Vricon is on a mission to map the world in 3D. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Vricon started in 2015 and has been growing ever since. Vricon offers decision makers in the military, intelligence, telecommunications, and other major industries access to the entire world in highly accurate, immersive 3D — right on their desktops. With the world in 3D, analysts can better visualize and anticipate challenges and communicate through exceptional storytelling.
In a way, Vricon is a big-data company. With access to the world’s largest archive of commercial imagery, DigitalGlobe, Vricon combines all available satellite imagery of a given area to create the world’s largest three-dimensional map of the world. Vricon’s 3D world is incredibly detailed in both remote and urban areas. More recently, Vricon has moved beyond big data and into creating solutions for decision makers.
“We’re moving beyond products to solutions,” explains company spokeswoman Lisa Witzig, “but you always have to have that globe in 3D, that foundation, in order to move beyond the data.”
But what makes the world in 3D so important for industries like defense, intelligence, and telecommunications? The answer: It just makes more sense. It’s much more efficient and effective for military and intelligence officials to make decisions about location when they can turn to a real, three-dimensional model of the earth for analysis. Decision makers need to quickly determine the distance from a window on the fifth floor of a building to the eighth floor of the one next door, and Vricon offers that level of precision and detail in three dimensions.
“To me, it’s very intuitive,” saids Witzig. “One of our biggest challenges is we — the collective we, the intelligence community, the military community — have trained analysts to work in 2D. That’s become the norm, but that’s not what we live in. You experience everything in 3D. So what we’re doing is we’re taking you back to the most basic human level, which is to interpret your world in a very natural way.”
Vricon works closely with the military, and these kind of details are vital to the successful execution of missions and the lives of our soldiers. Witzig gives the example of a war fighter in a remote area under cover of darkness, navigating unfamiliar terrain without well-mapped roads. Having a 3D model is not only essential to the operation in the moment, but also when it comes to mission preparations and rehearsal. 3D has similar importance to the intelligence community. Having a 3D model of infrastructure allows decision makers to make important measurements in order to protect citizens and officials. One solution that Vricon offers its users is line-of-sight calculation. For example, if the president is going to be making a big public speech, intelligence officials put countless hours and resources into keeping him or her safe. With a highly accurate, detailed 3D model, officials can perform a viewshed analysis to determine where the president could be seen from and, more importantly, from where he might be vulnerable. Determining what you can see from any specific point in an environment is much more difficult without a comprehensive three-dimensional view of the world.
Vricon also works closely with the telecommunications industry. One particular group they are working with is looking to upgrade its networks across an entire region. Having a 3D model of their region of interest allows telecommunications giants to determine what can interfere with or block signals, such as forests, buildings, and mountains, and is essential for cost-effective planning.
Vricon’s most recent groundbreaking innovation is their Precision 3D Registration, or P3DR, software suite, which is designed to automatically georegister imagery against Vricon’s highly accurate 3D geospatial foundation. For example, if a military aircraft is flying over enemy territory, capturing imagery of a base on the ground, Vricon’s P3DR software automatically georegisters that imagery, assigning it an accurate geographic location so that it can be mapped and located efficiently. This is just one of many examples of the advanced solutions Vricon is inventing for its users.
“If you’re flying something like a UAV and you need to understand where that imagery is, it’s not about what are you’re looking at; it’s can you identify specifically where that point is. You need to have a foundation to marry it against,” says Witzig. “That’s what Precision 3D Registration is all about.”
Vricon has big — classified — moves in the works, but assures AGS that they’re pushing forward as a solutions and services space. By moving from big-data management to developing solutions for partners in the military, intelligence, and telecommunications industries, Vricon is enabling decision makers to implement geography in unprecedented new ways. Their advanced take on spatial data and mapping paints a beautiful — three-dimensional — picture of the future of geography.