Every year the City of Park Ridge contracts with a photogrammetric firm in order to collect important planimteric data such as buildings, driveways, sidewalks, etc. in a computer usable digital format. This data is fundamentally important as it provides a backbone for a Geographic Information System (GIS) and allows for in-depth analysis that can help a city understand the scope of what lies within their city limits. Whether it is counting how many homes are within a floodplain or estimating how many sidewalk squares a community must review each year, this planimetric data has its use. For without it, local governments would have to resort to alternative methods such as laborious field checks or manual counts in a Sidwell parcel map atlas.
One of the more recent uses of this planimetric data was Park Ridge’s task to identify all vacant lots within the city in order to help the Community and Preservation Development (CP&D) Department locate these lots for condition monitoring as well as coordinating their records with Maine township. Normally a task of this magnitude would require the CP&D Department to rely on historical knowledge of these lots or to manually drive the entire community documenting what they find. But now with the use of building footprint data acquired in the past five years, the GIS can easily flag all parcels that do not have a building footprint. Additionally, GIS can use high resolution aerial photography in order to review all parcels that were flagged from the initial review in an effort to reduce the amount of field checks that may still be needed.
In conclusion, although it may seem like a costly investment for a city to acquire planimteric data, its uses in the long run will outweigh the amount of time and money spent to accomplish the same tasks using more conventional methods.