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The Lead’Air MIDAS 360-degree 3D aerial camera system is back! MIDAS DUO, MIDAS TRIO 3D Camera Systems

March 16, 2023

20 years after the first MIDAS system was introduced, Lead’Air Inc. (Kissimmee, Florida, USA) has presented the new 2023 MIDAS 3D aerial camera systems at the Geoweek trade show in Denver (USA).


In 2002, the MIDAS oblique camera system was the first commercial multicamera oblique system to reach the market for the purpose of creating 3D city models. For the last two decades the Midas has been instrumental to the development of 3D mapping, considering that more than 125 Midas systems have been sold worldwide.


The full-length original version of this document with images and media is available at the following link:

New MIDAS project

Lead’air mission has always been to sell state-of-the-art 3D aerial cameras at an affordable price; Therefore, we have entirely redesigned the MIDAS to meet the demand for high-quality and high-accuracy 3D aerial cameras for smaller aerial operators and mapping companies who cannot afford investing one million dollars or more in their aerial survey equipment. At the time this is written, Lead’Air offers six Midas systems (described further) with two to seven ILLUNIS EMC-103 megapixels cameras. Starting at prices as low as $145,000, the new MIDAS systems have all been fully tested and have successfully generated beautiful and accurate 3D city maps on the Skyline Photomesh software. A 3D sample of SKYLINE processing with the MidasTRIO (three cameras only) is visible at this link:

Breaking news: ESRI ArcGIS Reality

ESRI has just announced at the Geoweek conference that the new Midas camera systems can be mapped in 3D on the all new ESRI ArcGIS Reality. A sample of ESRI processing with the MidasDUO (two cameras only) is visible at this link:

New Illunis cameras

Taking advantage of the high-resolution global-shutter CMOS cameras newly introduced by ILLUNIS (Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA), our team has designed a series of Midas 3D oblique aerial cameras systems suitable for commercial and military aerial imaging customers. The Illunis compact medium format cameras EMC-103 with 103 megapixels are used by world leaders in aerial photography, geospatial intelligence, and foreign and domestic defense agencies. Remarkably, Illunis cameras only cost a small fraction of the prices of competing medium format aerial cameras often used in our profession. By introducing Illunis cameras in all its products, Lead’Air is confident that the new generation of MIDAS systems will open the profitable 3D aerial mapping market to many smaller operators and companies who were left out of this business because of the extreme high price of the current 3D aerial cameras.

New MIDAS product line

Combining the power of Illunis cameras to the absolute superiority of Skyline Photomesh software has allowed Lead’Air to create a series of 3D oblique camera systems with prices ranging from only $145,000 to $295,000. This press release focuses on the advanced large format MidasCITYSCAPE with seven Illunis 103 megapixels cameras totaling 721 megapixels. The turnkey MidasCITYSCAPE is being introduced on the market at a price of $295,000. When a smaller coverage is satisfactory or if the cost of the MidasCITYSCAPE is an issue, the new MIDAS is also available in smaller versions with 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 cameras. As of today, all the new Lead’Air MIDAS systems with the Illunis 103 megapixels cameras are available for order with a delivery time of 12 to 16 weeks. All Lead’Air systems are also available to our existing clients for short term rental agreements and long-term lease agreements. More information about the new Midas systems is available on our web site and on the full-length version of this documents available on our web site:

New MidasCITYSCAPE geometry:

The new MIDAS features a unique oblique geometry concept: Contrary to the previous MIDAS systems, our engineers have improved upon the traditional five cameras configuration based on four oblique cameras pointing in four opposite cardinal directions: forward, backward, right, and left with a vertical camera pointing straight down. The new MIDAS system can be best described as a 3D mapping cone. In the case of the MidasCITYSCAPE the cameras generate a continuous 360-degree oblique coverage which extends at least up to 50 degrees. The camera cone therefore looks uninterruptedly in all directions around the airplane, not just to four unconnected directions like most 3D systems today. The advantage of the MidasCITYSCAPE is that its cameras capture a true continuous strip of images comparable to what a super large format camera with a single wide-angle lens would generate. The MidasCITYSCAPE is suitable for any project sizes and is the most efficient Midas system ever.  MidasCITYSCAPE system is perfectly configured for 3D products with a footprint field of view of 100 degrees by 100 degrees, with uninterrupted coverage and optimal perspectives. Additionally, the MidasCITYSCAPE still has a standard vertical nadir frame for those who think that this is an essential requirement. Thanks to its compact footprint the MidasCITYSCAPE reduces the number of unnecessary photos captured. This means no time is wasted taking pictures around the periphery of the surveying area and less space and memory are used, resulting in a quicker processing time. 

A quote from Mr. Eatay Ben Shechter, Vice President Imaging Solutions and Services SKYLINE SOFTWARE SYSTEMS, Inc. “The new MidasCITYSCAPE design is an all-inclusive data collection method optimized for achieving a complete 3D perspective, as opposed to the ordinary system designed for collecting one nadir and four individual oblique perspectives. This enables the capture of all possible perspectives from nadir to +50 degrees in all directions (a complete 3D cone), instead of only 5 disparate views in nadir and 4 cardinal directions. The Lead’Air MidasCITYSCAPE system is the next logical step in the evolution of 3D mapping cameras, and differentiates between standard oblique image capture, and a true 3D data collection.”

Please note that the new MIDAS systems do not scan, do not move, do not swing; they simply have a fixed oblique position and a fixed geometry.

Flight altitude

All the new Midas and therefore the MidasCITYSCAPE are medium altitude high resolution (5 cm – 2 inches or smaller) aerial camera systems which are flown at or below 2,000 feet.

Concerning this relatively low altitude for a mapping system, here is what Mr. Matt Murphy, Managing Director of Geosense Ltd (South Africa) says: <One obstacle always with city acquisitions is air traffic control and often the zones in which ATC becomes less of a headache is either under 2,000 feet or above 10,000 feet. So, the new Midas already tick that box. An above 10,000 feet @ 5cm (or sub 5cm) sensor would also be very attractive>.

For information, Lead’Air is also actively working on such a 3D system, an above 10,000 feet @ 5cm (or sub 5cm).

About illunis LLC  

Committed to being the world’s leading supplier of digital imaging solutions for high performance imaging markets, illunis LLC solves its customers’ needs by focusing on developing, manufacturing, and marketing leading edge CMOS digital cameras for Industrial, Scientific, Military, and Aerial applications. illunis LLC strategy is to identify and market imaging solutions that provide value to OEM partners.  

About Skyline

Skyline Software Systems’ PhotomeshTM Proprietary Aerial Triangulation module has been developed as a robust and extremely scalable Photogrammetric Engine capable of processing the hundreds of thousands of images which are generated by the MidasDUO camera system in a parallel computing environment. It achieves optimal performance and scale by utilizing potentially hundreds of computers synchronously and creating spectacular high resolution/high accuracy 3D Textured Mesh Models and additional derived products, such as True-Ortho, Colorized Point Cloud, DSM, DTM, and more.

About Lead’Air

The Florida based Lead’Air Inc. is a small company thatemploys 35 people specializing in software, mechanical and electronic engineering. Opened in 1995, Lead’Air has always been at the forefront of aerial survey technology, FMS (flight management systems), vertical medium format mapping cameras, 3D oblique camera systems (MIDAS), emergency response camera systems (NOAA), etc.

Lead’Air is looking for partners.

The development and marketing of the new Midas line of products is a considerable effort which absorbs most of our resources. Hence Lead’Air is actively looking for business partners and investors interested to join forces with our company to help support and promote our worldwide initiatives and products. Please contact JP Barriere –

About the classic five cameras MIDAS (MidasCardinal):

In the case your company already owns the “classic” five cardinal cameras Midas, you have some options:

  1. You can trade in your old MidasCardinal and upgrade to one of the new Midas and therefore take advantage of an interesting price.
  2. In the case you have a working workflow which you do not want to change yet, you can also temporarily overhaul and upgrade your old MidasCardinal to the new Illunis cameras CNV-103 with 103 megapixels, new software, and electronics. Once overhauled, your new “old system” can be re-converted later to a true new Midas 2023 system with improved geometry.
  3. In case you still prefer the classic five cameras geometry of the old MIDAS we can of course build you a 5 cameras MidasCardinal on order, using the new Illunis EMC-103 camera. The price of the new MidasCardinal is $235,000.

About the other Midas systems:

The largest 3D Midas system is the seven cameras MidasCITYSCAPE which is presented in this press release. Several additional systems based on the MidasCITYSCAPE and using a smaller number of cameras have also been developed. Regardless of their number of cameras, these smaller Midas systems generate exactly the same high quality, high accuracy 3D data as the MidasCITYSCAPE. In fact, most of the 3D cities samples we are displaying online were flown with either 2 or 3 camera systems. The difference between these systems is their relative productivity and efficiency which obviously is directly proportional to the number of cameras used. So why make smaller Midas systems? Simply to offer a range of prices suitable for all users, from basic level to top level.

At the time this is written, Lead’Air offers six Midas systems based on the ILLUNIS CMV-103:

  • MidasDUO with two cameras (2 x 103 = 206 megapixels) ………………….       $145,000
  • MidasTRIO with three cameras (3 x 103 = 309 megapixels) ……………….       $175,000
  • MidasCUATRO with four cameras (4 x 103 = 412 megapixels) ……………      Ask
  • MidasPENTA with five cameras (5 x 103 = 515 megapixels) …………………     Ask
  • MidasSIXPACK with six cameras (6 x 103 = 618 megapixels) ………………..    Ask
  • MidasCITYSCAPE with seven cameras (7 x 103 = 721 megapixels) ………   $295,000

The new Midas system has been designed so that the users can easily convert one configuration to another. It is therefore possible to start with two cameras systems, then keep adding cameras to build larger systems and eventually achieving the MidasCITYSCAPE configuration. All the required conversion parts and components kits are available from Lead’Air.

As of today, all the new Lead’Air MIDAS systems with the Illunis 103 megapixels cameras are available for order with a delivery time of 12 to 16 weeks. All these systems are also available to our existing clients for short term rental agreements and long-term lease agreements.

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