A major milestone was reached last week by the Wisconsin Regional Orthophoto Consortium (WROC). State and federal partners have pledged just over $1.1 million toward orthoimagery acquisitions in Wisconsin during 2010.
In addition to a $675,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant awarded to the state of Wisconsin last August, several other state and federal agencies recently pledged an additional $450,000 to WROC. New partners include the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service, the Wisconsin Department of Administration Division of State Facilities, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the WI Board of Commissioners of Public Lands.
Funds contributed by these partners will be used to create a statewide, color, leaf-off imagery product with a spatial resolution of 18-inches. This statewide dataset will be in the public domain… a major benefit for imagery consumers throughout the state. In addition, the partner funding will also offset costs for local governments participating in the WROC project. This will give those local governments the flexibility to obtain additional related products, acquire higher-resolution imagery, or simply use the savings for other priorities.
Despite reaching this major milestone, WROC is still seeking additional partners in order to assure the project can cover all the costs and meet the needs of the contributing agencies.
To avoid any duplication of effort, the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission is working with the WROC contractors to develop a plan to resample high-resolution, high-accuracy imagery products over WROC counties into the 18” statewide product. Over the remaining counties, the contractors will acquire a native 18-inch resolution product, but with a lower spatial accuracy compared to standard WROC products. Details and specifications of the different product “levels” are described in a partnership FAQ published by WROC.
In addition, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, working in conjunction with the U.S. Geological Survey, is infusing approximately $250,000 into Wisconsin through their Urban Areas Imagery Program. Under this program, select metropolitan areas receive funding towards color, leaf-off, one-foot resolution imagery. These data will be provided to the WROC and used to create the statewide product. Eligible areas in Wisconsin include Green Bay, the Fox Valley, and the Madison and Milwaukee metro areas.
Many details, funding commitments, and contracts remain to be finalized, but 2010 is clearly shaping up to be a huge year for imagery acquisitions in Wisconsin.