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Aerial map of town gets updated

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The Town of Fort Frances has an updated bird's eye view of itself.

Council was given a look at new orthophoto imagery of the municipality during its regular meeting Monday night.

“Back in 2007, the town engage Atlas Geomatics to do a fly-over of the town and take aerial photography for a base layer for our GIS [geographic information system] system,” Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob told council.

“The idea at the time was once every 10 years we would redo that,” he noted.

“In 2017, we were able to partner with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to come in and do that for us with some neighbouring municipalities at a much-reduced cost for us,” he added.

Rob furthered explained the Operations and Facilities division, along with the town's other three divisions, uses a GIS system that maps out all of the town's assets—right down to curb stops and water and sewer mains.

“We fly the town for an aerial image that we can use as a base layer underneath that information so we can see not only where the physical infrastructure is located but we have a point of reference when we're looking at it in terms of what is nearby it,” he noted.

“It allows us to see and capture things like sidewalks, lanes, other features than what we currently have mapped,” added Rob.

Trish Law, the town's GIS expert, said the town was alerted to the possibility of joining with the Northwest Orthophotography Project back in 2015 during a conference in Thunder Bay.

“We were told that our region would be filmed in 2017. This is the resulting image,” she said as she showed an aerial view of the town to council.

“It's very similar in resolution to what we previously had," Law noted. ”As you can tell, it's in full colour.

"It was flown at the end of May, 2017 and is made up of 189 1km x 1km square tiles.

“We were able to, with this imagery, obtain current imagery of the islands east of town all the way up past Sunny Cove,” Law added.

“Our previous orthoimagery did not include those areas," she said. "We just had the town site proper.”

The updated imagery includes more recent additions to the town, such as the Huffman Court subdivision, the Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre, the new Robert Moore School, and the La Verendrye Parkway since the addition of the Hallett, lookout tower, and the exercise equipment there.

It also has newer commerical buildings, such as Boston Pizza.

The new imagery of the town cost $1,000 to use, whereas the previous orthoimagery cost the town about $54,000.

“It's for internal use at this time,” Law explained.

“At the end of three years, we are allowed to do with the imagery what we may,” she noted.

“Even though we are licensed for internal purposes, we can still offer printed maps should one be requested.”

The MNRF obtains new orthoimagery abut every five years, meaning the town will be contacted again about updating its orthoimagery in 2022.

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