PCI Geomatics technology is helping Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, produce valuable, accurate, and up-to-date agriculture data covering the entire island province. The Forestry & Land Resource Modeling Section of the PEI Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry, is using PCI Geomatics OrthoEngine technology to orthorectify and mosaic hundreds of aerial images of the entire province for the purpose of land cover/use monitoring. This information is helping provide PEI resource managers with an important tool for mapping and examining changes in agriculture, forestry, wetlands, infrastructure development, and the coastal zone.
In order to produce comprehensive vegetation analysis data, infrared (IR) aerial photography was acquired at a scale of 1: 17 500, which ultimately produced 1800 black and white TIF images. These images were loaded into PCI Geomatics OrthoEngine, which was specifically chosen for its proven track record as an extremely rigorous orthorectification and terrain modeling software package.
“The scale of this project is impressive and demonstrates that OrthoEngine is a value-for-performance software solution,” notes Arnold Hougham, Vice President of Sales and Product Marketing for PCI Geomatics. “OrthoEngine’s efficient ortho production, flawless mosaicking, and automated features make deriving spatial data from remotely sensed imagery simpler, faster, and far more accurate.”
The Island was divided into 212 mapsheets, each representing an area 7600 metres long by 5600 metres wide. For each sheet, ground control points were collected from the existing digital road infrastructure and augmented with ground GPS points. A digital elevation model (DEM) was created using digital 2 metre contour information digitized by the PEI Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry. Each mapsheet required 12 scanned photos, which were then orthorectified to 1 metre resolution and then mosaicked using PCI Geomatics OrthoEngine technology.
The information produced from this project has proven highly advantageous, as indicated by users such as Ducks Unlimited, the Canadian Wildlife Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as well as several provincial government agencies including Emergency Response. Since completion, a large percentage of the hardcopy maps produced by the Provincial government GIS systems present the orthomaps as a base upon which other digital data is draped.
The Forestry & Land Resource Modeling Section of the PEI Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, Aquaculture & Forestry has relied on remote sensing and GIS technology to complete and analyze landcover information since the 1980s, and with good reason. Even with a geographical area of only 5,660 square kilometres (2,184 sq. mi), agriculture has always been one of the province’s principle industries. As a result, the maintenance of healthy forest stands, crops, and soil quality continue to be leading land use issues for legislators and farmers. The data from this project are helping provide officials with vital information on farm location, crops and field boundaries. At the same time, farmers receive access to information to carry out sustainable farm practices including nutrient crop management, crop rotation plans, and environmental farm plans.