The fourth-largest county in California and one of the largest in the nation, Riverside County stretches nearly 200 miles across from Orange County to the Colorado River at Arizonaâs border. Part of the Inland Empire, the county includes over 7,200 square miles of low deserts, river valleys, mountains, and plains. At the center of the Golden Stateâs population explosion, Riverside County remains one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States.
The ChallengeAccording to Information Technology Officer Jeff Letterman, Riverside County needed better, higher-quality digital elevation data with greater accuracy for land development, flood control planning, watershed analysis, and various planning projects.\"Weâre working on a pilot project to develop a countywide database and platform that all departments can share,\" said Letterman, who supervises the geographic information systems (GIS) department for the countyâs Transportation and Land Management Agency. \"Planning for land development requires higher-quality contour data than we could get from U.S. Geological Survey data, and we required more detail than the 30-meter digital terrain models provided,\" he commented. \"For example, during the permit process, when developers or home builders provide plot plans with contours, we did not have quality contour data in our GIS in order to check the accuracy of the plans. Therefore, we were missing a valuable evaluation tool.\" The SolutionAfter reading about Intermap Technologies in various GIS trade publications and receiving a referral from one of the countyâs project managers, Letterman contacted Intermap to request dataset samples and compared them to various known elevations. \"Intermapâs staff demonstrated how the companyâs products could address our needs, which cemented in our minds that we were going to be happy,\" he said. Without delay, Riverside County purchased Intermapâs NEXTMapÂ® USA â California 3D elevation datasets and geometries, including digital terrain models (DTMs) for the 180-mile-wide county that almost equals the size of New Jersey. \"When we looked at the high quality, accuracy, and cost of Intermapâs datasets, it was very easy for us to decide on this purchase,\" added Letterman. \"We received great value for the money, and now we have more confidence when we work on planning projects.\" He also believes Intermap follows a good business model. \"They decided to fly the counties and then market the data. Thatâs a smart business model, in my opinion, because the company has the quality terrain and elevation data that governmental agencies need.\" Implementing the SolutionIn addition to various other planning and land management projects, Riverside County uses Intermapâs datasets to address Riverside Countyâs Integrated Project (RCIP), an unprecedented planning effort to simultaneously prepare environmental, transportation, housing, and development guidelines. \"This enhanced information will help us set aside 153,000 acres as open space and wildlife habitat in western Riverside County,\" Letterman said. \"Weâll also have better information in the form of Intermapâs DTMs in order to implement our National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program as authorized by the Clean Water Act.\" He also noted that Intermapâs DTMs \"allow us to address all of these types of programs and projects in a more sophisticated manner.\"The ResultsRiverside County will continue to see a return on its investment, according to Letterman. \"We will be able to reduce costs related to the land development process because we have a more accurate representation of the countyâs terrain at the point of contact with our customers. Itâs really a tangible savings for us.\"Without Intermapâs data,\" he added, \"we wouldnât have the kind of information we need to positively impact the quality of life for those who live in Riverside County.\"
Author: Intermatp Technologies January 2009 newsletter
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