Shockoe Slip firm charts new course through M&A

The WorldView Solutions brand will be dissolved but the company will continue to be based in Shockoe Slip. (Mike Platania)

A local mapping firm is heading in a new direction.

WorldView Solutions, a Shockoe Slip-based firm that provides what founder Jamie Christensen describes as “Google Maps on steroids,” has been acquired by larger peer GeoDecisions of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The deal closed Oct. 26 and terms were not disclosed.

Christensen founded WorldView in 2000 in Chesapeake and moved it to Richmond in 2006. GeoDecisions is a division of engineering firm Gannett Fleming. Both companies offer geospatial data services for clients worldwide.

The acquisition brings everything full circle for Christensen, who got his start in the GIS industry at GeoDecisions in the late 1990s. He and GeoDecisions President Brendan Wesdock have long been friends, and they said the deal began to form about a year ago.

Brendan Wesdock (left) and Jamie Christensen. (Mike Platania)

“We were talking about formalizing a partnership (between GeoDecisions and WorldView Solutions),” said Christensen, who also co-founded Outdoor Access, an outdoor land rental company.

“Over the next year it evolved into, ‘Oh wait a minute, maybe there’s an opportunity to make this even stronger. It was a strategic move. I was not actively seeking to sell the company … but it worked out.”

Wesdock said the acquisition was logical given WorldView’s strong customer base in the Mid-Atlantic, where GeoDecisions wanted to grow. WorldView’s clients include VDOT, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Spotsylvania Utilities Department.

“It’s mapping for enterprise,” Christensen said of his company’s products. “We’re for corporate and government customers who want to own their data and want to do very high-end analytical work with that mapping.”

GeoDecisions has a staff of about 90, which will jump to 140 as WorldView’s staff comes on board.

The WorldView Solutions brand will be dissolved, but all of its workers will stay on and be located at its office at 115 S. 15th St. in Canal Crossing. GeoDecisions has regional offices in Newport News and Virginia Beach, and Gannett Fleming has a small presence in Richmond that will move to the Canal Crossing office as well.

The deal is the latest in a slew of acquisitions of local companies this fall.

This week, PepsiCo bought chia seed startup Health Warrior, and D.C.-based Quinn Evans Architects purchased architecture firm BCWH.

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