By Julia Guerrein, Editor-in-Chief
Recently I searched online for aerial images of South Royalton to see how the town and Vermont Law School have changed. I managed to find the Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI), which runs the State of Vermont’s Orthoimagery Program, the Vermont Land Survey Library, and the statewide Parcel Program.
The Program houses a collection of high resolution and freely available (for non-commerical or resale uses) georeferenced orthoimagery. This basically means the images are fixed to remove distortion and contain files with extra data to allow complex software to calculate distance, area, and more. According to the VCGI website, the first year the program collected digital imagery was in 1994. VCGI collects aerial imagery every year (besides 1997 and 2002) and has also georeferenced some older photos, such as from 1942 and 1962. In addition to the images, there are also Geographic Information System (GIS) data layers available.
The Vermont Land Survey Library houses a public record of Vermont land survey records, such as copies of boundary line adjustments and subdivisions. Surveyors are able to submit PDF copies of their surveys to the Library for reference. Official copies of surveys must be requested from the town clerks.
The statewide Parcel Program is a GIS database of parcel data. It is funded through the Vermont Agency of Transportation with the goal of creating a statewide, consistent, and up-to-date database. The VCGI website states some of the uses for these data include ensuring fair and accurate taxing and reappraisal, informing community planning and economic development, and natural resource conservation.
Much can be discovered and understood by looking at aerial photos over time. South Royalton and the state of Vermont have changed considerably in many different ways. I encourage you to look at these photos provided here, but to also explore the project yourself, especially if you have a GIS background.