Trends Spring 2016 - Page 15

“ The true value of any program can be found by analyzing how many entities continue to participate year after year ,” Contrucci said , noting how some participants have been on board for five cycles – or 20 years . “ People are realizing value , and they ’ re realizing substantial benefits from participating .”
Since 2013 , Ayres Associates project managers Adam Derringer and Zach Nienow have conducted more than 100 face-toface visits with county officials from across the state , planning projects , answering questions , and educating them on how to use their data . Derringer met with some counties up to seven times – often through multiple administrations , election cycles , and land information council or county board memberships .
Derringer said he views regular client contact as a critical component to the program ’ s success , “ especially in cases where clients have the more cutting-edge technologies and LiDAR .”
“ We make a point of training the clients on how to use their complex LiDAR to get more benefit from it ,” he said . “ How can they look at it ? How can they analyze it ? How can they share it ?”
Among other benefits of the WROC program are cost savings . Greater participation means more entities to divide costs with , reducing everyone ’ s individual project costs .
But that ’ s not to say that the data comes in a one-size-fits-all , take-it-or-leave-it package . Although Ayres Associates manages literally hundreds of contracts through WROC , each data set is individualized and customized – knowing that , even within a county , multiple departments might want to use that same data in different ways . Likewise , municipalities or a state or federal organization might also want access to the same data but for other reasons .
“ The versatility of the data is incredible , which fosters cooperation across different departments and organizations ,” said Andy Faust , senior GIS analyst with the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission .

FUNDING PARTNERS UNITE

Over the years , public and private partners have contributed significant funds toward imagery and LiDAR projects in exchange for access to the high-quality spatial datasets available through the Wisconsin Regional Orthophotography Consortium . Partners include utilities , electric cooperatives , tribes , municipalities , private industry , and state and federal agencies .

More than 100 organizations benefitted from new orthoimagery and LiDAR data thanks to the members and partners that worked together through the 2015 WROC program . Ayres Associates ’ Kirk Contrucci , vice president of geospatial services , said WROC ’ s primary funding mechanism consists of its members , or clients completing customized projects through the program and paying for them to be completed – for example , a county paying for county-wide 6-inch imagery . A secondary source of funding is from funding partners such as electric co-ops , power companies , utilities , state , and federal organizations .
“ We ’ ve developed a network of funding partners around the state that has now become a reliable , repetitive funding source for the WROC program ,” Contrucci said . “ In 2010 the consortium partnership dollars primarily came from a large federal grant and some other money , whereas in 2015 it came from a number of different partners , so the number of funding partners is vastly higher . Together these partners brought $ 711,000 to the 2015 program , which resulted in cost shares to participating counties that averaged out to 13 % of their total fees . That ’ s significant not only for the monetary assistance it provides , but it also demonstrates to decision-makers at the local level how widely accepted the program is around the state .”
The partnership concept of the WROC program provides refunds to participating counties . Vilas County , for example , had six partners and saw a cost share reimbursement of nearly $ 17,000 .
“ Partnership funding is an important aspect of participating in the WROC program . Not only does the program reduce the cost of the products and services through economies of scale , but it also provides partnership funding which has been negotiated on the County ’ s behalf by Ayres Associates and North Central Regional Planning Commission ,” said Barb Gibson , GIS administrator and land information officer for the Vilas County Land Information / Mapping Department . “ I appreciate their efforts to use their contacts and skills to bring partnership funding back to the program participants .”
– Jennifer Schmidt
TRENDS│15
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