US: Pictometry International is using low-flying planes with a variety of high-tech cameras to take high-resolution photographs of cities and rural areas. The photos are taken at an angle rather than straight down. The result gives Web users the ability to make 360-degree sweeps around a building, measure distance, height, latitude and longitude and get other information.
The company has so far aimed much of its business toward public safety use, giving emergency personnel a quick, detailed look at a building that is on fire, under siege or facing some other emergency. (The technology was used by crews responding to the 35W bridge collapse. Pictometry also has dispatched its planes after natural disasters to get complete views of an area for use in emergency response efforts by the government.)
Pictometry is working with Mankato and Blue Earth County to tie the images they took last spring into the city and county’ GIS systems. But when up and running, the images will be used for far more than public safety. It will include:
– Realtors or homebuyers will be able to zoom in and take a tour of a piece of property.
– Someone who wants to take a hike in a park will be able to view the park and add an overlay showing trails and park amenities.
– Farmers will be able to find property boundaries and measure the acreage of fields.
So far the local images aren’t available for public view. But, Pictometry is working with Microsoft, adding more and more of the images they have to the Web.
Source: The Free Press