Skip to main content

RIT American Video Institute records

 Collection — Box-Folder: 52
Identifier: RITArc-0495

Scope and Contents

The American Video Institute records contain news clippings from various newspapers (such as the Democrat & Chronicle and the Rochester Times Union), flyers to attend lectures on the videodiscs, and promotional brochures. One of the brochures is dedicated to the Landisc project. The other brochure promotes the American Video Institute itself.


  • Creation: 1984 - 1988


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

The American Video Institute (AVI) of the Rochester Institute of Technology was founded around 1983 by director John Ciampa, also a renowned professor. It served as RIT’s electronic publishing and communications research division. AVI was located in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences, which was part of the College of Graphic Arts & Photography. AVI studied and produced interactive videodiscs, optical discs, and other electronically published programs. The goal of AVI as stated in the promotional brochure was “to design systems that can improve the quality of living for people of all walks of life.” One of their most notable achievements is the production of the Landisc, an optical laser videodisc that was able to store a massive inventory of real estate images. One was made for the City of Rochester. The laser disc was able to accommodate 54,000 separate video images on each side, so Rochester’s 70,000 real estate parcels fit on it comfortably.

John Ciampa, professor at RIT from 1983-2000later invented and founded Pictometry and ALTA.

John A. Ciampa

John A. Ciampa is an award-winning playwright, poet, and screenwriter. He is also a lawyer, full-time professor, inventor, and the CEO of the aerial imaging companies Pictometry and Altametry. He received his education at Boston University, the University of Michigan, and Cornell. Today, he has more than 65 years of experience in an impressive range of fields.

John is the founder and original patent holder of Pictometry, Landisc, and Electronic Property Info Corp. As founder of the American Video Institute, he has worked at Columbia University, MIT, and NYU, where he pioneered the integration of media and computer technology from the very beginning. As the holder of seminal patents in computing, imaging, and geographic information, Ciampa continues to break new ground with ALTA — an autonomous, lighter than air platform that floats unobtrusively and transmits the highest resolution, oblique, georeferenced imagery and air quality information to the internet with no carbon footprint at the lowest cost. Back Cover Of The Blink of An I

Founder/CEO, Altametry, Coral Gables, Florida — 2011 - Present Invented the process; hired the development team; supervised development; raised capital; formed partnerships. Founder/CEO, Pictometry International Corp. — 1995 - 1999 Invented the process of capture and georeferencing of oblique aerial imagery; hired initial team, some of whom still work with the company; founded the original Pictometry Inc; oversaw the acquisition by Pictometry International; remains a shareholder. Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology — 1983 - 2000 Director of the American Video Institute funded by Apple and DEC. This group pioneered the use of still and moving images in computer applications in geographic systems.



1 Folder(s) (These records are located within a folder in a document box.)




The records pertain to the American Video Institute (AVI) at the Rochester Institute of Technology. AVI was located in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences. These records include clippings, flyers, and brochures.


Records are arranged by date and content.

Physical Location

C.S. South, Shelf 788, Box 52A

Existence and Location of Copies

These materials were digitized on 12.3.2020

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Allison Thompson in January 2014.


RIT American Video Institute records
RIT Archives
Allison Thompson
16 January 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA