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Historical air photos prove popular on regional district website

Image Credit: Regional District of the Central Okanagan
July 29, 2016 - 9:00 PM

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - Local fans of orthophotography will have to wait another two years before there’s another update to the Central Okanagan’s aerial mapping service.

“The next one is 2018,” communications officer Bruce Smith says.

In case you didn’t know, an orthophoto is a geometrically corrected high-quality aerial photograph, giving it the same lack of distortion as a map.

Orthophotos anchor the regional district’s GIS mapping service and its popular historical air photos slider allowing you to historically compare areas of the Central Okanagan as far back as 1951.

“They’ve been doing these flights for a long time,” Smith adds.

Every few years, Smith says the regional district and other municipalities will throw chip-in on an aerial survey, which involves a light aircraft equipped with a high end camera making passes over the valley.

“Our last one was 2014. There was one last year with Kelowna, West Kelowna and the Westbank First Nation. We kind of got out of synch,” he adds. “It’s like a $50,000 group buy for these flights. It’s not cheap to fly these planes."

Smith says the GIS service is well subscribed by developers, academics, realtors and bylaw enforcement, which can use the point-in-time shots to check for changes in land use or illegal buildings.

As far as he knows, the ortho flights will continue in the near future to be done in a light plane, as drones are still not used.

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