USGS Cutting High-Resolution Ortho Imagery Program

The USGS is cutting its high-resolution ortho imagery program due to budget cuts.   It will continue to provide NAIP imagery through its web map services,  but it is cutting its links to the EROS data center for the high-resolution aerial imagery on the National Map Service Endpoints page (   

See the USGS news release here:

The National Map web map service endpoint for the USGS EROS Ortho (shown at the top of the table in the article) provided high- resolution imagery where available with gaps filled in with NAIP imagery.   This combined imagery will still be provided below 1:18,000, but on a dynamic web map server that is very slow (no cached tiles).   It will also be available on a separate layer at all scales but without the NAIP imagery filling in the holes.   The high-resolution imagery will be available on these reduced services until October 2017 unless more funding is appropriated.

This is bad news for people who use the online imagery source in their GIS software and it is especially bad for web mappers who use the high-resolution imagery in their web maps.   The only alternative is expensive commercial services which are too expensive for small businesses.  

Since funding could still be acquired if there is enough demand for the service, I think it is important for the GIS community to be aware of this and voice support for continuing the program.

For more information, see the contact information on the news release article for Rob Dollison.  He is the head of the map services program for the USGS.   He returned my phone call on this and did a good job of explaining the budget situation and the changes.    

Mark R. Phillips

I-Map Data Systems

3255 E. Lombard

Springfield, MO 65802


Office:  417-866-6400

Mobile: 417-234-1326




Published Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

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