CT ECO is a website that provides access to many of Connecticut’s statewide geospatial data layers in different formats including over 9000 pdf maps, 10 map viewers (and counting), 138 data services and in some cases, data download. The website contains 18 aerial imagery datasets, the most recent having 3 inch pixels (wow!), statewide elevation with 1 foot contours (wow again!) and much more. Over 25,000 people use CT ECO each year and some days, over 150,000 data requests are made. A recent survey was conducted about the value of CT ECO to its users. The results are currently being analyzed but in a nutshell, a lot of people from different backgrounds including private business, state and local government, nonprofits, education, and citizens use CT ECO and it saves them a lot of time and money. CT ECO is a partnership between the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and UConn’s Center for Land Use Education and Research (CLEAR). The principal architect, builder and maintainer of CT ECO is Extension Educator Emily Wilson.
Article by Emily Wilson
By Emily Wilson
My extra desk has seen a steady stream of boxes – little and big ones, brown and black ones, even an iPad box (no iPad included). One had old maps crumpled up to protect its contents. Some have been dropped off and others have been part of a suspicious looking package trade at meetings across the state. But they all contain the same thing – an external hard drive, cleared and prepared for all 571 gigabytes of Connecticut’s new aerial imagery. Who do these boxes belong to? It is a wide range – private firms, federal agencies, utility companies, universities and municipalities to name a few. And equally as diverse are the applications. Mapping professionals use the imagery as background in maps and map viewers, to find and map roads, manholes, utility poles and other infrastructure, to find and map natural features like vernal pools, streams, vegetation and trees, and to detect changes on the land by comparing to older imagery.
But the imagery is not just for mapping professionals. On CT ECO (a partnership between UConn CLEAR and CT DEEP), we provide the imagery in a range of ways to meet (almost) any level of technical ability. The simplest way is the map catalog, where you will find two pdfs for each town – one true color and one color infrared. Just slightly more involved are the thematic map viewers where you can add other data layers or compare to older imagery. The sophisticated user can connect to the map services in GIS software or ArcGIS Online. And finally, for those mappers who want the actual data but haven’t brought your hard drive to me for the big copy, you can download the imagery as GeoTIFF tiles, MrSID tiles or town mosaics.
The download option is a first for CT ECO and for Connecticut and we are excited about it. It should make for easy and fast imagery access and will likely slow the drive trafficking in my office (and offices at DESPP, DOT and DEEP too).
Check out the imagery on CT ECO and, as always, let us know what you think. And, by the way, boxes of chocolate, as well as hard drives, are always welcome.
More information and links to all the ways to view the 2012 Imagery on CT ECO