2016 Orthophotography and Lidar

Project Information

Funding and Project Management

In December 2014, the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), on behalf of all nine regional councils of governments, submitted a grant application to the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) to fund the acquisition of high quality aerial imagery and Lidar through the Regional Performance Incentive Program.  This unique funding strategy arose from OPM’s recognition of the need to improve the inefficient and uncoordinated practice of funding imagery acquisitions at regional scales in prior years.  In addition, OPM saw opportunity to leverage funding from the Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), who were planning to jointly purchase lower quality statewide imagery (12-inch pixel resolution) in the absence of any broader statewide coordination.  A much sharper 3-inch pixel resolution was proposed for CRCOG’s base deliverable in order to satisfy the needs of all users and avoid duplicative acquisitions by entities who require high-resolution imagery.

CRCOG’s grant application, led by project manager Erik Snowden, was awarded by OPM in 2015, with funding contributions from DOT and DESPP.  Shortly thereafter, CRCOG released a request for proposals and began the selection process, working with a small team of talented individuals to procure a vendor and finalize a contract.  Sanborn Map Company was selected as the vendor for this project. 


Data Acquisition and Timeline

The flight was planned roughly for late March and April, between snow melt and leaf off. For imagery acquisition, Sanborn deployed multiple aircraft on clear days to collect imagery during hours of high sun angle to minimize shadows. Along the coast, the aircraft flew during low tide. Lidar acquisition does not use sunlight, so planes collecting Lidar were deployed at any hour.

After data capture, there was extensive data processing and quality control analysis. All data is set to be delivered to CRCOG by the end of 2016. At that time, CT ECO will begin processing the files for serving and distribution. The imagery and bare earth DEM will be available as image services and for download.




  • Statewide, 4-band orthoimagery tiles with 3 inch pixel resolution in GeoTIFF and MrSID formats
  • Town mosaics in MrSID format


  • Statewide QL2 Lidar point cloud as LAS files with ground/non-ground classification and hydro flattened
  • Bare earth 1 meter DEM tiles in GeoTIFF format
  • Contours lines (1 and 5 feet)
  • Hydro break lines
  • Intensity images in GeoTIFF format


  • FDGC/USGS compliant metadata
  • Reports including data acquisition, survey, production, control and calibration and quality assurance and accuracy


Additional Buy-up Options

Municipalities and organization have the opportunity to purchase ‘buy up’ products such as building footprints, land cover, impervious surface maps, enhanced Lidar, oblique imagery and many other datasets. Sanborn presented and discussed the options at the Connecticut GIS User to User meeting on February 19. The buy-up options are listed below and their presentation contains much more detail.

At the meeting, attendees requested to see WHO had inquired about buy-ups to facilitate cooperation.

View the list of entities that have inquired

Buy-ups BEFORE image acquisition (notify Sanborn ASAP):

  • True orthophotography - Due March 11, 2016
  • QL1 Lidar - Due March 11, 2016
  • Oblique Imagery - Due March 14, 2016

Buy-ups done anytime:

  • Planimetric data
  • Lidar derivatives including digital surface model, enhanced classification of point cloud or hydro conditioning and enforcement
  • Building extraction from Lidar
  • 3D building models

If you are interested in a buy-up, contact Sanborn directly. Contact information on pages 32 and 33 of the presentation pdf.



Once the data are completed and delivered (beginning of 2017), they will be processed for hosting on CT ECO, including ortho imagery and bare earth elevation image services, image tile GeoTIFF and MrSID download, bare earth raster tile download and MrSID town mosaic download. The NOAA Digital Coast will host the Lidar LAS files for download. Each region will receive a copy of the deliverables on a hard drive.


Important People

These folks were instrumental in getting the funds together and making the acquisition happen. Thanks to Erik Snowden (CRCOG), Eric Lindquist (OPM), Mark Goetz (MetroCOG), Emily Wilson (UConn), Carl Zimmerman (WestCOG), Bob Baron (DOT), Dan Czaja (DESPP) and Rich Gallacher (Town of Manchester).