Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Most valuable perspective

I've just concluded a workshop presentation to several dozen colleagues from around the country on the value of Pictometry's oblique aerial imagery for public safety personnel, such as fire battalion chiefs, police officers, dispatchers and emergency management personnel. Many people are familiar with Pictometry images through Microsoft's Bing Maps. The public imagery available through Bing, however, is not the latest-and-greatest. In Lincoln, these are 2010 images, whereas the 2013 photos we use internally are more recent and taken at even higher resolution.

The workshop was at the request of Pictometry for their annual users' conference. Many of the municipal and county customers of the firm are such people as county assessors and city GIS managers. Apparently in some communities where the city or county have already spent the money to acquire this imagery for such purposes as tax assessment, it isn't necessarily being used by the public safety agencies.

To me, it is a no-brainer. Neither standard overhead aerial photography, nor street-level imagery such as Google's Streetview, quite fills the bill as well as the bird's eye view from Pictometry's oblique images. Whether planning the service of a high-risk arrest warrant, preparing for the potential of a significant working incident, or managing a large special event, the oblique aerial view is quite helpful, and provides the most valuable perspective.

I could sense the topic was timely. My session was well-attended by people who wanted some advice on how to engage their police department, fire department, sheriff's office, 911 center, and emergency management personnel. Many of the attendees wanted to talk in more detail after the session, and I spent an afternoon sipping coffee and brainstorming with people from Virginia to Colorado, and points in between. One of suggestions I made to these existing Pictometry customers was to download the iOS app for iPad, Pictometry Connect Mobile, then to simply hand that to a SWAT team commander or a bat chief. A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words, and these are personnel I would expect to be most likely to understand immediately how this technology could help.


Anonymous said...

I DL'd the Pictometry Connect Mobile app to my iPad then found out you have to be a member. Waste of time.

Tom Casady said...


Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead anyone: Pictometry images are available to Pictometry customers with user IDs and passwords.

There are, however, Pictometry images incorporated into Bing Maps public web mapping application for much of the United States--look for what Bing calls "Bird's Eye View". They are not the latest and not the highest resolution, but still pretty darned nice.

I was speaking to a hall full of Pictometry customers, who already buy imagery, on how they might get their public safety agencies interested in actually using what they already own!

Anonymous said...

Pictometry imagery is also available to the public via the City of Lincoln GIS Viewer at Link by selecting the Pictometry tool at the top of the page, and clicking on the property.