My extra desk has seen a steady stream of boxes – little and big ones, brown and black ones, even an iPad box (no iPad included). One had old maps crumpled up to protect its contents. Some have been dropped off and others have been part of a suspicious looking package trade at meetings across the state. But they all contain the same thing – an external hard drive, cleared and prepared for all 571 gigabytes of Connecticut’s new aerial imagery. Who do these boxes belong to? It is a wide range – private firms, federal agencies, utility companies, universities and municipalities to name a few. And equally as diverse are the applications. Mapping professionals use the imagery as background in maps and map viewers, to find and map roads, manholes, utility poles and other infrastructure, to find and map natural features like vernal pools, streams, vegetation and trees, and to detect changes on the land by comparing to older imagery.
But the imagery is not just for mapping professionals. On CT ECO (a partnership between UConn CLEAR and CT DEEP), we provide the imagery in a range of ways to meet (almost) any level of technical ability. If you are reading this blog, you can handle it. The simplest way is the map catalog, where you will find two pdfs for each town – one true color and one color infrared. Just slightly more involved are the thematic map viewers where you can add other data layers or compare to older imagery. The sophisticated user can connect to the map services in GIS software or ArcGIS Online. And finally, for those mappers who want the actual data but haven’t brought your hard drive to me for the big copy, you can download the imagery as GeoTIFF tiles, MrSID tiles or town mosaics.
The download option is a first for CT ECO and for Connecticut and we are excited about it. It should make for easy and fast imagery access and will likely slow the drive trafficking in my office (and offices at DESPP, DOT and DEEP too).
Check out the imagery on CT ECO and, as always, let us know what you think. And, by the way, boxes of chocolate, as well as hard drives, are always welcome.