At a time of such economic uncertainty, why would the Flagstaff City Council be spending $100,000 for aerial photography? I will be asking this question and many more at this Tuesdays March 26th Council Meeing.
The photography is to be used in Flagstaff’s GIS mapping system. This is a system I am very familiar with since myself and many people use it often to check out properties and other data from a computer. With this system you can view parcels of land, buildings, streets, and other data. It’s a great tool.
At last Tuesday’s meeting I raised several questions about the need to spend $100,000 to update the photos in the GIS. The current photos are from 2007. Looking at Yavapai County’s GIS system, a system I am also very familiar with, I notice they use map layers from several different third party companies such as Bing (kind of like Google Earth). I asked staff to talk to Yavapai and see what it costs to use such a service instead of taking our own pictures. The argument for taking our own photos is for better image resolution. While I’ll admit the photos they are proposing to take appear to be a little clearer and can zoom in a bit more versus Bing, how clear do we really need these images? The system we currently use and Yavapai’s system are very clear and with changing technologies should only continue to improve over time.
With over $25,000,000 needed just to fix our streets, how can anyone justify spending $100,000 on aerial photography? Perhaps we can zoom in and see all the pot holes in high definition?
I was thinking back today, I have been on the Council for ten months and I cannot think of one expenditure that the Flagstaff City Council has voted down in that time, not one! Myself and several of my colleagues vote down expenditures all the time but I cannot think of one time that the majority has turned down an expense. Is nothing to be cut? Is there no expense our City cannot live without? Is aerial photography critical and vital to our city’s future?
I’d love to hear from you on this issue. I think this is an important vote coming up on Tuesday and will answer the question, is every expense a sacred cow?
You can always email (firstname.lastname@example.org) myself and the entire Council your opinion and you are free to call City Hall (928-213-2015) or show up to Tuesday’s 6:00PM meeting.
Link to Yavapai County GIS
Link to Coconino County GIS