Southern Mapping Company (SMC) and Opten Solutions of Russia have signed a memorandum of understanding to further advance cross-border know-how and scope of work to expand on the offering to clients on all continents.

Opten supplies tailored integrated engineering solutions using state-of-the-art airborne lidar survey technology for distributed infrastructure objects and land mapping. Solutions are based on highly accurate topographical and asset data. Opten ranks among the world leaders in this sector having surveyed more than 100,000km of corridors, including 60,000km of power lines for major utilities on four continents. Services range from online conductor temperature and current monitoring to vegetation growth monitoring and control including danger vegetation analysis.

Opten chief executive Konstantin Mekhanoshin says: “We have been doing surveys in many parts of the world from our home base in Moscow and opportunities in Africa came knocking on our door. Many of the terrains that need surveying require different sets of inputs and skills and we needed a partner familiar with business conditions in Africa that we may be able to apply in our traditional markets. Our research pointed into the direction of Southern Mapping Company.”

Says Peter Moir, chief executive for SMC: “During the last two years we have placed many parts of Africa on the map using our lidar and hyperspectral technologies. This extends from urban development to mining, agriculture and surveys for electrical infrastructure. With South Africa having become a strong contender for its products and services on world markets we have also become part of this process. The combination of aerial lidar and hyperspectral technologies to produce highly accurate data will find application in many sectors around the world, as we have proved in our traditional African markets. The partnership with Opten will also be of benefit to our own customers as they will bring their global experience to local soil.”

Moir says that the combined experience of nearly 30 years since the two companies have been formed will lead to new insights – from increasing productivity in mining to environmental disaster control. “Our customers want to know what is globally available in terms of people talent and state-of-the-art technologies and our association with Opten will add that value.”