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November 15, 2013

1936-2012 imagery comparison

King County acquired new color aerial imagery beginning in 2012 as part of a 52-participant consortium which included multiple cities, Kitsap County, the U.S. Geological Survey, and other government agencies. In early spring 2012, more than 4,000 square miles of the central Puget Sound area were photographed at one of three different resolutions: 3, 6, or 12 inches per pixel. Most of the urban areas in King, southwest Snohomish and Kitsap counties were photographed at the highest, most detailed resolution in which each photo pixel spans only three inches on the ground. Unincorporated and rural areas were captured at the lower resolutions. After the process of orthorectification and the construction of seamless image mosaics, the resulting set of imagery provides a highly accurate digital-image base for a range of applications from map construction and display to resource assessment to spatial and scientific analysis.

The large number of project participants resulted in a high-level of cost sharing. Costs were allocated to participants based on how much of their area of interest was shared by others. In some areas up to nine participants shared the costs for a particular geographic extent, resulting in nearly 70% savings for some agencies compared to the cost that would have been borne by a lone agency to acquire the same product they received as a member of the consortium. To ensure that the project was effectively funded, a detailed funding agreement was developed prior to the beginning of the project and all members contributed their project costs up front into a reserve fund from which project costs were paid.

Partners in the consortium participated in a governing steering committee and in a technical work group to guide the project and coordinate data review and acceptance. In addition to the receipt of the natural color imagery, many of the participants acquired add-on products as part of a supplemental phase of the project. This included detailed elevation models, contour line sets, and impervious surface maps.

This was the first time an imagery acquisition with this number of participants was tried in the Puget Sound area. The large number of participants, the size of the project area and the complexity and range of the deliverables combined to create unique challenges for both the vendor and the clients. However, there continues to be strong interest among most of the 2012 participants in planning for another image acquisition project in 2015.

May 23, 2013

Our Duwamish video thumbnailThe King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) recently posted on its "Our Duwamish" website an exciting flyover animation of the Duwamish River basin created by the King County GIS Center's own Victor High. Victor developed the animation for EPA public meetings that were held this spring. WTD commissioned the animation to show in a highly visual and dynamic way the many programs and projects undertaken, and services provided, by King County in the Duwamish basin, including cleanup and restoration projects, wastewater treatment facilities, bus routes, and public health facilities.

Victor based the animation on a Duwamish Waterway map created by Shari Cross, also of the KCGIS Center and WTD. Using GIS and 3D modeling and rendering software, Victor combined a lidar-derived digital elevation model with 2012 aerial images, added text and map feature overlays, and programmed a virtual flyover path. He then rendered a sequence of high-resolution images which he assembled into a two-minute-long video. King County Multimedia Specialist Tim O'Leary added narration and music to complete the highly realistic presentation. And now everyone can take this exhilarating ride to discover Our Duwamish for themselves.

April 1, 2013

It's on again—the latest edition of the King County GIS Center's unique, week-long, integrated series of hands-on GIS classes taught by working professionals. If you're one of the registered students, Welcome! If you aren't and want to see what you're missing, check out the Academy page. And then look forward to joining us for the next session scheduled for the week of October 7–11.

The King County GIS Center Training Program offers a variety of standard and custom GIS classes and workshops in its Seattle training facility and at customer locations. For more information see:  or contact Cheryl Wilder,

April 1, 2013

The King County GIS Center (KCGISC) and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have collaborated to develop and present custom GIS workshops for WDFW employees which incorporate their own departmental data and procedures. WDFW has made significant investments in GIS in recent years, and one of the ways it is now leveraging those investments is to show its diverse staff the numerous applications GIS data and analysis have for their many programs. Department leaders decided that hands-on, WDFW-focused, GIS workshops could inspire their staff to enhance their projects, as well as day-to-day work activities, through the application of GIS tools, resources, and skills. They turned to the KCGIS Center Training Program for help.

WDFW wanted to develop workshops targeted at two skill levels: one workshop would teach basic map layout and design using Esri’s ArcGIS software, and one would teach intermediate GIS data management and analysis techniques. KCGISC trainers worked with WDFW staff to author the workshops, and then taught each workshop twice to a diverse group of department staff at the WDFW annual employee conference in Wenatchee in November of 2012.

Reviews from the workshop students were uniformly positive and WDFW has already expressed a desire to work with KCGISC to develop more training offerings. We look forward to supporting WDFW’s continuing efforts to put GIS to work throughout its organization!

The King County GIS Center Training Program offers a variety of standard and custom GIS classes and workshops in its Seattle training facility and at customer locations. For more information about bringing KCGIS training to your organization see:  or contact Cheryl Wilder,