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Hall updates GIS aerial photography
System shows snapshot of county in 2010
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Hall County has updated the images in its Geographic Information System to reflect the way the county has developed over the past five years.

GIS Director Mark Lane said the department was thrilled to be able to include new aerial photography in its system this year, compliments of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Geological Survey.

"We found out that they had some money (from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to do some aerial photography," Lane said. "At first, they were looking at primarily flying this data for the Lake Lanier basin, which doesn't include all of Hall County, just kind of the northern and western portion of the county. But USGS found out we were interested in new photography for the entire county so they agreed to extend their photography project to include all of Hall County."

The last time the county updated the photography was in 2005.

Hall County grew tremendously in that time, though there was no evidence of the development in the county's photographic record.

"The years of '06, '07 and '08 were some of the years where there were quite a few homes built," Lane said. "In certain areas of the county, you see a lot more rooftops than you did in the old photography." The images are important for departments like public safety, engineering and public works. It is also available to the public on the GIS website.

"You can turn on the 2010 imagery or even the 2005 imagery and kind of toggle back and forth to see the changes that took place in a given area over time," Lane said.

Though new aerial photography was badly needed, Lane said he didn't think it would be possible because of the austerity measures the county was taking to balance the budget.

"You really need to acquire new photography every three or four years," Lane said. "We didn't even budget for it this past year because we knew due to the economic situation the county wasn't going to be funding any capital items." Lane said the updated photography is especially useful in light of the recently released census data.

"We were really excited," Lane said. "We wanted it to coincide with the census year to get kind of a snapshot of the county to go along with those census numbers."