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Verifying Total Irrigated Acreage with GIS

When the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) purchased ERDAS' geographic imaging software, the new in-house capabilities opened up many new possibilities for automating other aspects of their work, beyond the initial mountain pipeline and water treatment projects (see main article, "Colorado Utility Maps in the Rockies with Imagery"). While the first two in-house projects centered on the creation of ortho-accurate photos using traditional aerial photography, a newly proposed project is designed to tap into the advantages of infrared photography.

Every 10 years, cities and municipalities within the State of Colorado are required to report the amount of irrigated land served by their local utility. For CSU, this determination has traditionally been made based on in-the-field inspections that are labor intensive and costly.

Using ArcInfo software and ERDAS IMAGINE, the CSU Water Resources Department is proposing to meet this year's deadline using infrared photography to help planners verify the amount of irrigated land within the 204 square miles of the City of Colorado Springs.

Based on the spectral return from the infrared imagery and using classification techniques within ERDAS IMAGINE, planners will be able to identify trees and other vegetation growing in the watered areas and precisely determine the total amount of irrigated acreage served by the utility. Once the irrigated acreage is determined, lot boundaries will be selected and final analysis and processing of the total square acreage will be conducted using ArcInfo.

For more information about geographic imaging solutions, contact ERDAS (toll-free at 1-877-GO-ERDAS [1-877-463-7327] or visit ERDAS on the Web at

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