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DC From Above | 22 Years of Aerial Photography in DC’s Data Site

Aerial Images of Canal Park from Four Different Years

Have you ever wondered how much your neighborhood or favorite park has changed over the years? Do you wonder what Downtown, Navy Yard or Anacostia looked like a decade ago? The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) has launched a new site where you can now soar above the city using DC’s Open Data site and see progress right from your laptop or mobile device.

OCTO’s Data Team has published a new page within the city’s open data site, DC from Above. This page highlights the 22-year history of aerial photography projects in Washington, DC that have been coordinated by OCTO.  Some of these projects were completed in partnership with the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).

View of Wilson Building from above

Clearer, More Vivid Imagery

Currently, aerial projects are captured and are available using 3-inch resolution. With this method, OCTO provides 3 inches of ground cover for every pixel. In contrast, between 1995 and 1999, aerial projects were compiled with imagery at 1-foot resolution. Now aerial images can be used for web-based visualizations and core operational dataset creation, which is referred to as planimetric data. This imagery is also useful to look up building footprints, streets, sidewalks, recreation areas, bridges, curbs, and hydrography.

DC from Above project manager Alexandre Santos has designed this site to be a, “small education piece on aerial photography.” Santos intentionally designed the site to be, “presented as short, quick read sections in order to engage residents and visitors.”

With this new development, the public can now use operational data to provide better services on large-scale projects. For example, the site highlights this data used for Urban Landscape Planning with Existing and Future land use. This allows the public to compare areas of dense commercial versus residential development. Residents, students, application developers, and interested visitors can also access this DC imagery and ultimately develop apps and research to support the city’s SmarterDC efforts.

The most recent aerial image and LiDAR data sets were created in 2015. The city recently flew new aerial imagery in March 2017. OCTO plans to collect Orthophotography and LiDAR updates planimetric data every other year. We are currently committed to capturing LiDAR every other year, for the next 5 years, which will bring us to 2018 as the next planned project.

Questions? Contact Us

Check out DC From Above here, Follow @opendatadc for the latest open data news on Twitter. And of course, follow @octodc. Or email us at [email protected].

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