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Release No: 063-97
February 11, 1997


Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology Paul Kaminski today signed an agreement with Environmental Research Institute of Michigan (ERIM), Ann Arbor, Mich., and Intermap Technologies Inc., Englewood, Colo., that gives Intermap exclusive use of a government radar system. In return, Intermap provides DoD with preferred availability and rates, and pay royalties to DoD. The agreement allows Intermap to commercialize an important military radar technology (interferometric synthetic aperture radar), while maintaining the Department of Defenses low-cost access to the systems capability to produce accurate, detailed maps and digital terrain elevation models.

The radar system, the Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar - Elevation (IFSARE), was developed by ERIM under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project. DoD no longer wished to bear the cost of operating, maintaining and upgrading the system to an operational configuration but wished to retain the right to use the system as needed to produce military maps. Under the agreement, Intermap takes over maintenance and operating costs, and will attempt to sell commercial mapping services. Intermaps royalty payments based on those sales allow DARPA to recoup its cost of funding the research and development of the IFSARE advanced capability.

In signing the agreement, Kaminski noted, The IFSARE provides a unique military capability, but no single organization could justify the maintenance costs of full-time ownership of the system. Todays agreement allows DoD to have needed access to the capability, without having to bear those costs. And, as Intermap commercializes this important technology, they will maintain and improve it for our future use as well as for their commercial customers.

The IFSARE program began in 1992, when DARPA, in partnership with the Army Topographic Engineering Center, determined that there was a need for an airborne, all-weather, day/night, radar- based mapping capability. IFSARE can image large geographic areas with a high degree of terrain height accuracy, an ability that is necessary for the military to produce accurate maps and terrain surveys for military operations. The maps can be produced in either photographic or digital format.

Since 1992, the IFSARE has been used in Bosnia for terrain and elevation analysis, and by the Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Imagery and Mapping Agency), the U.S. Geological Survey, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other government organizations.

ERIM is a non-profit organization with expertise in advanced radar technologies. ERIM and Intermap have a partnership where ERIM develops new radar technologies and Intermap operates the IFSARE system and develops commercial applications.

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