Skycomp's story began with Project Sky Count, a 1960's program of the Port Authority of NY & NJ that used time-lapse aerial photography (TLAP) to measure traffic flow metrics on urban highway links. In 1970, the program's founder departed to form a company specializing in the TLAP methods. He named it Skycomp, anticipating the benefits of fusing wide area imagery with computerized data-extraction processes. While the name was decades ahead of the technologies, Skycomp thrived by supplying what ground-based sensors could not -- affordable quantification of congestion and photographic documentation of the underlying causes, usually across metro-wide highway networks (e.g. New York, Phoenix, San Jose, Atlanta, Washington D.C.). Many study-specific surveys also used TLAP -- with photo intervals of minutes, hours, days, weeks or months -- to capture imagery & data to inform engineers, build stakeholder consensus, and provide accountability for bottleneck mitigation investments.

In about 2010, new lower-cost technologies became viable for evaluating region-wide bottlenecks, using speed data from vehicle-based "probe" sensors like smart phones. Skycomp responded by producing tools to independently evaluate the accuracy levels of the new sources. This success has led to a recent partnership between Skycomp and probe data vendor INRIX, to provide analysis reports based on 1) just TLAP data; 2) just INRIX data; or 3) both types, where each source's strengths can be synergistically fused.

Today, one of Skycomp's new tools foreshadows the promise of drone surveillance, which will be possible once the regulatory and liability issues have been resolved (drones operating persistently at high altitudes over major cities are not yet permitted). In 2012 Skycomp introduced the use helicopters to hold stationary hover positions about a mile high, while using camera clusters to record all vehicle movements of interest, all at a frame rate of one second. This has enabled measurement of all flow metrics at once, with unparalleled granularity and precision, such that complex micro-simulation models can be built more quickly, properly calibrated, and then credibly defended.

With helicopters holding fixed-position hovers, Skycomp can measure all flow metrics at once, allowing complex micro-simulation models to be built more quickly, properly calibrated, and then credibly defended.

4 Helicopters Madison 584x302


Skycomp can now photograph a study area of up to 12 square miles (or 16 linear miles) at a rate of 1 frame per second. This allows us to extract data for virtually all visible traffic movements.