New Aerial Imagery Used for World Meeting of Families Public Safety Efforts


We recently wrote about PHLMaps, the City’s mapping platform, and its addition of aerial imagery dating back to 1996.

The effort was part of a major project of the City’s GIS Services Group. The Group created multiple basemaps for the platform that integrated past aerial imagery and migrated hundreds of gigabytes of geodata to a new file server and into a more efficient raster mosaic format. (This makes it easier to publish to the web and improves its performance within server and client GIS applications.) The aerial image mosaics are available internally to the City’s GIS community (all departments and agencies) and are published as image services to PHLmaps for public consumption.  

This imagery has also been used for the upcoming World Meeting of Families event. The City has not only shared the imagery across the organization, it has shared the geodata with external organizations like the Secret Service for public safety efforts around the Pope’s visit. The aerial imagery allows public safety teams to augment their situational awareness for planning, evaluation and for real-time responses. Because the imagery is of a much higher resolution and currency than Google maps, it is vastly superior to free products on the web.

The imagery is a significant component to the mapping analysis used in daily ComStat briefings by the Commissioner of Police and his administrative and analytical staff, providing a real-world backdrop to crime incidents.

You can browse different basemaps and other data on PHLMaps. You can also download the data through the OpenDataPhilly portal.

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