Fredericton’s Leading Edge Geomatics Ready for Takeoff With New Investment

Originally Published on Huddle: http://huddle.today/from-the-military-to-business-how-frederictons-leading-edge-geomatics-scored-a-big-investment/ 

 

LEG-team-photo-e1510944437180-810x456

When Bruce Hogan, Bill Kidman and William Lowry retired from the Canadian military about 10 years ago, they came home with an idea of how to apply what they learned overseas in the business world.
The three men had worked in geomatics in Afghanistan and they knew those skills would be applicable here. They just weren’t sure they could build a viable business.

“We were geomatics in the military flying airborne sensors. Bill Kidman’s last mission was to fly the entire country of Afghanistan [and do] aerial photography,” says Hogan. “We knew what we were doing in terms of the product. Business was a bit of a stretch for us. We had to learn a lot, but we knew how to make the actual systems work and data work.”

But the team did make the business work. Ten years later, Leading Edge Geomatics is a New Brunswick company providing aerial survey and geomatics services across North America. Based in Lincoln, Leading Edge has a fleet of four aircraft and seven digital sensors and offers customized solutions to clients across different industries including energy, forestry, and mining.

Hogan says Leading Edge has worked for companies such as NB Power, Nova Scotia Power and Hydro One in Ontario. On the forestry side, they work with J.D. Irving and other forestry companies in the Maritimes. Leading Edge also has clients in the United States, including Michigan, Texas, Virginia and South Carolina.

What makes the company stand out from others in the industry, Hogan says, is their specialty in the forestry sector. The company has developed its proprietary Enhanced Forestry Inventory management solution. It combines lidar terrain and surface products to offer forestry professionals a mix of forest metrics and terrain data that lead to an improved management strategy and operational efficiencies.

“It’s kind of changing the way for forestry interpretation of the land base,” says Hogan. “We definitely have some intellectual property around forestry that makes us very unique.”

The company’s specialties and potential for growth recently caught the attention of Novacap, a private equity firm based in Montreal and Toronto that has over $2.26-billion of assets under management. The firm announced this month that it made a “strategic investment” in Leading Edge. The details of the investment are not being revealed publically, but founders Hogan, Kidman and Lowry, will continue to operate the business.

While they don’t reveal the size of the investment, Hogan does say it gives them enough capital to double the size of the company.

“It’s a significant investment for us because it allows us to grow. Capital is always not simple to get, so it allows us to have the ability to have unlimited amounts of capital,” says Hogan.

“Our hope is to grow this by double. We’re 60 people now and hopefully [we’ll have] 120 people in the next three to five years. They have the capital to make all that happen. The plane and the sensor itself is like $2-million, so it takes a lot to make that happen.”

Yong Kwon, a partner at Novacap in Toronto, says the firm was interested in Leading Edge because of their story and growth potential.

“We were immediately attracted to the company because it looked like a niche business where they had a differentiated solution,” says Kwon.

“We thought, ‘hey, this is a really neat story.’ Then they had the financials to back it up. Very nice growth and a very profitable company, but they really they hit a constraint in terms of access to capital to buy equipment, to hire people and so on.”

Like all investment firms, Novacap’s goal with Leading Edge is to make a profit. Kwon says they plan on doing this by providing Leading Edge with not just capital, but guidance too.

“Our return is the exact same as management’s return. We hold the same shares that they hold and whatever percentage return we benefit from, they will as well. It’s a true alignment,” says Kwon. “At certain firms, they have very structured investments. They’ll say, ‘we want to make our dollar before you make your dollar.’ There are scenarios where those turn very ugly. We don’t like to put ourselves in the situations. We take a true partnership approach.’”

Hogan says the Leading Edge team is excited to take their company to the next level, while still being based in New Brunswick.

“We take great pride in being in New Brunswick and having a fairly substantial company and getting Montreal and Toronto involved with us to try to turn this into a bigger entity in New Brunswick,” he says. “It’s really exciting to try and actually grow and have the capital investment to be able to grow.”

NOVACAP MAKES STRATEGIC INVESTMENT IN LEADING EDGE GEOMATICS

Montreal, Quebec – November 6, 2017: Novacap, one of Canada’s leading private equity firms, today announced that it has made a strategic investment in Leading Edge Geomatics (“Leading Edge”), a New Brunswick-based provider of aerial survey and geomatics services and solutions. Novacap’s investment will further accelerate growth through expansion into new markets, drive strategic acquisitions and continue investments in research and development of the company’s industry leading decision-support solutions.

 
Based in Lincoln, New Brunswick, Leading Edge provides end-to-end aerial lidar surveying services, complete with unique data processing capabilities and industry leading decision support solutions. The company owns and operates its fleet of aircrafts for lidar data collection for end-users across various industries to better manage their assets. The company has developed its proprietary Enhanced Forestry Inventory management solution, combining lidar terrain and surface products to offer forest professionals the combination of forest metrics and terrain data that lead to an improved management strategy and efficiency in operations. Leveraging their experience and technology, the company developed its Powerline Mapping solution to support utility companies in better managing hazardous vegetation for thousands of kilometers of powerlines throughout North America.

 
“Novacap is excited to join forces with Leading Edge and continue investing in people and products, and will support the company in finding new market opportunities to bring the business to the next level,” said Yong Kwon, Partner at Novacap. “Over the last decade, Leading Edge has delivered best-in-class aerial lidar services and industry leading solutions to the forestry, utility and other sectors and we look forward to partnering with the company to help execute an aggressive growth plan and truly bring the business to new heights.”
Bruce Hogan, Bill Kidman and Will Lowry, Leading Edge’s founders will continue to operate the business and maintain a significant interest in the company’s ownership.

 
“We see tremendous growth opportunities in the market for Leading Edge and know we have picked a strong partner with deep operational expertise to help us deliver on this potential,” said Bruce Hogan, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder. “We couldn’t be more excited about the future for the business and what this means for New Brunswick and our key stakeholders.”
The transaction is being financed through the NOVACAP TMT IV Fund, which specializes in partnering with exceptional companies that have high growth potential in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors. Leading Edge was advised by Confederation M&A, an Atlantic Canada-based boutique M&A advisory firm.

 

ABOUT NOVACAP
Founded in 1981, Novacap is a leading Canadian private equity firm with $2.26 billion of assets under management. The Firm has raised over $2.6 billion in capital since its inception. Novacap’s unique investment approach, based on deep operational expertise and an active partnership with entrepreneurs, has helped accelerate growth and create long-term value for its numerous investee companies. With an experienced management team and substantial financial resources, Novacap is well positioned to continue building world-class companies. For more information, please visit www.novacap.ca.

Novacap Logo

 

 
ABOUT LEADING EDGE GEOMATICS
Founded in 2008, Leading Edge Geomatics is an industry leader in providing aerial survey and geomatics services across North America. The company was founded by three principals who gained extensive experience in the geomatics industry while working for the Canadian Forces on projects throughout North America and Afghanistan. Leading Edge specializes in using lidar and advanced airborne imagery to help clients in the forestry and utility sector produce maps, collect data and better manage their assets.

Job Opportunity: Junior Software Developer

At Leading Edge Geomatics (LEG), our mission is to provide next generation service and technology solutions in the geomatics industry.  LEG has grown to be one of the top providers of digital aerial photography and LiDAR throughout Canada and the Northeastern United States. Reporting to LEG’s Lead Software Developer, the expected duration of this full-time position is one year.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Participate in the creation of new software applications.
  • Maintain existing production software.
  • Participate in peer review and design exercises.
  • Preparation of reports, manuals, and other documentation on the status, operation and maintenance of software.
  • Assisting in the collection and documentation of user requirements.
  • Production of digital spatial information products.

Essential Qualifications:

Successful completion of a post-secondary degree program in computer science, information systems, software engineering or related degree.

Experience with GIS/Geospatial solutions is considered an asset.

The Junior Software Developer is a highly-motivated, innovative thinker with the ability to work in a team. Attributes include:

  • Experience working with GIS formats such as shapefile, GEOtiff, ArcGIS and associated databases and languages
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • A strong sense of business and a desire to work in a competitive environment.
  • A self-starter with excellent problem solving skills.
  • A continuous learner
  • Excellent Team Skills

Languages

  • C#
  • R
  • Python
  • SQL

Job Opportunity: Junior Remote Sensing and LiDAR Analyst

At Leading Edge Geomatics (LEG), our mission is to provide next generation service and technology solutions in the geomatics industry.  LEG has grown to be one of the top providers of digital aerial photography and LiDAR throughout Canada and the Northeastern United States. As a result of our expanding product offerings, we are seeking a Junior Remote Sening and LiDAR  Analyst to join our positioning and production team.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Assist in the efficient cataloguing, organizing and storage all current survey data
  • Process trajectories of the highest levels of accuracy and integrity to meet project specifications
  • Provide assistance to the survey section in high survey season as needed
  • Assist with flight planning as needed
  • Provide Production Team with well-organized and standard format data sets
  • Making process improvement suggestions and contributing to best practice documents
  • Regularly researching new remote sensing and GIS/GPS technologies and service providers

Essential Qualifications:

Successful completion of a post-secondary degree program remote sensing and/or GIS. Strong computer skills and a valid driver’s license are also required. Experience with trajectory processing is considered an asset.

The ideal candidate is a highly-motivated, innovative thinker with the ability to lead others and work in a team. Additional attributes include:

 

  • Very strong data management and organization skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail.
  • Thorough working knowledge of computer database systems and data security requirements.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • A continuous learner and self-starter with excellent problem solving skills
  • Ability to project manage, and work with others

 

To learn more or apply to this position, please email your cover letter and resume in PDF format to hr@legeo.ca. LEG thanks all applicants, however only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

Job Opportunity: LiDAR Data Processing Analyst, Terrasolid TerraMatch Consultant/Contractor

At Leading Edge Geomatics (LEG), our mission is to provide next generation service and technology solutions in the geomatics industry.  LEG has grown to be one of the top providers of digital aerial photography and LiDAR throughout Canada and the Northeastern United States. As a result of our expanding product offerings, we are seeking a LiDAR Data Processing Analyst proficient in Terrasolid, specifically TerraMatch and TerraScan, with experience working on large projects and datasets to work as a consultant/contractor with our positioning and production team.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Define, create and setup Terrasolid Projects from scratch
  • Import all LAS data, trajectories and reference data
  • Generate tile structure based on project requirements
  • Process, filter and classify LiDAR as required in TerraScan
  • Run TerraMatch on all resultant data.
  • Assemble and deliver final adjusted data to production
  • Making process improvement suggestions and contributing to best practice documents
  • Regularly researching new remote sensing and GIS/GPS technologies and service providers

Essential Qualifications:

Successful completion of a post-secondary degree program remote sensing and/or GIS. Experience with trajectory processing is considered an asset. Must be highly proficient in TerraMatch, TerraScan, and related Terrasolid products.

The ideal candidate is a highly-motivated, innovative thinker with the ability to lead others and work in a team. Additional attributes include:

  • Proficient in Terrasolid TerraMatch
  • Very strong data management and organization skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Thorough working knowledge of computer database systems and data security requirements.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • A continuous learner and self-starter with excellent problem solving skills
  • Ability to project manage, and work with others

To learn more or apply to this position, please email your cover letter and resume in PDF format to hr@legeo.ca. LEG thanks all applicants, however only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

March 29/30: LEG and MCFT offering Introduction to LiDAR Based Enhanced Forest Inventory (EFI), Terrain and Surface Products for Forest Professionals

The Maritime College of Forest Technology’s, Department of Continuing Education is pleased to offer Introduction to LiDAR Based Enhanced Forest Inventory (EFI), Terrain and Surface
Products for Forest Professionals with Riley Côté-DeMerchant as instructor. The dates are March 29 and 30, 2017 beginning at 8:30 AM each day. The course will be held in room 230 of the Maritime College of Forest Technology, Fredericton, New Brunswick. Specific course details including an instructor profile, application form, and tuition costs can be found at http://mcft.ca/en/continuing-education/upcoming-courses 

As LiDAR accessibility continues to increase, more industries are adopting the technology and discovering its practical and cost-saving applications. Resource industries including forestry, mining, and energy, are using LiDAR to increase efficiencies and lower operational costs. These industries are continuously discovering new ways to manipulate and apply data to better their operations, such as discovering watercourses and previously undetected structures and growth patterns.

Much like the GIS, LiDAR has the potential to revolutionize the forest industry. The availability of LiDAR derived Enhanced Forest Inventories has recently become more common and available
across many land bases in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, presenting forest professionals with an unprecedented amount of relevant data. The available information ranges from basic tree height, to more complex and detailed inventory attributes such as diameter distribution of stems throughout a stand. Further, EFI provides highly detailed information on the ground, including elevation data, percent slope and, and accurate hydrographic information.

Through hands on demonstrations of software, this course will introduce students to the basics of LiDAR; what it is, how it works, and why it is an economical choice for data collection and analysis. An overview of LiDAR equipment, and discussion of predicted upcoming LiDAR advances, applications and trends will also take place. Riley will also provide insight into the cost-savings that Leading Edge Geomatics (LEG)’s LiDAR products and services provides. You will find out exactly how LiDAR technology can:
-Lower operational costs
-Identify high value wood products
-Analyze variation in forest growth and performance
-Increase safety
-Reduce negative environmental impacts
-Improve change detection
-Account for within stand variability across the landbase

If you have any questions or wish to reserve a seat on this or any other course, please call MCFT at 506-458-0649.

Leading Edge Geomatics receives funding through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative to develop better mapping technologies

May 26, 2016 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Leading Edge Geomatics will be able to develop new and advanced airborne mapping technology thanks to a repayable government contribution of $486,471, which was announced today by Matt DeCourcey, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The company, based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, will research and develop a new product to help standardize industry technology. Currently, airborne geomatics companies across the sector—companies that map geographic information—use different equipment. The various mapping technologies have varying capabilities and analyze data in different ways. Leading Edge will develop a product to standardize and integrate these different technologies, which will improve the accuracy of mapping data and the sector’s capabilities for analyzing geomatics information.

The investment is being made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI), which supports companies in leading-edge research and development to help improve competitiveness and promote collaboration.

Quotes

“Through investments in research like this, we are committed to ensuring that our aerospace and defence industry remains a world leader. We are proud to support companies like Leading Edge Geomatics that are developing products and services that will drive innovation for years to come.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“The support of the SADI program has enabled us to accelerate the design and commercialization of an innovative set of proprietary aerial survey sensor components that will improve our remote sensing operations and be a catalyst for us to grow our export sales.”
– Bill Kidman, President and Chief Technical Officer, Leading Edge Geomatics

Quick facts

• SADI investments enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace and defence sector and enable Canadian aerospace and defence companies to accelerate innovation and collaborate with post-secondary and research institutions.
• Atlantic Canada’s aerospace and defence industry includes over 200 companies that employ more than 10,000 people and account for $1 billion in annual revenues.
• This repayable contribution marks the first SADI investment in a New Brunswick–based company and second in Atlantic Canada.
• Founded in 2008, Leading Edge Geomatics provides aerial survey and geomatics services across North America. The company’s airborne imagery helps organizations map, monitor and manage their assets.

May 26, 2016 – Ottawa – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Leading Edge Geomatics will be able to develop new and advanced airborne mapping technology thanks to a repayable government contribution of $486,471, which was announced today by Matt DeCourcey, Member of Parliament for Fredericton, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The company, based in Fredericton, New Brunswick, will research and develop a new product to help standardize industry technology. Currently, airborne geomatics companies across the sector—companies that map geographic information—use different equipment. The various mapping technologies have varying capabilities and analyze data in different ways. Leading Edge will develop a product to standardize and integrate these different technologies, which will improve the accuracy of mapping data and the sector’s capabilities for analyzing geomatics information.

The investment is being made through the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI), which supports companies in leading-edge research and development to help improve competitiveness and promote collaboration.

Quotes

“Through investments in research like this, we are committed to ensuring that our aerospace and defence industry remains a world leader. We are proud to support companies like Leading Edge Geomatics that are developing products and services that will drive innovation for years to come.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“The support of the SADI program has enabled us to accelerate the design and commercialization of an innovative set of proprietary aerial survey sensor components that will improve our remote sensing operations and be a catalyst for us to grow our export sales.”
– Bill Kidman, President and Chief Technical Officer, Leading Edge Geomatics

Quick facts

• SADI investments enhance the competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace and defence sector and enable Canadian aerospace and defence companies to accelerate innovation and collaborate with post-secondary and research institutions.
• Atlantic Canada’s aerospace and defence industry includes over 200 companies that employ more than 10,000 people and account for $1 billion in annual revenues.
• This repayable contribution marks the first SADI investment in a New Brunswick–based company and second in Atlantic Canada.
• Founded in 2008, Leading Edge Geomatics provides aerial survey and geomatics services across North America. The company’s airborne imagery helps organizations map, monitor and manage their assets.

Associated links

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Industrial Technologies Office
Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative

Leading Edge Geomatics and Aethon Aerial Solutions partner to deliver next generation LiDAR solutions to Utility and forestry industry

Leading Edge Geomatics, leaders in airborne imagery and LiDAR acquisition for forest inventory mapping, environmental monitoring and the managing of power line assets, announced today that it has reached an agreement to become a partner in the Aethon Affiliate Network.

This partnership brings together the technical expertise of Aethon in the development of state of the art autonomous and semi autonomous Aerial Acquisition Systems with the operational excellence and experience of Leading Edge Geomatics.

In announcing the agreement, Bruce Hogan, VP Sales, stated: “By deploying the next generation of airborne LiDAR systems developed by Aethon, Leading Edge Geomatics will offer its clients a next generation service offering. The capability of the new Aethon system will offer electric utilities the capability to inspect poles, monitor vegetation and manage rights of ways while capturing 3D geospatial intelligence for stress analysis, predictive trending and compliance reporting. This is a capability critical to enabling utility customers to strategically manage the long-term health of their infrastructure.”

As a result of the strategic agreement, Leading Edge Geomatics and Aethon Aerial Solutions will form a Joint Venture company based in British Columbia, which will provide access to the west coast market for Leading Edge’s unique forestry and Utility product offerings. “This type of relationship, which will improve access to the west coast market, is key to our export and growth strategy,” stated Mike Oliver, VP of Corporate Development
About Leading Edge Technologies
Leading Edge Technologies deploys the latest 3D sensor and optic technology to acquire aerial imagery for use in infrastructure asset management applications. The company has mapped over 190,000 km of assets in the past five years, and currently owns a fleet of five aircraft, four LiDAR systems, and multiple digital aerial camera systems.
About Aethon Aerial Solutions
Aethon – Aerial Solutions, as part of Aethon holdings, brings together a seasoned team of industry experts with over 100 years of collective experience in airborne LiDAR and remote sensing for commercial industrial and defence applications. By investing in technology and partnering with groups like Leading Edge and others, Aethon Holdings is creating a level of expertise in airborne remote sensing, field operations proficiency, and 3D data analytics for airborne remote sensing, and UAV based inspection that will be unmatched in North America.

LiDAR News: High-Resolution LiDAR Topography and Bathymetry data for Puerto Rico

Originally Published on LiDAR News website. See original publication Dewberry selected to produce high-resolution LiDAR data for Puerto Rico

Firm to produce nearly 4,000 square miles of topographic and bathymetric lidar data for USGS, NOAA, and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Dewberry, a privately held professional services firm, was selected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to collect and process topographic lidar data of Puerto Rico and the islands of Culebra, Vieques, and Isla de Mona.

Falling under the USGS’ Geospatial Product and Services Contract and co-funded by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the data will be used to produce a high-resolution digital elevation model portraying the topography and bathymetry of Puerto Rico and its surrounding islands. The data will provide improved elevation products to support important flood control, emergency management, and natural resource planning activities.

Dewberry will produce more than 3,400 square miles of topographic lidar data for this study and selected Leading Edge Geomatics to perform data acquisition using its Riegl Q680i and Q780 sensors. Dewberry will also process more than 500 square miles of existing topobathymetric lidar data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Geodetic Survey Remote Sensing Division using a Riegl 820G sensor.

“The nearly 4,000 square miles of lidar data we will process contain a variety of geographical challenges that we are uniquely prepared to meet,” said Dewberry Director of Remote Sensing Amar Nayegandhi. “Our professionals have a deep understanding of USGS lidar specifications and a familiarity with the landscape that stems from more than a decade of project work in Puerto Rico. Our more recent experience mapping the East Coast of the U.S. and the state of Alaska has equipped us with the practical knowledge necessary to help make this endeavor a success.”

Dewberry recently produced a high-resolution land cover map of Puerto Rico for NOAA’s Office of Coastal Management’s Coastal Change Analysis Program. The firm has supported projects in Puerto Rico for the Federal Emergency Management Agency since 2006, creating inflow hydrographs, sea level rise studies, mitigation plans, and GIS maps.

About Dewberry

Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 40 locations and 2,000+ professionals nationwide. To learn more, visit www.dewberry.com.