Hexagon continues its acquisitive ways, adding North West Geomatics Ltd. (aka North West Group) to its quiver of geospatial data providers. North West also created Valtus, a database that enables the integration of content through a hosting service. Valtus appears to be a key component of Hexagon’s strategy to create a fee-based exchange for captured data, whether from land, air or space, where the cost of generating that data is more than covered by buyers, who may be utilities, governments at all levels, environmental groups or commercial enterprises.
CEO Ola Rollén told investors last week that Hexagon’s Smart Content Program will be a content-as-a-service (CaaS) offering in which layers of geospatial data will be built — from images to features to 3D to other types of information to enable decisions. For example, in a given geography, specific demographics that make placing another high-end coffee chain outlet advantageous here and not there. It’s GIS at its core, but with the data needed to make these decisions available in one place, curated by Hexagon.
North West Geomatics also provides aerial mapping and spatial data services and has built up what Hexagon characterizes as “the single largest library of high-resolution imagery and LiDAR data in Canada.” A quick look back at Hexagon’s other acquisitions shows that the company now has data for Canada, large chunks of Europe and, I think, some of Asia. The Smart Content Program should have at least baseline data covering a good chunk of the globe sometime soon. [Does anyone know, are there other global sources of geospatial data like this? It seems unique to me, but I don’t want to overlook other providers. Please let us know in the comments.– Ed.]
North West becomes a fully owned subsidiary of Hexagon as of today. The purchase price was not disclosed, but Hexagon says that North West had revenue of €10 million in 2013.