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High-res imagery important to county, cities
Imagery used by many departments
Shown is downtown Great Bend in ultra-high-resolution digital orthoimagery, aerial photography used by a variety of county departments.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Tuesday morning:

• Approved the purchase of digital orthoimagery for the county Mapping Department. The $28,500 cost is being split between the county, paying half, and the four major cities in the county (Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend and Hoisington).

• Approved offering $15,000 in  financial assistance for the City of Great Bend for the citywide cleanup.

In a change from holding them in the commission’s temporary chamber at the former JC Penney building, the commission is holding its study sessions in the conference room at the Barton County Health Department, 1300 Kansas, Great Bend. 

County officials said the switch is a chance for commissioners to get out and about in different county facilities. In the near future, the commission will hold study sessions at the Road and Bridge offices, 2401 Seventh St., Great Bend, and the Barton County Annex, 1806 12th where 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services and Community Corrections are housed.

Following the agenda meeting, the following appointments were scheduled for Tuesday:

• Financial update with Matt Patzner, administrator.

• Grant opportunity with Karen Winkelman, health director.

• Program update and bid review for NE 130 Avenue RCB extensions with Barry McManaman, county engineer.

• Program update with the Employee Engagement Committee.

• Regular business discussion with Matt Patzner, county administrator.  

Barton County Cartographer Bj Wooding describes the value of the ultra-high-resolution digital orthoimagery very simply.

“It’s been used by several different departments and agencies, and I don’t know how they do their jobs without it, frankly,” she said, addressing the Barton County Commission Tuesday morning. Commissioners then approved the purchase of the imagery for the Mapping Department at a cost of $28,500.

This will cover the four major cities in the county (Claflin, Ellinwood, Great Bend and Hoisington) for a total of 79 square miles. The county will pay half, with the balance split among the communities based on size.

Barton County has the opportunity to purchase updated aerial imagery as part of the State of Kansas contract for NG911, the enhanced 911 system, Wooding said. The county will get three-inch pixel imagery. 

The county’s orthoimagery was last updated in 2018, and since then, technology and resolution has improved. The county started using aerial imagery back in the 1980s and it has been updated every few years since.

Orthoimagery is an aerial photograph or satellite imagery geometrically corrected (“orthorectified”) such that the scale is uniform: the photo or image follows a given map projection. Unlike an uncorrected aerial photograph, an orthophoto can be used to measure true distances, because it is an accurate representation of the Earth’s surface, having been adjusted for topographic relief, lens distortion, and camera tilt.

“This is called three inch pixel resolution. It is about the highest you can get by airplane,” Wooding said.  

“This imagery is used heavily by the appraisers office, appraising both structures and the ag land,” she said. It is also used for zoning and planning purposes when a request to build a structure is sought.

In addition, it is used by the Road and Bridge and Engineering departments for roadwork and the flood zone issues. 

As for the cities, they can use this to find individual manhole covers and fire hydrants, Wooding said. Following the 2001 Hoisington tornado, the imagery was used to locate shattered power transformers.

The flyovers will take place between February and March of next year. This time of year is chosen because the trees are bare and the ground is clear, allowing for a better view of the surface.