Trends Spring 2016 - Page 17

This is just an incredible improvement in the detail you’re able to see and the overall information you’re able to get from looking at the imagery.” – Tyler Grosshuesch, GIS Analyst and Coordinator, Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative binoculars in, not only can you tell what the feature is that you’re looking at, but every detail of it becomes very clear. That’s the difference between 18-inch and 6-inch,” he said. “Maybe there was a building but you couldn’t tell what it was, but with 6-inch you can tell that it’s a manufacturing plant or it’s a church.” Dan Kerntop, GIS analyst with the City of Wausau, believes the difference in detail and accuracy brings a tremendous advantage to the table. “In 2005 and 2010 we had 6-inch photos, and this year we had 3-inch done. That was a great improvement. It was a little more expensive but I think well worth the cost in the sense that it’s a better value for an urbanized or municipal-type area. Once people saw it, it was like ‘Hey, we’ve got to have this.’ “You can really pick things out – there’s so much more detail,” continued Kerntop, who was so impressed with the quality of the data that he helped bring four neighboring communities into the program. “You’re not counting silos and cows. You’re able to look at manholes and sidewalks and see where streets have been patched. You can really get a lot of information out of that detail.” Knowing Ayres will consistently deliver is what keeps Kerntop involved in the WROC program year after year. “It’s just a familiar feeling. I know what I’m going to get,” he said. “I know I’m getting a good product.” TECHNOLOGY KEY WITH WROC I nnovative, high-end technology makes everything involved with the Wisconsin Regional Orthophotography Consortium possible. Acquiring close to 45,000 square miles of highly accurate, primarily 6-inch resolution orthoimagery in one region – in a single, time-sensitive flight season – had never been done. Significant planning went into selecting the exact digital cameras and LiDAR sensors to use. The systems needed to be capable of achieving extremely accurate data, and the cameras needed to produce excellent quality imagery at multiple resolutions. “We used a combination of frame-based and pushbroom aerial cameras that allowed us to apply the right technology to the right job,” explained Zach Nienow, a WROC project manager at Ayres Associates. “These sensors allowed us to collect a lot of imagery in a short amount of time – so fewer flight lines, higher-resolution imagery.” Providing 15,000 square miles of LiDAR data across the state provides its own challenges. A project of this importance requires excellent sensors and the best chance of a successful flight. The quantity of the data is mind-bending; conservatively over 150,000,000,000 individual vertical data points were gathered in Wisconsin. That’s 150 billion. “We basically used the newest LiDAR sensor technology on the program, which allowed us to collect highly dense point clouds very efficiently,” Nienow said, adding that server, workstation, and software updates were required to store and process this mass quantity of data. “We had a 100-terabyte server dedicated to WROC to handle all the data and 15 high-end ortho and LiDAR workstations used to process the data.” Other key technical successes included coordination of multiple planes and flight crews to capture data specifically when conditions were met. Mobilization of trained surveyors across the state provided the control needed for the required vertical and horizontal accuracies. Major software investments were made to increase quality and efficiency while driving down the cost of the data. “We made significant investments in ortho processing software leading up to WROC,” Nienow said. “That really allowed us to enhance our processing capabilities and get the finished data to the clients faster so they could incorporate it in their business activities.” – Jennifer Schmidt TRENDS │17