Tornado-Struck Counties Assess Damage
ROCHESTER, NY – March 5, 2008 – Pictometry International Corp., a leading provider of geo-referenced aerial image libraries whose proprietary technology is used globally to capture oblique image libraries, has captured new aerial oblique imagery of tornado-struck areas in the South as part of its Economic Alliance Partnership (EAP), a program designed by Pictometry to help counties quickly and accurately assess property damage following a disaster scenario with no additional cost.
Pictometry captured more than 140 square miles of new imagery immediately after the tornadoes touched down in Mississippi on February 6 and delivered it to county officials in Desoto County, Mississippi and Hardin and Shelby counties in Tennessee one week later. Since then, the imagery has been deployed to a number of county agencies, enabling additional county officials to quickly and accurately view and assess property damage by comparing pre- and post-storm imagery.
“Within days of the disaster, we were able to disseminate new imagery to our 911, GIS, assessing and planning agencies,” said Rick Stieg, Regional GIS director for Shelby County, noting that the imagery and software has also been deployed to additional users throughout the county as well as the City of Memphis Light Gas and Water Division. “With minimal training, we were able to quickly share a critical visual resource,” said Stieg, adding, “when you are dealing with extensive destruction in a densely-populated area, there are countless occasions to need a tool that enables you to view pre- and post-disaster imagery in a side-by-side analysis.”
Rita Clark, Assessor of Property for Shelby County, began using the new imagery the day it arrived. “Pictometry is a wonderful tool. An invaluable tool,” said Clark. Shelby County began using Pictometry in 2004, one year after straight line winds caused damage in random parts of the county. “At that time, we didn’t have a means of comparing pre and post-storm damage. We had to launch an effort to get people to send in images of their properties from before and after the storm. With Pictometry, we have recent, detailed, aerial imagery and a tool that eliminates the need for most site visits, saving considerable time and money.”
In nearby Hardin County, a less-populated, rural county and the first county in the state to use Pictometry, more than 70 square miles of new imagery was captured from the path of the tornado. “We immediately deployed the imagery to our emergency operations center,” said Hardin County Fire Chief Melvin Martin, “and now it is being used by the Soil Conservation District to check debris and blockages in our streams and rivers and to assess timber damage in the more rural parts of our county where roadways aren’t clear.”
“Pictometry’s EAP is just another way Pictometry demonstrates value,” said Dante Pennacchia, Pictometry Chief Marketing Officer. The EAP was designed to create an economic alliance between business and government. “Essentially, Pictometry sells disaster imagery to businesses. Those sales, in turn, allow Pictometry to provide new imagery to governmental organizations at no charge following a disaster,” explained Pennacchia, noting additional services are expected to be offered later this year when Pictometry Online (Pictometry’s new Web service) becomes available to Pictometry customers. “We’re excited about the value that Pictometry Online is expected to offer government users every day, and especially during disaster scenarios because with Pictometry Online, we will be able to immediately put new imagery into the hands of those who need it most.”
Pictometry’s EAP is available to all Pictometry government customers. In the event of a disaster, these customers receive new oblique imagery and Pictometry Change Analysis software (also at no cost) to view the before and after images.
Overall, the tornadoes that touched down February 6 have claimed 59 lives and are being blamed for millions of dollars of property damage to areas throughout Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. The tornadoes have been categorized as EF4 storms, indicating extremely severe intensity and damaging potential.
Pictometry International Corp. is a leading provider of geo-referenced, aerial image libraries and related software. Pictometry has captured over 50 million digital aerial images in over 600 counties in the United States covering over 70 percent of the United States population. Using its proprietary imaging process, Pictometry® captures geo-referenced, high-resolution oblique (at an angle, producing a 3-D like view) and orthogonal (straight down) Intelligent Images®, within which structures and land features can be measured. Pictometry customizes and markets these technologies for government and commercial applications, offering non-traditional software solutions to aerial imaging needs. Pictometry’s imagery and software enables users to “See Everywhere, Measure Anything, Plan Everything”® using a patented digital information system. Pictometry has its headquarters in Rochester, NY and an office in Europe. Pictometry is a second order visualization tool that does not produce authoritative or definitive information (surveying) from its digital, aerial images. For more information on Pictometry, visit
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Pictometry is hosting its third annual User Conference, Pictometry FutureView 2008, October 27-29 at the Marriott River Center in San Antonio, Texas.