Geographic Information System
In Sept 2001, the City Administrator and the City’s Engineer began investigating the possibility of an aerial photograph of the City of Jerome. They believed that it could save a tremendous amount of time and money. The time required in the field would be substantially reduced. Decisions on water and sewer placement, for example, could be done in the office using the information from the aerial.
In the last several years, the City of Jerome has been on a continuous growth spurt. Companies have been finding the area desirable for establishing their businesses. This brings in additional need for new housing and utility services. The city’s existing base maps did not have a good representation of Jerome’s surrounding areas so it was difficult to envision future development in some sections.
The GIS Analyst collected general information from several different vendors about aerial photography. From that general knowledge more questions were born. The possible benefits of an aerial system continued to expand. The City Engineer, the Information Services Manager, the Public Works Director, and GIS Analyst, visited the City of Pocatello, to see the pros and cons of purchasing an aerial photograph. They met with Dennis Hill who is in charge of Pocatello’s GIS Dept. He showed how they were able to send out work crews with very specific details on utility locations, overview developing areas, view an area’s topology, map specific items without ever leaving the office, and verify existing or new data for placement accuracy.
The only item of concern for the aerial photography seemed to be the initial cost. The initial cost for the City of Jerome, a section of the interstate I84 corridor, a section of the Hwy93 corridor, and a section of the Hwy25 corridor was $125,000. After seeing all the benefits of having an aerial photograph taken and digitized, the City Council decided to proceed.
When the digital geo-referenced aerial data started arriving, the Engineering Dept. and the GIS Analyst began using it immediately. They layered the existing data on top the aerial and have never looked back.
Every department has benefited from the aerial photography project. The Police Dept. now has a bird’s eye view of any area in the city. This can allow them to enter areas safely knowing potential escape routes to cut off or hazardous areas to avoid. The Fire Dept. has the ability to use the aerial for future hydrant placement and to identify nearby structures in fire containment. The City Administrator has used aerial views to study annexation areas for consideration. The Engineers have been able to do initial studies of areas for water and sewer line placement using the topography data. The GIS Analyst is using the aerial to identify the existing data that is incorrect and make adjustments. Every day, the City finds new uses for this extremely beneficial tool.
The City of Jerome’s internal structure is not the only ones to benefit from the aerial project. The City has been able to provide aerial views of specific areas, along with other digital data, to new businesses who are examining Jerome as a potential site for their relocation or growth. This increases the potential available jobs for the City of Jerome’s residents and surrounding areas.
The GIS Analyst has been able to provide the aerial and topography data to engineering firms that are providing contract work. This has lowered the Cities cost. The City Engineer estimates that he has saved approximately $56,000 and the Senior Engineer Technician estimates that he has saved close to $12,000 the first year (2003) the aerial data was readily available. The City anticipates saving $60,000 a year in costs associated with outside consultants and surveyors. This is good news for the taxpaying citizens of the City of Jerome.
The City of Jerome has made this aerial photograph available to the public. Please review the metadata. The price is $200 per 50 acres sold in 50 acre increments. Contact Joan Appell at 208-324-9669, x101 to place your order.