Adobe Stock / kentoh

Location content provider Nearmap has partnered with the City of Durham, North Carolina to provide real-time imagery to the Public Works Department while out in the field, allowing the department to streamline data collection, reduce time spent in the field, and save money.

The department is tasked with managing all infrastructure data for the city, including mapping half a billion square feet of impervious area for the city’s $16 million a year Stormwater Utility Fee fund. “That is half a billion square feet of impervious area that we manage through digitization and review daily,” says Edward Cherry, GIS Administrator for the City of Durham.

After using several satellite imagery systems with low resolution and infrequent captures, Cherry and his staff of 14 GIS professionals determined the city needed far superior quality in their mapping imagery to accommodate the city’s growth explosion. Captured every six months at a 2.8-inch ground sample distance (GSD), the city is now equipped with updated crystal-clear images that allow accessibility through web-based cloud servers.

The Durham Public Works Department has achieved:

  • Better monitoring of pavement conditions - With over four to five different image captures at high-resolution, surveyors can see sections that have been paved most recently.
  • Time savings and documentation of road repairs -Using a GIS application integrated with Nearmap imagery, the team can view, edit, and draw directly on specific areas of a PhotoMap via phone or tablet instead of having to go on-site for planning.
  • More detailed maps of city riparian zones - Riparian buffers or stream buffers can now be monitored for growth and expansion, with imagery captured during both leaf-off and leaf-on seasons.
  • Accurate and detailed customer billing - By providing a web service map, the over 78,000 stormwater billing customers served can visualize their property with the impervious area mapped out and tied to their billing records.

“Having access to imagery back to 2014, we’re able to go back in time during the thrust of development and monitor it forward,” says Cherry. “With Nearmap, we’ve been able to update development processes and policies to support the revitalization of the downtown district as well as rapid city growth.”