Atlanta Suburb Moves Archival Imagery to the Cloud, Making It Easily Available to the Public
REDLANDS, Calif.—January 6, 2022—In the years before Johns Creek adopted Esri’s ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online, a two-person team in the city just outside Atlanta had been innovating ways of managing its data so it was more accessible within departments and to the public. That work included training Amazon’s Alexa device to answer residents’ questions about city services and creating an open data portal online. But the city’s massive archive of imagery has been one of the biggest challenges in its digitization efforts.
When the city incorporated in 2006, Johns Creek began collecting aerial imagery annually. Before, when the city would get a new year’s worth, the geographic information system (GIS) team would undergo the time-consuming task of merging the individual tiles to create a single mosaic imagery layer of the entire city. Typically, it would take a few days to cache one year’s worth of imagery.
To solve this challenge, Johns Creek used ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online from Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, to move all its imagery, some from nearly a century ago, into the digital cloud. The shift has freed up the city’s small GIS department to further innovate and analyze this data rather than spend scarce time maintaining imagery on physical servers and responding to simple data requests. Now, the process of updating a few years’ worth of imagery into the city map takes only a day.
“ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online makes managing our decades of aerial imagery easy and transparent. Staff, consultants, and the public can all easily access and use the imagery for visualization or analysis without any degradation of quality or responsiveness by simply going online, any time,” said Julie Kutz, the city’s senior GIS analyst. “Bringing our imagery to the cloud has helped us free up time and resources so we can focus more where it matters.”
Prior to the move, maintaining imagery had required the most resources. Among the images once stored on servers are black-and-white aerial views taken by the Farm Service Agency in 1938 that had been scanned and rasterized into the city’s databases. Another historic set includes black-and-white photos from the 1950s with hand-drawn elements signaling soil distinctions.
All the imagery is available and searchable online through the Johns Creek DataHub. The results are helping better inform decision-making within the city of about 84,000 residents by providing quicker, more reliable access to imagery.
To learn more about how organizations can streamline operations by freeing up time and server space, visit this site dedicated to ArcGIS Image for ArcGIS Online.
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