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NEWS
Woolpert Contracted to Collect High-Resolution Orthoimagery
March 25, 2016

Woolpert, a national architecture, engineering and geospatial (AEG) firm, has been contracted by both Hamilton County and the Jefferson County GIS Consortium Board (JCGISCB) in Tennessee to collect high-resolution, 6-inch orthoimagery of those project areas, totaling almost 1,200 square miles.

The orthoimagery collected by Woolpert will be rectified to lidar (light detection and ranging), which is an optical remote-sensing technique that uses laser light to densely sample the surface of the earth. This process will create the most current and most accurate orthoimagery datasets of those areas.

Woolpert was contracted in 2015-16 to provide lidar data for Upper Cumberland Valley and East Tennessee for the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) 3D Elevation Program (3DEP), an initiative developed in response to the need for high-quality topographic data nationwide.

Woolpert Project Manager Sam Moffat said Hamilton County wanted to integrate the lidar data already being collected by the firm before updating its orthoimagery. Woolpert was able to fly the lidar and orthoimagery collections for the county within weeks of each other.

Moffat said that both Hamilton County and the JCGISCB have robust and experienced geographic information systems (GIS) that go back more than a decade, but added that many things have changed in the geospatial industry since then.

“The latest practice of combining orthoimagery and lidar creates an opportunity to leverage that investment and automatically extract features, including impervious surface mapping for stormwater management systems and asset management for utilities,” Moffat said. “Also, being able to extract basic planimetric features like hydrology, vegetation, roads and sidewalks leads to a more efficient workflow and a cost savings for the customer.”

The JCGISCB is made up of 10 GIS agencies, including the Appalachian Electric Cooperative (AEC). The AEC is a rural electric cooperative providing electric service to portions of Jefferson, Grainger, Hamblen and Sevier counties in East Tennessee.

Charla Hurst, GIS coordinator for the AEC, said the cooperative had not been able to meet its needs using low-resolution photography.

“This highly accurate imagery, combined with the new 3D lidar data, will make our vector line maps come alive with real-world features,” Hurst said. “This will allow us to better see what our members need and to improve communication between our inside and outside personnel.”

Woolpert’s orthoimagery collections for Hamilton County and the JCGISCB are projected to be completed this spring.


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