News Archiv
News Archiv
19.03.2014 15:45 Alter: 3 yrs

CAST Team AHM: Flying over Water

19.03.2014 - Have you ever wondered how we know what we know about the size, dimensions, and conditions of rivers, lakes, channels, or streams? Bavarian-native and co-founder of the Innsbruck-based startup Airborne Hydromapping (AHM), Frank Steinbacher has set out to revolutionise the way such data is collected and analysed – by taking a bird’s eye view. The technology developed as part of a research cooperation between the University of Innsbruck and Riegl LMS allows them to measure and map bodies of shallow water by flying over them.

A myriad of pathways and tunnels weave through the office building located on the technology campus of the University of Innsbruck - almost like a labyrinth. The office of Airborne Hydromapping (AHM) is tucked away behind a huge underground hall that could easily fit a plane. While Frank Steinbacher and his team do own a plane, theirs is based at the local airport just across the street from campus. There are definitely not a lot of startups that can brag about owning a plane, but for Frank Steinbacher, Tecnam P2006T is not some luxury toy or part of a jet-set fantasy – far from that. It’s his source of his income, and that of his team of 12. The plane, which fits four people and cost half a million euros (not to mention current expenses and maintenance), boasts an integrated optical measurement system and other devices that allow the team at AHM use to fly over bodies of shallow water to collect vast amounts of data.

“In Austria, we already conducted measurement flights of Lake Constance, the Inn, the Salzach, as well as branches of the Danube, the Achensee, and the Isar,” says Frank.  The 35-year-old Bavarian, who owns 80% of the company’s shares, founded AHM in November 2010 together with his professor, as an “academic spin-off” of his Ph.D. dissertation. A civil engineering graduate from the University of Technology in Munich, Frank has for a long time been interested in bodies of water.

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