Chch Tech Company Wins

Christchurch-based location data company Orbica’s innovative solution combining 3D geospatial datasets and artificial intelligence is big news in Germany today.

Orbica beat start-ups from around the world at the Beyond Conventions event in Essen, Germany, where it won the Thyssenkrupp Drone Analytics Challenge and the People’s Choice Award.

The challenge is to develop an automatic progress tracking solution for Thyssenkrupp’s large construction sites using imagery collected from drones on a regular basis. Orbica CEO Kurt Janssen and Orbica Europe director Peter Rose presented at the conference. Janssen said the company’s proposed solution was to turn a traditional, labour-intensive model into an automated process using emerging technology.

“Everyone’s talking about AI these days, but we can really unleash its power by combining it with geospatial processes and 3D visual modelling for smart, autonomous feature recognition and automated reporting.

“Orbica has invested into research and development in this area for several months now and it is incredibly exciting to see it come to life.”

This is how it works: drone-collected images are used to create a complex point cloud model. That is then processed through Orbica’s feature detection algorithm and geographic information systems (GIS) engine. It is then compared to the previous week’s model to determine progress. This automated system would replace physical inspections and manual reports and significantly reduce costs and improve efficiency.

As well as building outlines, Orbica’s AI/GIS solution can accurately identify water bodies and roads, and has numerous applications in New Zealand and abroad. A total of 220 start-ups applied and 43 delivered pitches at Beyond Conventions, which was hosted by Thyssenkrupp with support from corporate participants Innogy, Schacht One, Open Grid Europe and Funke Medien NRW.

Thyssenkrupp is a diversified industrial group with a growing share of capital goods and service businesses and traditional strengths in materials. It employs more than 158,000 employees in 79 countries and generated sales of NZ $69.64 Billion in the 2016/2017 fiscal year.

Europe has the largest share of a global geospatial analytics market that is predicted to value at NZD$100.71 Billion by 2021 according to the Geospatial Analytics Market by Type and Region Global Forecast to 2021 produced by Markets and Markets Research.



Orbica is a Christchurch-based location data specialist company launched by founder Kurt Janssen as a start-up in February 2017. It has since “graduated” from start-up hub Biz Dojo to its own, custom-designed premises in Christchurch’s Innovation Precinct to allow for further growth.

Orbica announced today – 22 February 2017 – the launch of its Europe operation, which has been planned for several months.