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Aerial Photography

2016 Regional Aerial Photography project is complete

Every two years, MARC coordinates a Regional Aerial Photography project among GIS professionals from many cities and counties in the Kansas City region to acquire new aerial photography. Working together, member communities are able to obtain aerial data at a fraction of the cost they would pay individually.

Images from our most recent flight, acquired in February and March of 2016, have been finalized and delivered. We soon will be planning for our next flight in 2018, which has a good chance of including a coordinated LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) elevation data component as well as the standard aerial photography.

The final 2016 product is 6-inch ortho-rectified imagery for the Kansas City Region. The coverage extent varies from flight to flight based on participation. Partial coverage of a county is the result of the cities participating, but not the county.

The imagery workgroup is a subcommittee under KC Metro GIS, a committee focused on spatial data. KC Metro GIS coordinates activities, shares resources, and works toward common goals at the regional level.

Imagery is a core base layer used by MARC GIS and the GIS and appraisers departments of the jurisdictions in our region. As a base layer, it is used to verify the currency and accuracy of layers such as, building footprints, address points, trails and road centerlines. New housing sub-divisions, commercial development, highway, road or trail projects may be discovered or verified with updated imagery. The image below shows the geographic extent of our 2016 effort.

This view of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center illustrates the level of detail and clarity available in our 2016 Imagery.
A DEM (Digital Elevation Model) is provided with the imagery. Below is a side-by-side comparison. digitalelevationmodelSM.png
MARC’s GIS staff have prepared maps of the counties where full coverage was acquired from the 2016 effort, available online at the links below.

Leavenworth – hi-res (175 dpi) or low-res (50 dpi)
Wyandotte – hi-res (175 dpi) or low-res (50 dpi)

Clay – hi-res (175 dpi) or low-res (50 dpi)
Jackson – hi-res (175 dpi) or low-res (50 dpi)
Ray – hi-res (175 dpi) or low-res (50 dpi)

These digital maps are available to download and view for free. Poster-sized prints (36” x 44”) are also available for $35 each. If interested, please contact Jakob Goldman at

To learn more about aerial imagery:
Imagery Sample
(click to view larger image, 353kb)
Imagery Sample

Members of KC Metro GIS Committee have participated in a successful cost-sharing project to obtain high-resolution aerial photography (imagery) for the counties and cities within the MARC region on a two-year cycle since 2006.

Through the aerial photography project, cities and counties have been able to purchase affordable, leaf-off, color and ortho-rectified imagery. Most of the imagery has been delivered at six-inch resolution, with some rural areas at one-foot resolution, depending on the needs of participants. The imagery is typically captured in late winter to early spring, processed, then delivered to the participants in the fall of the same year.

MARC GIS staff, in cooperation with a workgroup designated by KC Metro GIS, facilitates the bid process, contracting, and the cost sharing between the local governments. Planning for the project begins in the summer. Vendor review, selection and contracting occurs during the fall and early winter. The flight window for acquisition is a relatively short period between mid-February through late-March when the sun angle is suitable and leaves are still off the trees. Final delivery of the imagery occurs six months from the point of acquisition, after the vendor post-processes the raw imagery into an ortho-rectified product. MARC GIS provides project management and process facilitation throughout the entire project lifecycle.

For more information about this program, please contact the GIS staff at or (816) 474-4240.