Friday, June 06, 2008

Aerial photos aid Anderson planners

New aerial photos taken with a high-tech camera will allow city of Anderson planners to take a close look at properties without leaving their office.

"Someone calls me about a piece of property, and I can click on the computer and look at it," said John Stokes, Anderson's planning director.

The images of Anderson were taken Wednesday using Microsoft's UltraCamX -- with its cluster of eight lenses -- mounted in a 1981 Cessna 206, said Thomas Manuel, chief pilot for HJW GeoSpatial Inc. The Oakland-based company is partnering with Enplan, an environmental services firm in Redding, to photograph cities around the north state.

Along with Anderson, photos were taken Wednesday of Cottonwood and parts of Corning, Enplan owner Randall Hauser said. Photos also will be taken of Dunsmuir and parts of Mount Shasta.

"It's a brand new technology," he said.

In the detailed, digital images, planners will be able to examine the condition of pavement and the location of hydrants, Hauser said.

Stokes said the photos of Anderson cost $15,000 and will be used about five years for planning.

Planners from the city of Redding also are considering using the technology, if there is funding, said Rob Santry, senior geographic information systems analyst for Redding. The last composite aerial photos of Redding were taken in 2004. "It was a lot more expensive than it is today," he said.

Hauser said those photos cost $160,000. Santry said the estimate for new photos is $40,000.



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