Having successfully completed digital aerial data collection over a six-county area in southern Mississippi, EarthData International is now fast-tracking delivery on high-resolution orthoimagery to benefit the state's post-Katrina redevelopment. Known as the Gulf Region Base Mapping Program, the project was authorized by Governor Barbour and is part of a larger infrastructure program being run by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

"The mapping data currently being developed is critically needed for the long-range planning work that is necessary for rebuilding and renewing our Gulf Coast," said Trudy Fisher, executive director of MDEQ. "It will enable the public- and private-sector engineering, construction and economic development people to make wiser and faster decisions," she added. To that end, EarthData's all-digital mapping approach will enable an accelerated project turnaround with first products delivered to the state this spring and final products slated for the fall.

The mapping program is being funded by the Mississippi Development Authority with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It includes the coastal counties of Hancock, Harrison and Jackson, as well as the inland counties of Pearl River, Stone and George. Color orthoimagery will be developed at 1'-pixel resolution in rural areas and at 6"-pixel resolution in urban areas and the southern half of the coastal counties where damage and change was most extensive. The Mississippi Coordinating Council for Remote Sensing and GIS will make final mapping deliverables available to state and local government agencies and institutes of higher learning for maximum benefit.