Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Survey says...

The first step in our construction phase for the ranch is to get everything surveyed so we can set up a master plan. It is required for accurate layout and for obtaining permits from the county. We had the surveyors out a couple of weeks ago and they recently provided us with the digital files. The problem with it is that all you see is a bunch of elevation lines on the original file and those old 1952 USGS topo maps on the overlay. I need something I can print out and draw on. I've been doing computer graphics for 15 years, I can't work with that!
As everyone knows, Google Maps has decent aerials available for viewing. Unfortunately, you can only really zoom in as big as your computer screen so you are either left trying to paste several screenshots together or settling for a low resolution print. A little research led me to the USGS website, the same place those 1952 topos come from. You may not know this but if you know where to look they offer a better option.

USGS offers high resolution aerial orthoimagery for FREE download that is at least twice the resolution that I was able to get from Google Maps. It is a little tricky to navigate but once you find your location you can download 250mb squares of image data. Our ranch split 4 squares so a gigabite download later I pieced the squares together in photoshop and dropped the digital survey on top. Now I have something I can work with!

Soon we will start planning out the sheds and barns and hog pens and chicken coops and everything else. A pretty exciting time that we have been anticipating for months!
Below is a small version off the map I made from the USGS aerials with the survey laid over the top. Click it to see a larger version.

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