Apple's Lessons for the Geospatial World - 17/02/2014

GIM International Interviews Jürgen Dold

Mark Pronk, contributing editor, GIM International

Under the umbrella of Hexagon, Leica Geosystems has several partners with whom it is developing total solutions. In this interview, Jürgen Dold outlines the direction Leica Geosystems is moving in the many segments in which it is active. In particular, he believes that the geospatial industry should use Apple's apps as the basis for creating more and better turnkey solutions.

What have been the benefits of Leica Geosystems’ recent takeovers of the various companies?

We have taken two different approaches to acquiring companies. The first approach has been to acquire local organisations that were typically long-time partners of ours, especially in countries which we perceive to be growth markets. There, rather than just having the dealer working with us, we want to have our own organisation helping us to shape and develop the market. In that respect we are now local in all the BRIC countries; 25% of Leica's employees come from or are based in emerging markets. This is an interesting approach because it forms a stronger basis for growth: closer to the customer and much more local, to understand the needs in a different way.

The second approach has been technology-driven. The technology-based acquisitions help us to move into new applications and to expand our portfolio. We recently announced our acquisition of Airborne Hydrography (AHAB), and our intention is clear: we are currently leading in laser technologies and now we will be pushing the limits of lasers in hydrography too.

Z/I Imaging is now integrated into Leica Geosystems. What will customers notice as a result of this integration?

By taking out Z/I Imaging out of Intergraph and placing it in the Hexagon Geosystems group we basically co-positioned the Leica Geosystems brand and the Z/I Imaging brand in the same segment, namely the airborne mapping segment. Both brands have a significant market share from the past – they both have traditions of over 80 years of aerial photogrammetry. They were perceived as competitors, but offering the same application does not necessarily mean you are competing for the same money. Because if you have both technologies, the Z/I Imaging technology and the Leica Geosystems technology, you basically find customers who are more suited to either one application or the other.

Will Z/I Imaging as a brand name disappear?

Z/I Imaging will continue as a brand name. It has an established base of customers who have acquired solutions from the company over many years, so there is no need to change it. It is important to realise that this is a market with a lot of customer loyalty. There are now Z/I Imaging customers who buy Leica Geosystems products and vice versa. Some customers were already joint customers, because some of them bought our Lidar and DMC cameras and so forth. We already had a mixture of these, but now at our user conferences we are bringing these groups together. 

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Last updated: 28/01/2021