Anticipating 2010 Iowa Statewide Aerial Orthoimagery Project

Despite the frozen tundra that is currently the State of Iowa, Aerial Services, Inc., the State’s only native aerial orthoimagery and geospatial company, is eagerly anticipating finishing Iowa Statewide Aerial Orthoimagery Project acquisition in the Spring of 2010. In addition to the completion of quality 4-band (Color & Infrared) 2′ ground sampling distance (GSD) resolution orthoimagery coverage for the State, various Counties are also "buying-up" to capitalize on the State’s contract.
"After a successful 2009 portion of the project, Aerial Services is excited to complete the State’s goal of a Statewide imagery dataset beyond anything Iowa has had access to before," stated Walter Ertz, Aerial Services’ Vice President & COO. "Plus, with the option for other entities, such as individual Counties or Cities, to leverage the Statewide project’s pre-negotiated buy-up pricing, this is an exciting time for the Iowa geospatial community."

In 2009, the initial phase of the project included acquisition and orthophoto production of 41 southwest Iowa counties. This area was acquired within approximately 30 days. Post-production proceeded during the late Spring and Summer months. By the end of August, the State had TIFF tiles in hand ahead of schedule. During the same period, buy-up projects such as Polk County (0.4′ GSD) and Calhoun County (1′ GSD) were also acquired, processed, and delivered.

Currently, the State is beginning to make the 2′ imagery available to the public for use in their geospatial applications along with a number of applicable governmental purposes. Much of the 2009 areas are already on the Iowa DNR GIS Library in RGB & IR MrSid/ZIP file formats and a RGB WMS will be posted at Iowa State Ortho Server in the future.

"Now that the general public is getting to review the imagery themselves, they are going to see orthoimages being provided from this project are of excellent spatial accuracy and tonal color quality. This was achieved by being acquired with the industry leading Leica ADS80-82 sensor and utilizing the experienced staff at Aerial Services. The State has been pleased with the imagery so far, and our buy-up clients have seen the same results at higher resolutions. The detail is outstanding for any number of GIS applications," noted Walter. "The great news is the Eastern part of the state will receive the same treatment in 2010 and there is also acquisition capacity available to get in on the buy-up opportunities if action is taken soon."

Already, a variety of Iowa Counties’ have signed contracts to acquire higher resolution orthophotos as part of the State’s Buy-up program. For example, Polk (0.4′ GSD countywide), Des Moines (6" GSD countywide, 3" GSD in Burlington & West Burlington), Wapello (6" GSD countywide), and Lee (6" GSD countywide) chose to refresh their imagery and take advantage of the pre-negotiated rates the State arranged. While the State is not directly subsidizing buy-ups, this program allowed them to save time, effort, and costs due to the scale of the Iowa Orthoimagery Project and Aerial Services already flying photography for the State. Plus, government entities can forgo the RFP process since the State has already negotiated favorable pricing for areas as part of their contract.

Buy-up services are provided as separate of the Statewide project, but are related contracts. They can take place in any part of the State in either year of the Statewide contract (2009-2010). Since sufficient capacity for additional projects remains, entities in any part of the State still have time to buy-up for Spring 2010. Flight acquisition will begin in or around March 2010, so interested parties should contact Aerial Services’ now to secure pricing and make contract arrangements.

"The current Iowa Orthoimagery Project will serve Iowa for years to come and become a bedrock dataset for geospatial reference for decades," observed Walter. "Aerial Services is proud we have been able to serve our home State in 2009 and look forward to completing the Eastern 41 Counties in 2010. It will be a busy Spring, but an exciting Fall as the final datasets are delivered for all of Iowa to access."