Why you—yes you!—should take advantage of your state’s free imagery and elevation data

April 3, 2017 by Woolpert

Why you—yes you!—should take advantage of your state’s free imagery and elevation data
By Kent Park, Woolpert

By now, you’ve heard that the state is giving away its data—literally! Here are 4 ways that your local government can benefit from this incredible offer.

  1. Free base imagery

Who doesn’t like free? This no-cost program is offered through a partnership between the State of Indiana and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The aerial imagery was purchased by the state, while the lidar (elevation) data collection was funded by the NRCS. Local governments are encouraged to participate in the program and put this free imagery to good use.

  1. Essential data availability

This baseline imagery and lidar data comes with the opportunity to purchase upgraded essential data. By making a minimal investment in data buy-ups, you can multiply the uses and benefits of the free data program. You’ll have access to a variety of purchase options, including higher-resolution imagery, building outlines, contours, impervious surfaces, land cover, road infrastructure and more.

  1. Confident, informed decision making

Confident decisions are based on quality information. The state’s new aerial and lidar data is more accurate than ever before, and it serves as an excellent base for assessments and planning. Whether you are looking to reassess properties for tax purposes or forecast community growth and economic development, this highly accurate geographic data supports well-informed, fiscally responsible decisions.

  1. Enhanced emergency response

Because there is no sure-fire way to prevent every disaster, effective emergency response is crucial for saving lives and property. This high-quality aerial imagery and lidar data supports robust GIS databases that provide directions for life-saving first responders, inform local officials of property damage and help property owners apply for disaster assistance.

So, why not let the state pay for your imagery? This incredibly useful resource is open to all city and county agencies throughout the state—no strings attached—from the Indiana Geographic Information Office. This is one program that most definitely isn’t too good to be true.

Kent Park’s more than 30 years of experience in photogrammetry and client services gives him a well-qualified perspective on state imagery programs. As a Project Manager for Woolpert’s Geospatial group, he has managed a multitude of large-scale, cutting-edge mapping efforts for multiple state and federal agencies. Contact Kent ( or 317.281.2092) today to find out how you can make the most of your imagery.