Six Leica ADS40 Airborne Digital Sensors will acquire imagery over approximately 380,000 square miles of land in the states of Texas, Idaho and Louisiana. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) awarded the largest digital ortho-photo collection contract ever granted to a team of three companies: team leader North West Geomatics Ltd. (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) and its business partners, EarthData International (Frederick, Md., USA) and Horizons, Inc. (Rapid City, S.D., USA). The imagery will be used by the USDA’s National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) to monitor and manage farm programs.
The team will conduct its flight mission, which started on 1 June, till 31 August. All imagery must be processed within 90 days of flight completion to meet USDA guidelines. They will collect about 10.1 trillion pixels or 10 Terabytes of raw data for this project. Both color and color infrared products will be created to meet user requirements. To process the imagery, the team will use EarthData’s ISTAR infrastructure and Leica Geosystems’ GPro software.
In 2003, the team successfully flew the state of Nebraska for NAIP and delivered imagery of 90,000 sq. mi. of land, acquired with the ADS40, within the allotted timeframe.
NAIP annually acquires current and accurate imagery over all agricultural lands of the continental United States and delivers it to its various USDA Service Centers. The USDA adheres to two strict requirements in the imagery acquisition process: ortho-imagery must be provided quickly to Service Centers for mandated annual compliance review; and 1-meter ortho-imagery becomes the updated image base layer for the USDA’s GIS.