Aerial Photography Mapping Program Begins in Michigan

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A three-year aerial photography mapping program is underway in Michigan that collects high-quality images across the state — essential for government bodies — for use in infrastructure mapping, property assessment, natural feature surveys, hydrologic mapping, emergency response, planning, and zoning.

“These aerial photos are important to work being done all over the state,” says David Behen, director of the state Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, the department that manages MiSAIL. “Organizations would not be able to access this type of information if they had to purchase the images on their own.”

Behen says the state will acquire digital aerial photographs of about 12,000 square miles, 20 percent of the state. Data collection this year will include Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State University. The Department of Technology, Management, and Budget has plans to map the entire state in five years.

Sanborn Map Co., the company that collects the images, will also capture three-dimensional images. The images can be used for infrastructure mapping, property assessment, natural feature surveys, planning, and zoning.

Funding for the project comes from the Departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, and Transportation. Local partners include the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, and counties across the state. The partners will contribute more than $2.7 million this year, which includes $1.5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Through collaboration, the partners have realized cost savings of nearly 30 percent.

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