What we do for emergencies! This winter, planes will crisscross the entire state of North Carolina, photographing virtually every half-foot of the land and its features. The goal: Produce photo-maps of unmatched detail, as part of the state’s 911 emergency-readiness program.
“You will be able to make out individual branches on the trees,” said N.C. forester Andrew D. Bailey.
The project, Bailey noted, will allow 911 offices to map buildings and structures that cannot be seen in older coarse-resolution, or “leaf-on,” photography. The last statewide “leaf-off” aerial photography was much coarser (2-meter) resolution, conducted in 1998, and funded by a federal program that has since been discontinued.
But more than just 911 officials are excited about the project, Bailey points out. “While emergency response is the primary funding driver here, this imagery will be used by lots of state and local agencies, including conservation agencies such as the state Forest Service and [local divisions] of parks and recreation.”
All the flying and photographing will happen this winter, when trees have dropped their leaves. “Foresters, believe it or not,” Bailey says, “prefer leaf-off to leaf-on photography since it shows more detail regarding forest structure, understory vegetation, etc.”
The state Center for Geographic Information and Analysis is leading a project team on behalf of the City of Durham, Department of Emergency Communications, to accomplish this important project, explained Diana Hales, who works with the Center. The project is funded through a grant award by the N.C. 911 Board.
Each North Carolina county will receive, at no charge, a copy of the orthophotography data for use in any capacity it deems appropriate. The data will also be available for distribution as part of the NC OneMap statewide data resource.
A website is being established that will include news about the project and an FAQ section.