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USDA grants right to digital imagery acquisition project

North West Geomatics, Ltd., EarthData International and Horizons, Inc. will use the Leica ADS40 from Leica Geosystems GIS & Mapping, LLC to conduct a digital imagery acquisition project for the United States Department of Agriculture. The contract to acquire aerial imagery for the USDA’s National Agriculture Imagery Program marks the USDA’s interest in shifting from the use of traditional film cameras to the use of digital sensors such as the ADS40 to obtain aerial imagery. To complete this project, North West, EarthData and Horizons will fly over parts of Nebraska between June and August 2003 with three ADS40s to obtain aerial imagery from approximately 90,000 square miles or about 7,000 digital ortho quarter quads (DOQQs) of agricultural lands. They will process the imagery and deliver it to the USDA within 30 days of acquisition. The goal of NAIP is to acquire current and accurate imagery over all agricultural lands of the continental United States annually and deliver it to USDA Service Centers within a few months. The imagery is used for numerous purposes, including crop management and determining farm and tract boundaries. The ADS40 is an all-digital aerial sensor that requires no chemical film processing or scanning. Users collect aerial imagery and return from a flight mission ready to process and archive their digital data. Its innovative line scanner principle (capturing imagery looking forwards, backwards and downwards from an aircraft) provides wide area coverage, and, aided by four multispectral lines, simultaneously captures multispectral data. It can deliver both color and FCIR imagery from one flight mission. The sensor’s advanced features and design can provide fast and accurate photogrammetric results that meet the USDA’s requirements. The ADS40, combined with the new distributed functionality in the Leica GPro processing package’s HTC (High Throughput Computing) and a computing cluster, achieves throughput and delivery timelines never before possible with any commercially available mapping technology. The Nebraska USDA project began July 1.