In the NewsPress


The Buzzy Protest Art That No One Can See

To get good photo of Black Lives Matter mural in Washington, D.C., bring your satellite
“On June 5, at 3:30 in the morning, eight artists gathered on 16th Street in Washington, D.C.,
with 60 gallons of yellow paint to spell out “Black Lives Matter” on the asphalt. The letters are…”

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Photo Caption: Optically, this yellow and black sign painted on 16th Street could be read from passenger jets flying over the city at 20,000ft.
The Black Lives Matter’s 16 bold letters along the newly named BLM Plaza is slightly longer than the Washington Monument is high (575ft vs. 555ft).
This composite image was captured from a tethered surveillance aerostat balloon at 700ft AGL above Washington, DC on June 08th, 2020 at 11:50AM.

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Local visualization firm helps simulate proposed  wind  farm

A Canadian renewable power company has engaged Falls Church VA firm, Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc. to conduct visual impact simulations for a major wind generation facility in the Appalachian mountains. The 26 proposed 656 ft tall wind turbines will be one of the tallest and most efficient in the country. DDIS was tasked to fly 4 of their specialized aerostat balloons atop a 1700ft tall forested mountain top to 656′ feet. The balloons helped the engineers and the nearby communities understand the general height and width of the proposed 26 turbines. “Besides the balloon tests for Manhattan’s One World Trade Center, this is the most challenging tethered aerostat project my firm has ever done”  said DDIS president/landscape architect Curt Westergard. It was difficult to safely reach the top of the steep mountain with 15 large tanks of helium, 4 winch carts, balloons, rigging, and our 9-Eye camera payload.

To symbolize the tips of the  proposed wind turbines blades, the DDIS team used four 12.5ft-diameter, tethered balloons. Markers on the aerostat’s tether were placed to symbolize the turbine’s hub.  Project manager and lead image analyst, Ryan Shuler, built and composited 3D computer models of the wind turbines with photogrammetric data and photos of the balloons from surrounding communities.

News 13

DDIS was commissioned to document and estimate the crowd size of the “March for Our Lives” Rally in Washington, DC. Check out the CBS new article below.

How many people attended March for Our Lives? Crowd in D.C. estimated at 200,000

More than 200,000 people attended the March for Our Lives demonstration in Washington D.C. on Saturday, according to Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc (DDIS). The Virginia-based firm uses a proprietary method for calculating crowd size using aerial photos. The peak crowd size was 202,796 people, with a margin of error of 15 percent, the firm said. The crowd reached its largest size at 1 p.m., according to the company’s estimates. The organizers put the total number of attendees at closer to 800,000. The largest single-day demonstration in U.S. history was the 2017 Women’s March, with a crowd size of 440,000 people, according to DDIS’ estimates. In addition to the massive march in Washington, an estimated 800 other marches were held across the country, including one in Parkland, Florida, where the movement was born following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

An aerial view of marchers on Capitol Hill.

The march was organized by survivors of the Parkland shooting. Emma González, one of the leading voices of the movement since the Parkland massacre, held a moment of silence at the podium Saturday. “Since the time that I came out here, it has been 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle and blend in with the students so he can walk free for an hour before arrest,” González said. “Fight for your lives before it is someone else’s job.” Other student speakers from Parkland included David Hogg, Delaney Turr, Alex Wind and Cameron Kasky. Martin Luther King’s 9-year-old granddaughter Yolanda Renee King also spoke. “My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” she said, referencing her grandfather’s famous speech. “I have a dream that enough is enough. That this should be a gun-free world. Period.”


National Capital Planning Commission: Height Master Plan for Washington, DC

What are those balloons in the sky? 


Published: May 6, 2013
There have been some recent news stories and blog posts noting the sighting of tethered balloons over Arlington National Cemetery and the National Arboretum in the last couple of weeks.
People have wondered what they were for, who is doing this, and whether federal security permissions were obtained, given the strict restrictions over Washington, DC’s airspace.
The answer is that the balloons were launched by Digital Design and Imaging Service Inc. (DDIS) to take aerial photos of the District’s skyline as part of the joint Height Master Plan the DC Office of Planning (DCOP) and the federal National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) are currently conducting. House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked the District of Columbia and NCPC to create a joint Height Master Plan that will explore the impact of strategic changes to the federal Height of Buildings Act of 1910 and determine the extent to which the Height Act continues to serve both the federal and District government interests.People have wondered what they were for, who is doing this, and whether federal security permissions were obtained, given the strict restrictions over Washington, DC’s airspace.
DDIS is part of the consultant team, led by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, working with DCOP on a Height Master Plan Modeling Analysis. DDIS specializes in aerial viewshed photography and uses tethered aerostat balloons, the only FAA-authorized aerial platform currently allowed in highly restricted flight zones in the United States. For more details on the consultant teams working on the Height Master Plan, please see this April 30, 2013 press release from Mayor Vincent C. Gray of the District of Columbia.

Sizing Up a Crowd by Michael Gaynor
Published: May 2012

“Crowd estimates in DC can be less than scientific. Case in point: Michele Bachmann’s count of 1.6 million people at Glenn Beck’s 2010 rally on the Mall. The real figure was closer to 87,000, says Curt Westergard of Digital Design & Imaging Service in Falls Church. His company estimates crowd sizes for CBS News by flying a camera-rigged balloon above the Mall.” – Gaynor
Specializing in aerial photography, viewshed analysis, visual impact surveys, and balloon tests and drone tests for marketing, zoning, site planning, and architectural design.

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