Kentucky becomes first state to be geographically photographed entirely from sky

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, May 14, 2024

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Kentucky has become the first state in the nation to capture oblique (side/angle view) photography of its entire geography from the sky, through the KYFromAbove program and its contractor, NV5.

The program achieved this milestone after pilots flew 2,600 flight lines over Kentucky’s landscape, traveling 117,000 miles and capturing 40,660 square miles of the state’s land, including the cities, towns, farms, lakes, mountains and more.

“This is an amazing resource that will improve public safety, all while boosting our infrastructure projects and economic development,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “These images will have an immediate impact, because they can help first responders find and assist Kentuckians after a 911 call. And they’ll have a long-term impact, as more companies and families choose to move to our new Kentucky home. Congratulations to KYFromAbove, NV5 and every pilot that helped us lead the nation and reach this goal of statewide coverage.” 

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Aerial images make it easier for emergency management leaders to assess damage after natural disasters and find safer places to rebuild. They can also enhance:  

–Economic site development and selection.  

–Plan and design work for infrastructure projects. 

–Broadband deployment. 

–Wildlife management. 

–Property assessment.  

–A variety of projects undertaken by engineers, surveyors, real estate firms, commercial developers, roofing and fencing contractors, consultants and other professionals.  

The NV5 team completed acquisition of oblique imagery of the entire state in just two years, despite challenging requirements to accurately capture Kentucky’s geography. The imagery could only be collected under ideal conditions: minimal leaves on the trees, no clouds, no snow, no flooding and at a sun angle of greater than 30 degrees. 

The KY From Above Program was established in 2010 by the Kentucky Geographic Information Advisory Council (GIAC) and is managed by the Commonwealth Office of Technology’s Division of Geographic Information. Its mission is to democratize access to geographic information in Kentucky by providing detailed elevation data and aerial photography at, all at no cost to government leaders, the private sector and all Kentuckians.