MS/B, MDA Offering Aerial Imagery of Hurricane Katrina-Affected Areas

October 18, 2005

Marshall and Swift / Boeckh (MS/B), and MDA Federal Inc. (MDA Federal), both divisions of MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), are now offering aerial imagery for more than 50,000 square miles in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The imagery, which is accessed via Internet browser, covers large segments of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and displays the areas before Katrina made landfall and after the hurricane had passed through. This extensive collection of images is a resource to help identify heavily damaged areas, prepare risk analyses, and estimate claim severity.

According to Jonathan Kost, vice president of Claims at MS/B, a provider of building cost data and estimating technology to the property insurance industry, “Many structures in the affected areas can no longer be seen, and some may have already been demolished. Legislators, insurers, lending institutions, governmental bodies, consumers and others have a pressing need for a point of documentation of what happened during Hurricane Katrina. The comprehensive set of images developed by MS/B and MDA Federal is unique in that it is an aggregation of five different datasets, giving multiple views of the most heavily-affected areas and properties from a variety of angles to avoid obstructions or other poor visibility issues.”

The images are orthorectified and “registered” to each other and to their location on the earth through advanced processing by MDA. “This process ensures that the images conform appropriately to the contour of the earth based on the angle of capture, acquisition height, and so on,” said Roger Mitchell, vice president at MDA Federal Inc., which was formerly known as Earth Satellite Corporation or “EarthSat.” “The process is quite extensive, but it allows a user to navigate to a specific property address that is designated by a crosshair on the map image.”

Seventy percent of the images have a graphic resolution of 30 cm (1 ft) per pixel with most images having positional accuracy of 3.2 yards. These higher-resolution images are comprised of the 35,000 square-mile area including Mobile, Alabama; Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi; metropolitan New Orleans, Louisiana; and the parishes surrounding New Orleans.

Other features include:

* Delivery and data storage via browser-based interface application hosted on MS/B servers;

* “Before” images dating from June and July, 2005;

* “After” images from Aug. 30 through Sept. 3, 2005

* User-friendly application with extensive help files to teach system navigation;

* A variety of geographical overlays: longitude and latitude, street and highway names, Hurricane Katrina track, Hurricane Katrina swath, impassable roads, and damaged areas;

* Wind-force overlay;

* Sourcing citations including geographical coordinates, image capture date and time, and image source;

Optional services include geo-coding the affected book of business, providing the geo-coded information as a custom overlay, custom analysis of vegetation stress due to water levels, and combining data with MS/B Claims Analytics services to examine loss and exposure patterns.

Interested persons can view and test the Hurricane Katrina imagery application at HTTP:// The interface is currently loaded with stock data and images that are meant to give viewers a feel for the usability of the interface. For more information, contact Kost at

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