Aerial photos of Marion County to appear on county's Geographical Information System website

A new feature to Marion County’s Geographical Information System (GIS) website (marioncountygis.com) is due to appear this week – recently taken aerial images.

“It will come online on our GIS (site) for everyone to see in a couple of days,” said Teya Stice, county coordinator, during the April 10 meeting of the County Commission at the courthouse in Palmyra.

Stice noted that while some parts of the county’s GIS website require a paid subscription to view, the new photos, along with past images, are available to the general public at no charge.

According to Stice, the photos were taken within the last month. The previous photos were taken in 2007, reported Lyndon Bode, presiding commissioner, in February 2016.

Although the contract with Pictometry International Corp., which is based in the Tulsa, Okla., area, was approved by the Commission last August the photo-taking flyover was delayed until winter when leaves would be off the trees.

“Something else they’ve got to watch for is no snow cover, so the ground is bare and you can see most everything,” explained Bode last year.

Pictometry’s photos will be more detailed than most aerial images, according to Bode.

“It’s a more complicated photo process than a plane flying over with one camera. They have three cameras pointed in different directions. It gives a better feel for what the buildings or ground looks like,” he said. “It helps county assessors to be able to assess and make sure they’re catching everything and working up everything that needs to be done as far as assessments.”

Under the contract signed by the county it will have up to six years to have a second round of photos taken by Pictometry.

“You would require a minimum of three years in between. Probably what we’re looking at is holding out until the six-year period,” said Bode. “In another five to six years when we would have it done they could do more of a comparison and then keep our GIS system up to date as far as photos, too.”

The initial cost of the photo shoot is $67,652.85. The follow-up charge will be $68,432.90.

“Whether we go three years or six years we’re locked in (expense-wise),” said Bode, noting the cost is being divided between the county’s General Revenue Fund and the Assessor’s Fund.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com