FALL 2006

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium
2006 Conference
From the Chair
Lifetime Award
Polaris Awards
Scholarship Winners
Scholarship Competition
Scholarship Fundraising
North Workshop
South Workshop

Air Photo, Elevation Inventory
LIDAR Update
50 States Grant
NorthStar Mapper
HydroClim Minnesota

Governor's Council
Annual Report
FY07 Appointments
Governor's Commendations
Grand Rapids Presentations

Forum Results

Olmsted Uses Air Photos
FGDC Funds Web Mapping

Pine County LIDAR, Soils
Soil Data Viewer Update
2007 CAP Grants
USGS Reorganization

Higher Education
Evacuation Management Tool
Land Change Research
St. Mary's Update

K-12 Education
GEOFEST, Training

Mapping Child Care

Other Places
Dynamic Earth Map



Orthophoto Uses in Olmsted County
By Jan Chezick, GIS Supervisor/Coordinator, Rochester-Olmsted Planning Department

This article identifies several examples of how orthophotography is being used in Olmsted County.

Use by individuals

  • Search and rescue dog trainers plan and map various search and rescue training exercises, as well as utilize the orthophotos when responding to calls for service.
  • Political campaign staff plan and organize door-to-door campaigning activities.
  • Neighborhood associations identify resident addresses, land use of properties, and use for future planning efforts.
  • Orthophotos provide a visual image for presenting proposals for new development at meetings. People are more able to put concepts into perspective when viewing the photos.
  • Attorneys use the orthophotos as a backdrop for identifying and mapping key points of interest and/or to trace the "steps" of a suspect for a court case.
  • Local charities use the orthophotos to map out neighborhood routes for their annual charity drives.
  • Event planners use the orthophotos to map out event routes, boundaries, and identify locations for check-in stations and other event services.

Use by agencies assisting individuals

  • Orthophotos provide a visual aid when identifying deficiencies in specific services to city and county residents. Recently, homeland security staff requested that we map the locations of the existing warning sirens throughout Olmsted County. We also will overlay the coverage area zone boundary provided by the existing sirens. Overlaying this information on top of the orthophoto will provide a visual image to decision makers on the density of the populated areas that are not included in the effective range of current sirens, resulting in improved planning strategies and justification for the installation of additional warning sirens. The ability to overlay additional GIS layers that identify future growth areas and future land use plans can provide valuable information toward future funding during the yearly budget planning process or for submitting grant proposals.
  • Law enforcement staff plan vehicular travel routes for motorcades, locations for blockades, and establish security locations and patrols at large public events such as visits from high profile visitors, large sporting events, and parades.
  • Law enforcement staff plan staffing, supplies, and equipment for investigations and stakeouts.
  • Emergency responders use GIS, including orthophotos, to plan how to respond to major fires and other events (chemical spills and gas leaks, recently) and manage the areas around the scene.

Use by local government

  • Orthophotos are a basis for gathering spatial information for developing new feature layers and maintaining existing feature layers used in our geographic information system (GIS). Examples include road locations and alignments, water features, vegetation, building locations and footprints, and utility locations.
  • Planners use orthophotos as a base for overlaying other GIS data layers for presentations, as they provide a good visual reference for displaying information.
  • Orthophotos are one of the reference layers used in the development and maintenance of the Olmsted County Land Cover Inventory based upon the Minnesota Land Cover Classification System (MLCCS).
  • The Homeland Security Coordinator uses the orthophotos as a foundation for homeland security planning efforts and staging emergency operations drills.
  • Assessment staff reference orthophotos for damage assessment of properties in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
  • Addressing staff use orthophotos as a visual reference in assigning, maintaining and collecting E911 addresses. The photography provides staff information on existing roadway configurations, driveway locations, and building locations as related to the location of new structures to be addressed.
  • Orthophotos are used as a historical reference for zoning enforcement related to non-conforming parking, vegetation management, and development-related land disturbance.
  • Park staff use the orthophotos as a foundation for identifying, mapping, and future planning of recreational, vegetation, and wildlife management areas within park boundaries. See photo below illustrating work in Chester Woods Park.

For related articles on orthophoto use in western and southern Minnesota, see the Local section of the Summer 2006 GIS/LIS News,