The saga of 12 boys and their soccer coach who spent more than two weeks trapped in a cave in northern Thailand reached a positive conclusion Tuesday when rescuers retrieved the last of the group from their subterranean confines.

In the Denver area, the staff of Intermap Technologies was paying close attention to the rescue efforts, in part because they directly assisted them.

The Arapahoe County-based geo-tech firm, which has been in the business of 3D mapping the Earth for three decades, was contacted by rescuers on June 27, three days after the boys and their coach went missing following soccer practice in Thailand’s Chiang Rai province, according to an Intermap news release. The company, which has clients all over the world including in Thailand, agreed to help free of charge.

The search team’s request: Give us as much elevation, hydrology and other data on the search area as possible. Within three hours, Intermap worked up a data set that mapped the area’s elevation to within a meter’s accuracy. When it blended its material with data from a local university, the Thai government, multi-sensor satellites and other sources, Intermap was able to produce an interactive, 3D model that included the layout of the cave network where the boys were trapped.

“Our superhero power is our data sets see things that your eyes can’t,” Intermap chairman and CEO Patrick Blott said Monday night as rescue efforts were ongoing. “They didn’t have data to understand the terrain and they knew we did. That’s why they called us.”

Courtesy Intermap

This image is a 3D rendering of Intermap’s NextMap One product over the search area. Low elevations are blue, higher elevations are shown as orange. The entrance to the cave at the upper right and runs under the closest ridge.

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