New Digital Imaging Systems for Small and Mid-Sized Metropolitan Areas

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission (MVPC) of Massachusetts, composed of 15 small communities ranging in population from 4,000 to 70,000 persons, is the first regional entity in the country to acquire a patented new aerial imaging data system and software. This is a unique and economical system by which color digital aerial photography is provided, including patented supporting software from which measurements and calculations can be made and images easily retrieved from thumbnail scrolling on a desktop computer. Geographic information system (GIS) data can be layered on the images and one can view all points by coordinates. The most unique aspect of the system is the close-up and oblique (side-view) imagery that constitutes more than 90% of the photo library. This allows for much more understandable viewing and analyses of locations, roads and buildings compared with the traditional straight-down orthogonal perspective. Also highly unique is that measurements can be made from the screen even in the oblique mode. All municipal departments can readily and more comprehensively view locations in the field from their desktops, but the public safety and transportation applications may be the most dramatic. The images and software may be installed on as many municipal desktops as desired. The MVPC and its metropolitan planning organization (MPO) carried out a successful “regional purchasing” of the system and enrolled all of its jurisdiction in the sublicensing of the image library and software. At an average community cost of $5,000 all receive images, software and support; the entire MPO is covered with many overlapping images from different compass directions. Specific transportation applications of the system are extensive: Updating road inventory files and identifying road centerlines; Measuring roadways and intersections for lane configuration improvements and restriping; Viewing infrastructure along roadways, including poles and signs; Viewing the condition of roadways; Viewing high accident locations; Planning for development along roadways; Measuring paved areas such as parking lots and roads. This paper describes the unique Pictometry product, its success in the regional purchasing of it by small communities, and the successful use of the system in the transportation planning process. MVPC is an Alpha and Beta tester of new system applications in GIS connectivity and change detection. MVPC is also now working on integrating its economic, traffic and land use models and is exploring how it will connect the unified models to its new imaging system.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Illustrations;
  • Pagination: 7p
  • Monograph Title: Tools of the Trade: 9th National Conference on Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities, September 22-24, 2004, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01043976
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 8 2007 3:00PM