Spreading their wings – Spookfish takes aerial imaging to new heights
03 November 2017
03 November 2017
Aerial photography has come a long way since a French photographer climbed into a balloon and floated above a village over a hundred years ago.
The fuzzy, black and white images of the mid-1800s have given way to crisp colour pictures that reveal pin point detail of streets, cities and whole countries.
Australian geo-spatial imaging company Spookfish is a leader in high resolution aerial imagery, creating hardware and software systems that produce images sought by government agencies, property developers and miners – anyone with an interest in managing landscapes.
Griffith Hack has been working with Spookfish on its patents and trademarks since the company was launched in Perth about five years ago.
Spookfish Chief Technical Officer Simon Cope says the firm provided Griffith Hack Principal Steven Starkie with a White Paper about its intellectual property, which Steven used to draft hardware and software patents.
“Aerial photography has been around for 100 years so there’s a lot of existing intellectual property in this space,” Simon says.
“Steven was able to identify what could be patented out of what we’ve created. We cook up the ideas and then hand them over to him to protect.”
The technology that Spookfish are developing is a significant step forward compared to current systems, Steven says.
“Aerial surveys are expensive and typically the resolution of images obtained is constrained by the camera arrangement used. A survey carried out with the Spookfish system produces more images at significantly higher resolution than is possible with other systems, so it’s possible to obtain better images at lower cost,” he says.
Spookfish’s hardware patents relate to image stabilisation and a camera scanning mechanism on its planes. The firm’s software patents relate to systems that manage its aircraft in crowded airspace so that it doesn’t get diverted by air traffic control and improves productivity.
Simon says intellectual property is critical for Spookfish as the firm seeks to carve out a slice of what’s a global industry worth over $3 billion a year.
“Being able to do something different, and protect that with patents, gives you a competitive edge,” he says.
Spookfish has formed a partnership with a US aerial imagery firm, whose own patent experts examined their IP.
“Maintaining your competitive edge through your IP is critical for maintaining your value proposition,” Simon says.
Steven supports Simon’s comments.
“Spookfish has an edge over competitors because of their innovative technology that enables more images to be obtained at better resolution. The patents are important because they provide Spookfish with a degree of exclusivity. This enhances the value proposition for them and their US partner in relation to the market.”
Spookfish has also engaged Griffith Hack to protect its trade marks globally.
“We have a very distinctive name that helps us stand out in the market, so obviously that’s something we want to protect,” Simon says.
(For the record, a spookfish is a deep water fish that has a transparent head and barrel-like eyes.)