An Eden firm that hit the headlines earlier this year after hatching a plan to revolutionise the way burial grounds are documented is going from strength to strength – with the help of its drone technology.
2015 has been a big year for Atlantic Geomatics, based near Penrith, but the firm predicts the best is yet to come as it bids grow its turnover by five in the next five years.
The potential to do so is there – cemeteries and churches pay anywhere between around five hundred to a few thousand pounds to have their archives transformed and mapped out by drones.
With nobody else in the country – and very few internationally – offering this type of service, and a potential market of 15,000 churches, the future looks bright for the innovative Cumbrian firm, founded in 2002.
In-Cumbria’s Tom Little spoke to business manager Ollie Viney about the developments.
Ollie, son of director Tim Viney, joined the business three years ago after returning to Cumbria from Australia to be closer to family and friends.
Ollie explained how the surveying firm’s latest development came to light…
“It kind of happened by chance and there was two events that made it happen. The church in Dalston was doing some development and they needed a survey, so we did the survey and whilst we were there we asked a few questions about the records they keep and things.
“At a similar time my father Tim was trying to find where some relatives were and had difficult time finding where the grave was. That got the ball rolling and the idea snowballed from there.
“It’s been three years in development but in the last six to nine months it became a serious business proposition. We have a really good relationship with the local diocese and the initial focus has been Cumbria and Carlisle.
“To be honest we were a little surprised there was nobody doing it already we’ve trawled through the internet, one cemetery in America and one in Ireland.
“We’ve got a bit of an international business, we have a couple of Polish guys a Spanish guy and we had a Romanian and talking to them there’s nothing in place in those countries as well.
“Our initial focus was to help out a few businesses in Cumbria but the potential is massive and international.
“Some cemeteries just want the map doing and they will do the archiving and digitising themselves. Prices start around £500 and if it’s a huge cemetery it would be a few thousand, as a ball park figure.
“There’s about 15,000 churches we could potentially work with in the UK, the market is there.
“The difficulty we’ve had is just using words to explain to people and tell them what it is we do.
“They will understand a little but now we have examples to show people and the web application we could show how easy it is to do. It’s like if you give your granny your iPad they are scared a little but then you just swipe and they see how easy it is.
“The web application is all done through the cloud it is all stored securely in the cloud. An easy way to reference it is it’s like Google maps but with a lot more specific search criteria.
“What we’re looking at now is a tool for the burial grounds, making it easier to manage them.
“The long term plan is to make the info publicly accessible but we’d need to have enough to make it worthwhile. I’d rather not frustrate people by saying this is the amazing service we’ve got but not be able to help them.
“As a business as a whole it all comes under the same umbrella, whether it’s the burial ground or not. We’ve set a target of growing five times our current turnover within five years.”
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