Earth’s surface is 196.9 million square miles of which dirt, plants and man-made structures cover nearly 57.5 million square miles. Understanding the characteristics of the land we live on and the impact of as-built infrastructure is more important than ever as the movement toward a sustainable future heats up.
Quantum Spatial — the anchor tenant at KBS’s Commonwealth building in Portland, Oregon — is the largest, most technically advanced full-service geospatial solutions provider in North America. The go-to partner for organizations that want to map, model and better manage their world, Quantum Spatial has completed more than a billion acres worth of geospatial data projects since its inception four years ago. In 2017 alone, the company captured 294 million acres of imagery.
Geo mapping gives a unique perspective into the physical space around us by capturing, analyzing, manipulating and integrating spatial data to create comprehensive maps. Fancy words aside, geo mapping essentially means creating 3D maps and models of the ground. These visuals are used by energy, transportation, environment and government entities to facilitate better decision-making in the areas of land use planning, habitat assessment, disaster preparedness, regulatory compliance, engineering design and utility management — just to name a few.
The emerging field of geospatial technology will continue to gain traction as the demand for more data — more information — reaches new heights. According to a P&S Market Research report from May 2017, the global Geographic Information Systems (GIS) industry is on pace to grow at an annual rate of 10.1 percent, reaching $17 billion by 2023. “The value of GIS has grown exponentially in recent years,” said Eric Merten, director of professional services for private markets at Quantum Spatial. “When people think of geo mapping, most consider routine applications, such as Internet streets maps. But geospatial services have become an essential strategy in countless applications that have made the modern world possible.”
Quantum Spatial offers a diverse portfolio of advanced imaging and remote sensing technologies to serve various industries, including energy, energy management, natural resources — and even offers a legal spin.
Energy fuels our ability to advance, innovate and thrive — making it one of the most important aspects of geo mapping. Quantum Spatial works closely with providers to develop maps that service the entire lifecycle of a utility. From identifying optimal routes for new transmission lines to flagging hazards, including trees that are too close to the power lines, landslide dangers or flooding potential — the maps are used to assess new growth potential while limiting risk.
Disaster can strike without notice. Quantum Spatial provides up-to-the-minute imagery and analytics to help emergency managers prepare for a potential disaster and offer crucial data post-disaster to aid in recovery. Following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, Quantum Spatial was commissioned with emergency geo data collection and processing for the barrier islands along the Atlantic coast. The data was used for damage assessment and recovery planning.
Quantum Spatial helps federal clients better understand and manage land, water and wildlife resources. It has mapped millions of acres across the U.S., working on projects such as shoreline mapping, ecosystem conservation, forest assessment and creating predictive models for conservation efforts.
The scope of GIS goes beyond providing companies and businesses with a competitive edge. It can also be a legal champion. Quantum Spatial owns a rich historical archive of aerial imagery consisting of more than one million images dating back to 1928. These images provide a snapshot of historic land use, the environment, geology, vegetation, wetlands, urban growth and agriculture, and they have been used in criminal and civil cases related to boundary disputes, historic property use involving former military bases, industrial use involving rail yards and ports as well as private parties involved in fence line disputes.
Quantum Spatial owns a rich historical archive of aerial imagery… dating back to 1928.
The driving force behind geo mapping is highly sophisticated technology. Quantum Spatial is a recognized leader in the collection of high-resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), an ultra-sensitive remote sensing method that scans the earth’s surface with laser pulses. In 2017, Quantum Spatial covered nearly 89 million acres using LiDAR. The company also pioneered the use of airborne thermal infrared imagery to accurately depict temperature distribution of a particular environment.
Future growth of geo mapping depends on new technologies, adaptation and demand. Quantum Spatial is working on a number of new GIS innovations and recently developed subterranean utility robots that can record and communicate any changes associated with the unit.
“Our R&D team is always looking for new ways to add value to the GIS field and its usability to streamline processes and create greater efficiencies for our clients,” said Merten. “The use and need for geo mapping will only continue to get stronger, and Quantum Spatial is at the forefront of new innovations.”
Quantum Spatial’s regional office at Commonwealth is located in Portland’s growing “Technology Triangle,” a cluster of creative/tech companies — and a perfect fit for Quantum’s tech-savvy workforce. The company likes the central location catering to the needs of its bike-riding employees and minimizing their commute to work. Commonwealth features a fitness center with locker rooms and showers and a bike center where employees can store their bikes and freshen up before and after work.
“Commonwealth is a beautiful building so it’s almost a piece of art,” said Merten. “KBS has done an amazing job in the renovation by keeping the original architectural integrity of the building, but at the same time modernizing the facilities. Commonwealth is the perfect environment in which Quantum Spatial can thrive.”