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Aerial Services Inc. 50 Year History

A film camera, 4 employees and a vision.  Aerial Services was no longer a dream but a reality.  On June 5th, 1967 the company was founded by Robert F Walden, Richard Walden, Fred Debe, and J.R. Holmes.  50 years later ASI continues to exceed our customers expectations by using the latest technology and a great team of professionals to deliver on speed, accuracy, and innovation.  Much like the technology ASI uses, the company has evolved over the past 50 years.

Join us as we enjoy reliving a bit of our history over the next many months as we celebrate our 50 years of helping our customers “engage their world in meaningful ways”.

Explore our interactive timeline below.

ASI Founded

June 5, 1967

ASI Founded

Aerial Services Inc. was founded by Robert F Walden, Richard Walden, Fred Debe, and J.R. Holmes.

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First Analog Stereoplotter & Film Camera

June 6, 1967

First Analog Stereoplotter & Film Camera

ASI purchases their first stereoplotter, the Wild B8. Now for the first time paper and mylar maps are made.

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ASI is purchased by Paul G Allee

March 25, 1974

ASI is purchased by Paul G Allee

ASI is purchased by acting General Manager, Paul G. Allee (Today, Mr. Allee’s daughter, Deb, is still working for the company).

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ASI Logo 2.0

March 26, 1974

ASI Logo 2.0

 This logo was introduced in 1974 when Paul Allee purchased the company.  The logo would eventually receive an upgrade to the wing we still use today.

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First Computer Mapping System

August 15, 1984

First Computer Mapping System

In 1984 Aerial Services was one of the first geospatial companies to install and use DEC PDP computer mapping systems alongside traditional analog stereoplotters. The “digital age” at ASI began here.

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1st Analog to Digital Stereoplotter Conversion

March 13, 1985

1st Analog to Digital Stereoplotter Conversion

ASI became a pioneer when they performed one of the first analog to digital stereoplotter conversions using the Wild B8 stereoplotter and the Qasco digital conversion.

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Gary Brown purchases ASI.

September 1, 1988

Gary Brown purchases ASI.

Gary G. Brown, a long-time employee, purchased the company in 1988 and with time became a well known national advocate for Aerial Services. He boldly led the firm into the personal computing age.

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First PC-based Mapping System

July 30, 1990

First PC-based Mapping System

The new revolution of desktop computing makes an impact in mapping operations. Although ASI had been using computer mapping since the PDP days, this was our first use of a PC-based mapping system.

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The First “Digital Analytical” Stereoplotter & Mapping

March 13, 1993

The First “Digital Analytical” Stereoplotter & Mapping

As computing technology evolves, ASI leads the nation and becomes one of the first mapping companies to purchase a digital analytical stereoplotter (Zeiss P3). Maps are now drawn 100% on a computer screen. Things begin to change rapidly now.

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OrthoMAX “Softplotter”

March 29, 1993

OrthoMAX “Softplotter”

Aerial Services is chosen to beta test Autometric’s new OrthoMAX Softcopy stereoplotter. This “computerized stereoplotter” replaced the analog stereoplotters in use for over 50 years. Big, heavy stereoplotter instruments reach the end of their useful life.

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“Digital” Orthophotography

July 1, 1993

“Digital” Orthophotography

This was huge! Now we can make “digital” orthophotos using computers. This is one of the underlying technologies that we take for granted today and makes Google Earth possible.

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“Global” Positioning!

February 1, 1995

“Global” Positioning!

GPS is added to ASI’s sophisticated mapping technologies. We are now able to survey positions on earth from space. We take this for granted today, but should never forget the significance  of this quantum technological leap. It changed many things!

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Growing our Offices

February 20, 1995

Growing our Offices

ASI constructed a modern darkroom facility and increased staffing. New computer equipment, aircraft systems, and mapping instruments helped the company become an important player in the national geospatial profession.

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ASI Adds additional First Order Analytical Stereoplotter

April 28, 1997

ASI Adds additional First Order Analytical Stereoplotter

Intergraph digital analytical stereoplotter pictured.

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WWW!

October 16, 1997

WWW!

On March 1st, 1997 ASI launched our very first website, www.asi-gis.com. We’re on the web. Few people imagined how transformational the web would become to business and families. Google is still years away. Facebook man is still a little boy.

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The “2k” Purchase

January 3, 2000

The “2k” Purchase

What better way to start the new century. Kirk Fisher, Walter Ertz, and Mike Tully purchased the company from Mr. Brown. These three professionals were long-time employees of Aerial Services and begin to shepherd the company into the future.

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ASI Logo 3.0

January 3, 2000

ASI Logo 3.0

For the third time the ASI logo is upgraded to the wing we still use today. People stop laughing at how our old logo showed our planes crashing into the ground!

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ASI Wins Prestigious National Award

September 24, 2006

ASI Wins Prestigious National Award

ASI is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service agency as its small business contractor of the year.  

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ASI Wins MAPPS Award

January 30, 2007

ASI Wins MAPPS Award

ASI wins the Geospatial Excellence Small Project award in 2007  for their work on the E-doc GIS project.

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First Digital Camera

April 30, 2008

First Digital Camera

ASI purchased their first digital camera to collect data. The  90 mega-pixel UltraCam-D large format camera.  Better color. More detail. Greater accuracy. The end of film is now in sight.

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The Flood of 2008

June 15, 2008

The Flood of 2008

In June of 2008 the company’s location in northern Cedar Falls was destroyed by a 500-year flood of the Cedar River.  The flood caused nearly 64 Billion dollars in damage in Iowa alone. The Cedar River invading our building Our conference…

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New ASI Headquarters in Cedar Falls, IA

May 1, 2010

New ASI Headquarters in Cedar Falls, IA

ASI turned the disastrous flood into opportunity. A new office building was built in the Cedar Falls Technology Park to accommodate the growing business.   More Photos of New Office Below Front Entrance Aerial view of our office in Technology Park…

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LiDAR!

January 30, 2012

LiDAR!

ASI adds their first LiDAR high-density corridor sensor to their growing arsenal of mapping technology. These new sensors, coupled with modern computing technology, facilitate accurate mapping of the earth’s surface at aircraft speeds and orders of magnitude faster and more…

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More LiDAR

January 20, 2016

More LiDAR

The utility of LiDAR in remote sensing and mapping continues to grow. ASI brings even better technology to service our clients. With two LiDAR sensors, ASI is capable of taking on any type of project with the highest accuracy possible.

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ASI Wins MAPPS Excellence Award Again

February 9, 2016

ASI Wins MAPPS Excellence Award Again

After weeks of hard work and plenty of caffeine, our creative and motivated professionals create a poster to describe an innovative remote sensing project that ASI worked on with Farm Nutrients. This project won the “Excellence Award” at the MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services…

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ASI Wins MAPPS Award. Threepeat!

January 19, 2017

ASI Wins MAPPS Award. Threepeat!

ASI was awarded the Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Award “Grand Award” for “Project of the Year” and in the GIS/IT category. The Earth On Demand ™ project enables the distribution of geospatial data (raster & vector) in near real-time…

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Celebrating 50 Years!

June 5, 2017

Celebrating 50 Years!

What a journey the past 50 years had been!  Technological changes have been tectonic. This group of professionals are passionate about the work we do for our clients. ASI has been delivering geospatial solutions with speed, accuracy and innovation to…

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