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Aerial imagery innovation gives flight to Kansas City startup EyeTerra

EyeTerra founder William Hayes poses in front of a helicopter with the camera rig the company uses to shoot aerial imagery.

Kansas City, Mo.-based EyeTerra is hoping to show the world in a different way with high-definition, low altitude aerial imagery.

Founder William Hayes (above) said the company is like “Google Earth on steroids” and is working with tourism agencies and real estate companies around the world to showcase cities, projects and locations.

“As cool as Google is, everything is a 3D model and it doesn’t give you a true representation of what’s there,” Hayes said.

EyeTerra is able to create a high-definition aerial view of any location, with embeddable video, audio, product placement advertisements and logos.

“It allows you to see a city the way it’s intended and see where things are actually located,” Hayes said.

Earlier this year, EyeTerra was hired by the Ministry of Tourism for The Bahamas to create imagery of Pardise Island that shows prospective vacationers what the island looks like.

Hayes said the company also recently signed a contract with the city of Blue Springs, Mo. to showcase Missouri Innovation Park, a new development outside of Kansas City that will become a technology park.

“We’ll be able to take that land, 3D model it out and show where that land is interactively and what the proposed development is going to look like,” Hayes said. “It’s a new way to think and a new way to promote a region.”

EyeTerra created OverKC.com, a website that allows anyone to virtually explore Kansas City. 

Hayes and his partner Dennis Gray founded EyeTerra four years ago following the development of the technology the company uses to take its aerial imagery.

“Through a lot of trial and error, the new camera was developed – with multiple camera rigs. We can be moving at 30, 40 miles per hour [in a helicopter] and take that imagery,” he said. “The rig spurred the concept of what we could do with it.”

Hayes declined to share what makes the rig unique, stating it’s the company’s “special sauce,” but he said it’s the way the cameras are mounted on the rig that allows the company to take multiple photos at one time, rather than the cameras themselves. 

The company also does its own design, branding and marketing for its clients.

Hayes said EyeTerra recently closed deals with the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association, and hopes to begin hiring in February beyond its two current full-time employees in February.

So far, EyeTerra has been self-funded. However, Hayes said it will also be looking for funding in the coming year.

“It’s something that we are working on but won’t be ready to pull that trigger for another four months,” he said.


Credits: William Hayes photo from twitter.com. OverKC.com screenshot from overkc.com.

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