Aerial photographers will map every foot of North Carolina this winter

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.


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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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24 thoughts on “Aerial photographers will map every foot of North Carolina this winter

  1. jeff turner

    dont violate my airspace,or scare my cows horses or chickens,theres a whole lotta airspace violations of late going unchallenged,i control my airspace with a .308 with a range of a thousand yards up …do not violate my airspace…please

  2. brebro

    I just bet I’m going to get hassled over my marijuana-shaped fern garden in the back yard.

  3. Piffy!


    Brebro, You’ve figured out how to grow pot, outdoors, in the winter?


  4. mr pif

    [b]It’s all about the taxes! Big brothers watching out for you. [/b]

    DebH, Can you elaborate on that for me? I don’t quite follow.

  5. GoodGrief

    I don’t get Jeff Turner. HIS air space? How is it HIS air space? It’s God’s Air Space!! Good one Jeff.
    And Pff, that is EXACTLY what I thought too when I read breBOO’s first post!! Quite amusing.
    Is this in anyway going to be tied in to Google Earth? Will there be a website we can go to to play voyeur? I’m curious what is in my neighbor’s backyard and why they have that really tall fence, and not just to keep me out but to keep ‘something’ in. Very strange indeed.

  6. DebH

    Mr. pif , all the data is put in the computer, so next year when they fly over and take pictures and compare. Any new improvements or new structures will help them to raise your taxes.

  7. Tank

    Its not for our government,silly, They have already sold us out to China.

    Its the Chinese Peoples Army that is having the maps made.

    Stupid Americans.

  8. jeff turner

    actually in this state there are airspace rights,,,if you own property you have the legal right to protect your own airspace..if you own weapons you can feasibly control the airspace above your property,look it up,,,people need to know their rights as citizens,,and as the judge would say,ignorance of the law is no excuse,,,with all due respect chainsaw mcgraw,im the one and only ,truly original jeff turner,,,hey my opinion only backed by precedent

  9. jeff turner

    to low fly, is a privacy violation,,and in my opinion… a waste of tax dollars,,they are privy to world satelite mapping.,,,this is a waste of tax dollars for sure,besides the invasivness

  10. Piffy!

    [b]actually in this state there are airspace rights,,,if you own property you have the legal right to protect your own airspace..if you own weapons you can feasibly control the airspace above your property,look it up,,,people need to know their rights as citizens,,and as the judge would say,ignorance of the law is no excuse,,,with all due respect chainsaw mcgraw,im the one and only ,truly original jeff turner,,,hey my opinion only backed by precedent [/b]

    Mr Jeff Turner, are you really advocating people shoot down aircraft?

    You might want to study the law a bit more before you pull out your RPG.

    [i]In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the sole authority to control all airspace, exclusively determining the rules and requirements for its use. Typically, in the “Uncontrolled” category of airspace, any pilot can fly any aircraft as low as he/she wants, subject to the requirement of maintaining a 500-foot (150 m) distance from people and man-made structures except for purposes of takeoff and landing, and not causing any hazard. Therefore, it appears to trump any individually claimed air rights, near airports especially.

    Specifically, the Federal Aviation Act provides that: “The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.”[2] The act defines navigable airspace as “airspace above the minimum altitudes of flight…including airspace needed to ensure the safety in the takeoff and landing of aircraft.”[3]

    Property owners may waive (or purchasers may be required to waive) any putative notion of “air rights” near an airport, for convenience in future real estate transactions, and to avoid lawsuits from future owners who might attempt to claim distress from overflying aircraft. This is called an avigation easement.[/i]

  11. jeff turner

    of course not…pfff ,never unless under attack by foreign or domestic terrorism from above then yes….what i wanted was what you dug up…a 500 ft clearance so there is a set limit for them of which they violate that frequently the law enforcement types in the name of whatever,with all the problems of late with testosterone pumping flash banging dog shooting on edge officers,i dont nessarily trust them to obey flight rules..aliens come from the sky also,yes id put one down in the frontyard in a heartbeat

  12. For those who have the time or energy, it seems like people could have a bit of fun spoofing the aerial survey by constructing messages, “fake” structures or military encampments that are only visible from the air, in the spirit of Patton’s Dummy Army.

    I have an acre and a half field that is begging for a fake subdivision or tank yard.

  13. GoodGrief

    I think Jeff Turner lost his credibility when he said “aliens come from the sky also”, among other things. See, the Government has these stealth drones and billion dollar planes that you likely won’t even notice the day they do fly over your house, or they will figure out when you’re not home Jeff and fly over your place then, so who knows when they will see the weird junk you’ve got in the backyard. I have already started a mannequin collection in my backyard, so they’ll think I have a huge nudist colony!!

  14. mr piff

    That’s a wonderful suggestion mr pig! Does anyone know the specifics of when they will be doing which areas?

  15. Betty Cloer Wallace

    When exactly did we become complicit in this new norm: allowing (even expecting) our every moment to be recorded and our lives available for the whole world to invade?

    With cameras everywhere, electronic “paper trails” recording every aspect of our lives, online social networking, and even routine law-enforcement roadblocks, we have gradually, like frogs boiled in water, swapped individual freedom for pseudo-security, privacy for public exposure, individuality for commonness, and personal reservation for exhibitionism.

  16. Matt Mercy

    Here’s an idea: I’ll build a huge temporary structure in my yard this winter…like a couple sheets of plywood or aluminum propped up on posts.

    Maybe that’ll throw them off when they try to SWAT-team my property for, well, growing organic vegetables? (see Codex Alimentarius)

  17. jeff turner

    hey chainsaw levity,
    for real your correct ,im already on google earth zoom in to the front porch just enter a road near your house and it zooms in so close its like standing outthere,,,i saw my neighbors vehicle sitting at the atm on charlotte hwy no kidding,i was just reminding them that this is a hunting state and of course nc has folks who see ufo’s all the time

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