FARMINGTON — Franklin County commissioners have signed an agreement to participate in the Maine Orthoimagery Program that provides counties with a low cost way to acquire accurate imagery.

The mission of the GeoLibrary is to create an electronic gateway to public geographic information, and to expand and promote the value of geographic spatial data through widespread distribution and innovative use for the benefit of Maine’s citizens, according to the website of the Maine Library of Geographic Information at www.maine.gov/geolib.

Orthoimagery is geometrically corrected aerial imagery that provides a comprehensive view of the earth’s landscape and features.

The imagery can be used in geographic information systems and used to help update community parcel maps and for economic development purposes, Joseph Young, executive director of the Maine Library of Geographic Information, said.

“When the county helps pay for the base level acquisition it allows for communities to buy up to better even more accurate resolutions at low cost,” he said.

The county has been setting aside money to participate in the program.

The cost for Franklin County is $23,667 and $12,500 for the Unorganized Territory, county Clerk Julie Magoon said.

“We have $20,000 in reserve for the county and $10,000 in reserve for the UT,” she said. “The remaining amounts will be included in the FY 15 budgets.”

Fly-overs to get the imagery will be done in 2016 in Franklin County.

Young updated commissioners on the project April 1.

The orthoimagery program is initiating its third year of acquisitions. The 2014 partnership includes Hancock and Penobscot counties, Maine Office of GIS, Maine Department of Transportation, Maine Emergency Management Agency and the Maine Public Utilities Emergency Services Communication Bureau, according to information.

The 2014 acquisition will include 24-inch resolution base level imagery or better for all of Hancock County and one third of Penobscot County. In addition 12 communities in Hancock County and five communities in Penobscot County are buying up to higher resolution imagery, according to the information.

It is estimated that the program savings to communities will be $1.3 million.

Young told commissioners last week that the town of York acquired standard three-band color, 6-inch resolution imagery in 2005 at a cost of $36,000.

In 2012, York participated in the state program and received four-band color, 6-inch imagery for a cost of $9,262, a total savings of $26,738, he said.

Other counties participating in the program so far are Androscoggin, Cumberland,  Kennebec, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Waldo and York.

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