Looking at Truckee’s big picture | SierraSun.com
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Looking at Truckee’s big picture

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun
Provided by Truckee Donner Public Utility DistrictA "prototype" sample of an aerial photography project showing Commercial Row in Truckee. The project covers 100 square miles, and will be detailed enough to see objects as small as six inches.
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Local agencies are working together to compile detailed aerial photography of the Truckee area.

The Town of Truckee, Truckee Donner Public Utility District and Truckee Sanitary District formed a partnership to complete a town-wide aerial photographic survey, covering 100 square miles ranging from Donner Summit to Hirschdale west to east, and from Prosser Lake to Northstar north to south.

“This area has never been flown with this accuracy and high-pixel-count photography before,” said Ian Fitzgerald, the public utility district’s geographic information systems coordinator. “Anything bigger than six inches will be visible.”

The project also includes Lidar data, a technology similar to radar, that gives vertical relief at a sub-one-foot accuracy level, Fitzgerald said.

“It will be much like a Google Earth environment,” Fitzgerald said. “That elevation data will allow engineers to have accurate slopes for design.”

The third component is infrared photography, which will determine the permeability of a surface for run-off analysis, Fitzgerald said.

He said the project will have many uses for the public utility district ” ranging from engineering usage to tracking power outages.

“It will reduce electrical design engineering time by 60 to 75 percent,” Fitzgerald said. “We will also be able to map where calls are coming from during an outage and predict where the outage is coming from.”

The aerial photography will also be useful in winter, allowing engineers and staff to see what they are working with ” even when it’s buried under feet of snow, he said.

Sanitary district Engineer Blake Tresan said it would help with maintenance and management of the sewage system.

“It will help us do our job more effectively,” Tresan said.

Town Manager Tony Lashbrook said the photography would be valuable in a wide-range of town projects.

“It’s not just pictures,” Lashbrook said. “We will be able to print it with topography. It’s valuable for planning, roads, trails ” you name it.”

Fitzgerald said the project first went out for bid in May, the flights were conducted in August, and the whole project is expected to be completed by the end of January.

According to the utility district, the total cost of the project is $183,432, with each of the three agencies paying one-third.

“This is the first large collaborative effort between the three agencies,” Fitzgerald said. “We are trying to keep the public cost down.”

He said the utility district won’t release the entire data-set without stipulations to non-public agencies, but can release smaller project areas.

Lashbrook said the town would not have separate availability policies, and the data will be controlled by the utility district.


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