The Connecticut Office of Policy & Management has announced a grant that will provide the state’s municipalities with access to high-quality mapping data that it said can be used to assist them in virtually every aspect of local government operations.
Funded through the Regional Performance Incentive Program, with additional contributions from the Departments of Transportation and Emergency Services and Public Protection, $2.2 million was awarded to the Capitol Region Council of Governments, which is administering the project, to acquire high-resolution aerial imagery and precise elevation data for the entire state.
The data can be used locally by engineers, planners, assessors and first responders in a geographic information system and other mapping software. The elevation data, often called “LiDAR,” allows for the creation of contour maps and can be used to create three-dimensional models of the earth’s surface.
“We need to support our communities by giving them the tools to do their jobs in a modern, efficient, and effective way,” OPM Secretary Ben Barnes said. “This information is critical to our state agencies and will help us as we plan for and implement our ambitious transportation goals, respond to sea level rise and climate change, and support our economic development agenda.”
CRCOG submitted the application in 2014 on behalf of Connecticut’s nine Regional Councils of Governments, and is managing the statewide project with assistance from a team of state, regional and municipal representatives, as well as collaboration with such federal agencies as the United States Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Brad Arshat of The Sanborn Map Company Inc., the vendor selected to procure the mapping data whose offices include Pelham, N.Y., estimated that the project would result in a savings of nearly $52,000 per 30-square-mile acquisition area, which is the average size of all 169 municipalities in the state.
“The savings are truly astronomical when you merge many smaller project areas into a single large project because of the fixed costs associated with each mobilization,” Arshat said.
In all, the statewide collaboration will save several million taxpayer dollars compared with the total combined costs if municipalities were to individually procure the same data, according to the OPM.
In accordance with Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Open Data initiative, all data must be made publicly available, thereby extending the utility and cost savings of the new datasets to a wide range of user groups including utility companies, businesses and entrepreneurs, non-profits, and academia.
Scheduled to be available in the spring, the data will be hosted for public consumption on cteco.uconn.edu, a joint service of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and UConn’s Center for Land Use Education and Research.