What is a Micro GIS?

The question really isn’t “What is a Micro GIS?” It’s a small scale GIS implementation. The question is “Why Micro GIS and why now?” To start a GIS, entities need a place to start. For most GIS implementations, a georeferenced basemap is the first step. The best basemap is one that enables other layers that are necessary to build a robust geodatabase to meet the end users’ needs. That being said, the ideal basemap on which to build a GIS is an accurate, high resolution, digital orthophoto mosaic. The ortho needs to be accurate so all subsequent layers reference their correct location on the ground. It needs to have high resolution so users can capture and digitize existing visible physical features (planimetrics) into their own GIS feature classes.

Smaller scale entities like industrial parks, economic development agencies, malls, and school campuses all have facilities and asset mapping needs that GIS can help organize and analyze. Traditionally, acquiring accurate digital orthophoto mosaics with high enough resolution has been expensive and, in most cases, the ortho tends to be only a small subset of a larger project within a city or county. The resolutions of these larger projects have never been high enough in comparison with the smaller subsets, and therefore offer little to no assistance in feature extraction at that scale…until now.

The convergence of photogrammetry software development, sensor technology, and the explosion of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) has created an affordable photo capture and digital mapping delivery workflow that small scale entities cannot afford to ignore. Drones can capture the data necessary for accurate (less than one inch on the ground), high resolution (less than one inch GSD) orthomosaic production. Drones are doing this at a fraction of the cost and time of a traditional orthophoto program from manned aircraft. GEO Jobe is helping entities create Micro GIS’s that are now affordable for budgets smaller than say, a local or county government.


Planimetrics derived from UAV imagery and converted CAD data overlaying a GEO Jobe orthophoto.

GEO Jobe has developed a strong UAV Services program that has been delivering accurate, high resolution digital mapping products to the development, utility, and construction engineering and inspection industries for several years. GEO Jobe has been taking UAV Services program data and integrating it with its 20 year history and experience of data collection in the GIS industry to begin building Micro GIS’s for several clients. We are creating accurate, high resolution ortho basemaps and extracting planimetric data to create usable feature layers for college campuses across Middle Tennessee. Planimetrics include features such as building footprints, curbs, edges of pavement, culverts, headwalls, drains, sidewalks, and manholes. Campus planning staff are providing non-visible asset features they already have, like underground utilities (water, sewer, electric, and steam lines) from CAD drawings that tie directly to the georeferenced basemap and other extracted features. In addition to the standard orthophoto, 3D models are a desirable product for use in planning offices. 3D models provide the user the ability to view features from all angles, obtain accurate measurements, and even insert new 3D buildings to visualize proposed changes. GEO Jobe can create a GIS geodatabase from scratch for clients, or integrate the UAV Services data with an entity’s existing GIS.


3D model with proposed buildings.

Why Micro GIS, now? Because GEO Jobe has the knowledge, skills, and experience to create one at a price that better fits a small scale area with many geographically referenced assets to manage and plan for.

To request a free quote, head over to www.flythis.net

Jeff Lawrence

sUAS Business Development / sUAS Pilot