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GIS (Geographic information system) are computer systems that capture, store, and display data related to positions on Earth’s surface. This technology combines information from maps with other data about people, the land, climate, farms, houses, businesses, and much more, allowing multiple sets of data to be displayed on a single map. Many industries and governments use GIS technology for analysis and decision making. For example, GIS data helps officials determine which streams are most in danger of being polluted. It can also help a business decide where to locate a new store. Many thematic maps are now made with the help of GIS technology.
Aerial Imagery Resources Overview
Aerial imagery remains an important application of remote sensing, with a sophisticated range of cameras being used to collect information on geology, land use, agricultural management, forestry, water pollution, natural disasters, urban planning, wildlife management, and environmental impact assessments.
Used for everything from geographic evaluation to secret spy missions, aerial photography has a rich and storied history, ably recounted here in Photography and Flight. While digital technology and remote sensing have changed the landscape of photography, Photography and Flight argues that they have not diminished the significance of aerial photography in providing images of the earth.
Mansfield Library Aerial Imagery Resources
The Mansfield Library's Archives and Special Collections holds a limited number of aerial photographs of Montana. For more information about accessing these, please contact Archives and Special Collections.
Additional options for aerial perspectives of the state include:
Orthophotoquads are black and white aerial photos of the same scale as drawn topographic maps (1:24,000). This series was done in the late 1960's and 1970's. The library has limited holdings of these for western Montana. These maps are filed by topographic quad name in the Archives and Special Collections Montana Room.
You can find print soils surveys by looking up the county you need in the library's online catalog, OneSearch. Most soil surveys may be checked out. Soil surveys are also available online through the Web Soil Survey.
Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world.
Through federal tribal, state, and local inter-agency data coordination and partnerships. Montana State Library develops and maintains an extensive collection of Montana's geographically referenced information about the cultural and natural resources for the state.
Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center is a remotely sensed data management, systems development, and research field center for the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Climate and Land Use Change Mission Area. The site contains aerial photography, satellite imagery, elevation, land cover, digitized maps and image gallery collections.
EarthExplorer provides on-line search, browse display, download of data, and export of metadata to support scientists and other users with access to earth science data from the archives of the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The Mansfield Library has computers with Arc-GIS software installed on them. These computers are accessible with a NetID and password. Ask at the Reference Desk on Level 3 for more information on how to access these computers.
Montana has rapid assessment data on over a thousand wetlands across the state. This study was to determine whether the data could be used to identify landscape-level metrics with a good ability to predict wetland condition, or, at the least, to calibrate and validate a best professional judgment-based tool.
Using this interactive tool, users can find information about a given parcel such as which districts (zoning, school, fire, water/sewer, voting, etc.) the parcel is in, open surveys of records pertaining to the parcel, and find the Department of Revenue’s tax appraisal information.