Trends Spring 2016 - Page 13

STREAMLINED SOLUTIONS Unique WROC program offers collaborative, cost-effective approach toward data collection By Jennifer Schmidt L ittle do most people realize, but accurate, comprehensive geospatial data is critical for everything from emergency preparedness to property assessment. The newly collected orthophotography and recently acquired LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology in Polk County, Wisconsin, for example, will soon be used to enhance zoning and floodplain data, update parcel maps, assist with address inventory, and more. The data – so precise and so detailed – is more than Sara McCurdy ever imagined she’d see. But it all became possible through the County’s participation in the Wisconsin Regional Orthophotography Consortium. “Honestly, we thought LiDAR technology was kind of a pipe dream in Polk County just due to the expense,” said McCurdy, Polk County’s land information director. “Jumping into the WROC program really gave us an affordable option to dream big and to go out and get that technology.” The multi-entity Wisconsin Regional Orthophotography Consortium, which Ayres Associates designs and manages, allows Polk County and other agencies involved in the program an efficient and collaborative means of collecting and sharing important imagery, elevation, and mapping data. (Ayres’ teaming partner, Quantum Spatial, completes the aerial imagery and LiDAR flights). Before joining the consortium in 2009, Polk County took on the responsibility of acquiring their own imagery through a standard Request for Proposal process. Now that they’ve joined WROC, though, they can share the cost with other participating entities that can also use the data. Operating in five-year cycles, WROC 2015 is now in its fifth rotation and has increased participation, streamlined its processes, and expanded the amount of digital orthophotography and elevation data gleaned with each passing cycle. Participation has grown from seven entities in 1995 to 78 in 2015 – touching every corner of the state and allowing for an unprecedented amount of available data. The WROC team, along with its members and partners, acquired nearly 45,000 square miles of high-resolution orthoimagery and over 15,000 square miles of LiDAR throughout the state in the 2014-15 flying season. TRENDS │13