Nearmap turned to CloudFactory for help to scale a newly acquired roof geometry business. The CloudFactory team provides near real-time labeling work to support Nearmap’s customer enquiries and build model training datasets.
Nearmap has a vision to transform how their clients work. Using 3D content and a suite of digital tools, the company conducts virtual rooftop inspections, freeing clients to focus on scaling their businesses, rather than scaling buildings to gather data.
Information about a roof’s pitch, dimensions, and material types is harvested and processed by automated software, helping roofing contractors and other professionals streamline their inspection and quoting processes, while planning for equipment and labor needs. All without stepping foot on a job site.
Accurate labeling and modeling sits at the heart of the operation. CloudFactory supports this fast, accurate, and safe new inspection model with highly specialized, real-time annotation of roofs and roof facets for residential or commercial properties.
Nearmap acquired the proprietary roof geometry technology at the heart of this service, which expands upon the company’s existing service offerings. Incorporating an existing technology into your own business involves many unknowns, and difficult decisions must be made at the outset.
One immediate challenge was how to accurately label high volumes of specialized roof facets represented in 3D content, which would allow the service to operate at scale. Speed is essential to deliver the quick turnaround times Nearmap requires to respond to customer enquiries, so reactive labeling services must operate in near real time. The work’s complex nature also demands an intensive training period to prepare data labeling teams to join production work. Compounding the challenge, demand for external construction work peaks during warmer months and declines when colder weather arrives, so Nearmap needed flexible levels of support, with the ability to increase or decrease data labeling hours throughout the year.
For us to continue growing our business, we needed a workforce provider whose team understood the technology, training, and context we needed to provide to data labelers. Through it all, CloudFactory has brought that expertise. They have been a great partner.
Collaborating with a trusted partner proved to be the key for resolving these challenges. CloudFactory had previously helped the artificial intelligence (AI) side of the business grow, so Nearmap decided to extend this successful three-and-a-half-year relationship to provide accurate labeling and modeling for Nearmap’s roof geometry product.
“This was an acquisition and when we brought it on board, one of the key things we needed to do immediately was scale it. Given that we already had a successful partnership with CloudFactory, they were a natural choice for this venture,” explains Mary Cudmore, Senior Director of Global Survey Operations at Nearmap.
CloudFactory has taken on the bulk of the training burden, giving labelers intensive three-to-four-week courses on how to handle complex mapping tasks, leaving Nearmap free to focus on developing software.
“The application that helps build the geometry isn't a fully automated process. CloudFactory’s experience and understanding of our 3D content when building the model is absolutely crucial,” says Cudmore. “Fundamentally, having CloudFactory as our partner on delivering this leading technology innovation has been the key. They contribute to delivering quality content to our clients in near real-time, and that's critical for us.”
Supplying trained teams of data labelers when they are needed gives Nearmap access to the scale they need to grow, while at the same time allowing the business to react to seasonal differences in demand.
Mutual trust and understanding have helped the two companies navigate this learning curve and build a successful model that continues to evolve and thrive.
“CloudFactory has been working with us from the beginning to understand how we build a scalable model, how we become faster and more efficient, and how we get better at increasing the support we give our clients,” says Cudmore.
The building blocks of that success are transparency and effective communication, supported by data-driven metrics and performance monitoring, with free-flowing feedback to constantly make improvements.
“For us to continue growing our business, we needed a workforce provider whose team understood the technology, training, and context we needed to provide to data labelers. Through it all, CloudFactory has brought that expertise. They have been a great partner,” says Cudmore.
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