producing high quality aerial imagery, LiDAR, CADD, GIS and other related geospatial datasets for civil engineering and government clients throughout the US and abroad.

For more information please contact us.

Friday, October 21, 2016

CASE STUDY: Safely Surveying High Speed Rail Corridors

AXIS GeoSpatial LLC was selected to provide aerial LiDAR mapping and terrestrial LiDAR surveying services to support the preparation of a master plan and construction documents for a new rail station including utilities, parking lot, stormwater management, and full architectural and structural design of new ticket building, train platform, and pedestrian bridge.

Rail Overhead and Top of Rail elevation data was required to support the high speed rail corridor.  In addition to the top of rail and wire information, designers needed additional information at each catenary pole including the elevation of the guy wires at the catenary pole, the cross members between the catenary poles & the top of the catenary pole foundation. AXIS was contracted to provide supplemental survey data along a high speed passenger corridor, to include the location of catenary wires, towers and other features used to power passenger trains.

Due to the narrow high speed rail corridor AXIS recognized from the outset the limited instrument set up locations. Through careful planning and execution, difficulties with control geometry were avoided. The remaining challenge was related to the narrow incidence angle of the laser scanner beam with some of the wires, this was mitigated by placing control to cover shorter spans of wires, and gathering both overlapping and redundant data from adjacent control points.

To fulfill the client’s needs, AXIS deployed its Leica MS-50 robotic total station, which also has a high-definition (HD) laser scanner capability built into the instrument.

After orientation to the work area and railroad safety requirements, AXIS first located existing control points on each end of the area of interest. A control traverse was run through the work area as needed to connect to existing control points, and to establish control for the laser scanner data collection. AXIS used a combined workflow for the project, which meant that while the instrument was in place to set control, a second workflow for the laser scanner was initiated, eliminating the complicated logistics and multiple setups required if both a surveying instrument and a laser scanner were deployed on the project. The single occupation work flow also served to minimize errors in the dataset, which are introduced every time an instrument is setup or removed from a control point.

During the data collection workflow, separate conventional laser measurements were observed to selected features in the work area that were visible from adjacent control points. Positions of these features from all control points were compared and used to verify the integrity of the control points and laser scanner.

The full dataset was analyzed prior to delivery to the point cloud modeling team, ensuring the terrestrial data was fully valid, complete and geometrically sound before it was integrated into the airborne dataset. The fit of the terrestrial data into the airborne data without any adjustment proved the validity of both datasets, which were collected by radically different platforms and technologies, tied together by a common, high precision control network.

When the terrestrial data was compared to airborne laser data, the redundantly collected data matched closely to the aerial data, independently confirming the quality of the entire dataset, while densifying and clarifying catenary and guy wire locations thus yielding a highly precise and accurate map of the entire work area. The use of a high precision control network and careful planning allowed a seamless point cloud to be developed for the client.

The final deliverable was a high density point cloud showing the location of a large number of wires following different paths along a narrow corridor enabling the design team to analyze the paths of the wires as they crossed and re-crossed each other in different planes. Additionally, wires connecting the catenary wires to a transformer field, as well as unrelated power and transmission lines were located and modeled as they ran along the rail corridor or crossed it.

The project was completed ahead of schedule and on budget.

  • Using a high speed, high precision terrestrial laser scanner, AXIS surveyed catenary wire locations and elevation data of the designated area
  • Aerial and Terrestrial LiDAR Processing to classify and digitize catenary wires in the designated area
  • Aerial and Terrestrial LiDAR Compilation for compiling individual catenary wires in the designated area
  • Map Production / Final Edits of the catenary wires
  • Project Management
  • QA/QC
  • 2D & 3D Planimetric MicroStation Files

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Military Munitions Response Surveying

The expansion and contraction of the military industrial complex in the United States has left a number of areas in the country with a deceptively quiet and under recognized problem, called Unexploded Ordnance, or UXO.
The demand for utilization of land in many areas is leading land owners and developers to re-purpose tracts of land which have lain unused for many years. In many cases, this land was formerly used to either manufacture or test weapon systems, or may have been a military installation. An impact area or test range is a dangerous place to be, since the presence of unexploded ordnance is either known or suspected, but actual location is unknown.
The military has a program aimed at addressing the cleanup of these sites, called a Military Munitions Response, which is accomplished with a carefully planned and executed process that includes substantial records and historical research, soil investigation, and inspection of the land by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians, and the eventual safe elimination of hazards from a project. This investigation itself is a labor intensive but relatively safe process that involves gridding out search areas that will allow the EOD techs to use the tools at their disposal to efficiently and completely scan an area, with the goal of identifying the location of artillery shells, bombs and other munitions, so they can be found, mapped, neutralized and safely removed for proper disposal.
While many of the steps in the planning process are based on research, such military planning maps, testing records, known range uses and types of weapons systems in use during the use cycle of an installation or facility, the actual clearing of the land of its hidden hazardous materials relies on a careful and methodical exploration of its content. In many cases records are not clear, not available or inaccurate, so the hazardous and often unstable materials must be carefully searched for by highly trained technicians, using a number of sophisticated and simple tools in an environment that the average person would never dare to enter.
One an area of interest is identified, it is formally cordoned off and a grid system designed that will support an exhaustive sweeping of the site by a variety of magnetometers, ground penetrating radar and other sensor systems. All of the equipment is equipped with either GPS or optical tracking equipment that is time synchronized with the sensor output stream to enable mapping of readings.
Once the data about the site is collected, anomalies that were detected are assessed based on size, signal strength and even shape to identify items that will be excavated and fully investigated. Obviously, this is a delicate process, since every item is potentially a highly dangerous piece of ordnance. Once the item is exposed, it is carefully examined for identifying markings and characteristics that will help the EOD team make a positive identification of its capabilities. Once an item is identified, a decision is made as to whether it is dangerous or not. Often, an object is immediately identified as a practice munition that never held an explosive charge, but many times it is determined to contain a fuse, bursting charge, explosive payload or even in some cases toxic compounds such as mustard gas. It is critical to identify an objects nature and content, since while it may be safe to remove or detonate an object containing a known amount of energetic material, a shell containing mustard gas compound requires an entirely different process to render safe and dispose of.
While all of this may sound fantastically dangerous, every possible step is taken to avoid problems. All personnel entering the work area are briefed on the hazards, actions to take and what should be avoided. Additionally, all personnel are assigned an EOD escort to monitor all movement, scan areas for hazards and communicate with other team members about conditions and events as they occur. Since most surveyors have no formal training in this field, an escort allows them to conduct their assignments with minimal effect on their workflows. No equipment is placed on the ground, no tripod is erected and no stake is hammered into the ground until the area has been visually and electronically scanned for potential danger.
Surveying related tasks normally fall into several general categories. The first is stakeout of grid lines, squares or polygonal areas as directed by the EOD team. Generally  site conditions are less than optimal, as the nature of the site means it is often densely wooded or overgrown, necessitating traversing along work areas, projecting control across a or along a work area, while maintain high positional accuracy.
Once the EOD team begins its work, the survey team is often called into locate items encountered or provide positioning of equipment while it is used. The disruptions to in process tasks must be adapted to efficiently, as overall progress of the project is closely tied to finding objects and mapping them for evaluation.
Results of each day’s work, be it stakeout or location, must be immediately available to the management team so that the data of the entire team can evaluated, hazards cataloged and analyzed and changing conditions be planned for and adapted to. The quick delivery of data is made possible by highly skilled, methodical and detail oriented technicians, who must thoroughly understand all of the technical standards, equipment features and functions and have a firm grasp on solid, dependable methodologies and practices that ensure high quality results. Effective team management is critical, since a survey crew must be ready to accept new data and taskings, set priorities based on input from the project team and be able to work with precision, accuracy and efficiency.
Military munitions mitigation is an international challenge, with widely varying locations. AXIS team members have been involved in a wide variety of projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. Sites have included clearing antitank rocket training ranges at the former Fort Miles in Lewes, Delaware, clearing recoilless rifle projectiles from test ranges used by the Frankford Arsenal in Palmyra, New Jersey, searching for World War I era French antitank mines at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Aberdeen Maryland and clearing a former manufacturing facility in Cranbury, New Jersey of the World War II era fire bomb disposal areas and exploring the site of an accidental explosion in a hand grenade storage area that scattered blasting cap fuses and unexploded anti-personal grenades over a wide radius. AXIS is currently involved in work at the joint service installation in New Jersey that includes providing GPS calibration sites, staking exploration areas and providing control infrastructure to support the installation and documentation of monitoring wells across this wide ranging facility. One of the sites at Lakehurst is the site of a former submarine training range, where practice bombs were dropped from airships onto a mockup of a submarine. This area has yielded the both rusted out shells of sand filled training bombs, as well as small training munitions with bursting charges that helped personnel see the impacts of munitions on the target.
Often the survey team will be called upon to setup a test range, calibrate equipment or provide technical assistance with team equipment, or put into play data from multiple sources. The unique skills of a surveyor are critical for analysis of data, identification of coordinate systems and integrating data from a variety of sources into a single cohesive coordinate database.
AXIS GeoSpatial personnel have experience in this unconventional market, which has a unique set of requirements, including conventional surveying tasks such as stakeout and location of points of interest, and the ability to assist with positioning of other team equipment in a wide variety of conditions. While the challenges of this market seem daunting, the careful employment of safe work practices, close attention to site conditions and adherence to common sense rules ensure disruption of productivity is minimized, high quality results are achieved and a project is successfully completed, without any danger to personnel. 

William T. Derry, Prof LS
Director of Surveying Technologies
Contact us today to learn more!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

AXIS opens new office in New Castle, Delaware

AXIS GeoSpatial LLC, an industry leader in surveying and mapping services, today announced the opening of a new office in New Castle Delaware to accommodate the company’s significant growth and to focus on serving clients in the area. 

Although primarily based on the east coast, AXIS has provided service to numerous clients nationwide. AXIS’ new location is located at 40 McCullough Drive, 2nd Floor in New Castle DE 19720.  The 3,000 square feet solar powered office in the Southgate Center will be open from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.

We are excited to be in our new location and look forward to becoming an integral part of the local community, explains William T. Derry, Prof LS Director of Surveying Technologies for AXIS.

The new office represents their commitment to growing the business and serving clients through direct communication, technical support and providing the best possible balance of geospatial expertise and knowledge of surveying and mapping methods.

Founded in 2001, AXIS GeoSpatial LLC, a national geocapture firm, employs innovative remote-sensing and measurement technologies to capture geospatial data for integration into civil engineering, land surveying and GIS applications. AXIS is headquartered in Easton, Maryland with additional locations in Colorado, Delaware & New Jersey. During the past 15 years, AXIS has applied extensive, proven experience in producing high quality aerial imagery, LiDAR, CADD, GIS and other related geospatial datasets for civil engineering and government clients throughout the US and abroad.

For more information about the new location, please call 410-822-1441 or visit

Friday, June 17, 2016

Interested in updating your existing GIS-based impervious surface and land cover datasets?

Environmental and permitting concerns need to be addressed as land development progresses.  Impervious surfaces are areas where a portion of the land has been modified to reduce the land's natural ability to absorb and hold rainfall.  Land developers, engineers and local governments are particularly concerned with these surfaces because certain projects require compliance with storm water discharge regulations: in this situation, the percentage of impervious areas based upon pre and post development may be integral. AXIS can incorporate data that we have compiled in house with land use and soils data to calculate accurate impervious surface areas along with your latest site plans.

Land cover is the physical land type such as water, forest, etc. different from land use which shows how people are using the land.  By comparing land cover data over a period of time, you can document land use trends and changes.  Here on the east coast that is extremely important for coastal managers dealing with sea level rise and other environmental changes such as climate change and population growth.  AXIS land cover data can allow you to better understand the impacts of natural disasters, assess urban growth and model/monitor storm surges and the impacts of sea level rise. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we are helping various agencies with these GIS datasets.