What is Pictometry?

Pictometry is a leading provider of geo-referenced, aerial, oblique image libraries and related software. Pictometry uses a patented image capture process to create Pictometry Intelligent Images®. As a leading provider of image libraries to E9-1-1 and emergency response professionals, Pictometry’s images and technology are also used by GIS, planning, and assessing professionals as well as a growing number of commercial industries including insurance, utilities, real estate, construction and more. Pictometry is easy-to-use and access. Pictometry’s tools can also integrate with other software programs and features geo-referenced images which allows for accurate measurement capabilities designed for users.

What does oblique mean?

Oblique refers to the angle at which an image is captured (Pictometry images are typically captured at a 40 degree angle). By capturing images at this angle, as opposed to a straight down or overhead shot, Pictometry’s images reveal greater detail, enabling users to see different views of an image and notice relevant details such as street lights, fire hydrants etc. With Pictometry, for example, you can see the front door of a house, the back door, the windows and more.

What is the advantage of Pictometry?

Pictometry offers an advantage compared to traditional overhead photography or even satellite and GPS mapping. First, Pictometry captures oblique images so more relevant detail is captured, enabling users to see more and recognize buildings, structures etc. Pictometry also uses a process which captures every square foot of an area in high resolution detail, from both orthogonal and oblique angles, giving Pictometry’s images something traditional aerial images or even satellite and GPS mapping can’t provide: a detailed oblique view of any feature. The locational data associated with each pixel makes it possible for users to measure numerous geographic details such as distance, height, latitude/longitude coordinates, directional bearing and relative positioning. Deployment options also make Pictometry’s software available to multiple users so more people can access relevant information from the convenience of a desktop computer or via remote wireless internet access.

What other special features does Pictometry offer users?

In addition to oblique, high resolution, geo-referenced images and easy to use software, Pictometry image libraries offer a centralized storage and delivery system so captured images can be stored in a central repository and quickly queried with the click of a mouse. These libraries are typically updated every two years (or more often if required), giving users a point of reference to make meaningful comparisons over time. This feature can be especially useful for damage assessment and in disaster situations.

How is Pictometry used?

Applications for Pictometry technology and products increase daily. From 9-1-1 dispatching centers, homeland security and emergency management agencies, and first responders, to engineering firms, community planning agencies, and transportation departments, Pictometry provides visual information that lets you See Everywhere, Measure Anything, and Plan Everything.®

Can Pictometry Provide Authoritative Products?

Yes. Pictometry offers authoritative products derived from its aerial imagery and other data capture platforms. These products include certain imagery (e.g. AccuPlus Ortho-mosaics) and LiDAR deliverables.  Where regulations and/or specific contract requirements dictate, Pictometry uses appropriately licensed professionals for all authoritative products provided.

Pictometry also provides a non-authoritative product line. All of Pictometry’s measurement capabilities are available in Pictometry Standard imagery, including height, distance, angles, location and more. When your solution calls for a visual information solution for non-authoritative use such as Public Safety, Assessment/Appraisal, engineering planning and decision-support, then Pictometry Standard imagery is the right choice. Pictometry’s Standard products also offer cost savings when authoritative products are not required.

The following are just a few of the many key applications for Pictometry:

Law Enforcement:

  • Identify staging and surveillance areas
  • Search, raid, and seizure planning
  • Photo documentation for search warrant applications
  • Traffic control analysis, evacuation planning, and routing
  • Land/air coordination in search and rescue efforts
  • Setup foot chase/crime-in-progress perimeters in seconds
  • Turn night into day – winter into summer
  • Historical archiving and accident reconstruction
  • Logistical analysis
  • Statistical mapping

Fire Departments:

  • Pre-plan responses for major structures and facilities
  • Locate and establish field command centers
  • Measure hose distance from water sources and hydrants to fire
  • Zoom in and inspect structural composition, roof layout, and access points
  • Access structural inventories such as sprinklers and hazardous material lists
  • View impact of wind direction on neighborhood for potential evacuations
  • Integrate third-party data such as plume impact
  • Send coordinates of house numbering systems to MDTs in vehicles en route


  • Instantly view multiple images of caller location at time of call
  • View alternate traffic routes to incidents
  • View each address from multiple angles for entry and escape points
  • Measure height, length, and width of buildings
  • Provide remote guidance on location of electrical wires and other obstacles that might impair equipment or helicopter access
  • Integrate third-party information such as dispatch software and records management systems
  • Monitor foot chases through visual clues and provide assistance to officers on the scene
  • Using visual clues, help identify true location of incidents that are called in that may not be the actual incident area.
  • Homeland Security
  • Pre-emptive and concurrent tactical planning against terrorism
  • Use for training exercises
  • Conduct vulnerability analysis and threat assessments of public utilities such as water supplies, coastal areas, and electrical distribution systems
  • Find the best location for field command posts and apparatus positioning
  • Create visual databases of critical infrastructure such as bridges, dams, roads, chemical outlets, petroleum pipelines, storage facilities, landmarks, and other public buildings
  • Instantly assess situational environments – measure angles, distance, height, and width of any structure or property
  • Crowd control and evacuations
  • Ensure that manpower and resource deployment match the situation
  • Engineering, Transportation and Utilities
  • Highlight and coordinate new roadway or other construction sites, schedules, and progress with drawing tools
  • Inspect and pre-plan new developments before sending out survey crews
  • Import data from GIS and other sources for asset location of water mains, electrical distribution systems, and zoning information
  • View adjoining properties for impact
  • Automatically calculate acreage or square footage
  • View neighborhoods for growth and traffic flow analysis

Can I “zoom in” on these images for more detailed information?
Yes. Pictometry gives you the ability to zoom in and out of all images. However, the term “zoom in” can be very misleading in discussions regarding privacy issues.

What about privacy issues?
It is understandable that when some people first see Pictometry they may get the wrong idea that we can zoom in to recognize them, read their car’s license plate, and otherwise obtain personal information from the images. While Pictometry images offer detailed information on building and property features such as roof lines, road markings, bushes and shrubs, the images cannot be viewed at sufficient levels of detail that would permit license plates to be readable or people to be recognized.

Communities using Pictometry have long understood that our digital imagery, while indeed impressive up to 3-inch pixel resolution, substantially deteriorates in resolution beyond this point.

Can I link my existing mapping and GIS to Pictometry?
Yes. Pictometry software can overlay shape files directly on top of both oblique and orthogonal images as well as display a wide variety of other vector data.

How are Pictometry images stored?
The image raster data is stored in an industry standard image file format such as JPEG, TIFF or MrSID.

Can the images be annotated?
Yes. Pictometry provides a number of annotation tools and allows users to attach and geo-locate other documents or files, including a Word or Excel document, or even a corresponding image or video from another source.

What coordinate systems does Pictometry support?
Internally, Pictometry works in WGS84 lat/lon. However, Pictometry can translate coordinate systems on-the-fly that enhance interoperability with many common coordinate systems.

What are the requirements for each client workstation?
There are not many specific “requirements.” Pictometry’s software will run on most Windows platforms. Pictometry specifically tests compatibility with Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7.


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Case Study

Enhancing Data Confidence

How A Forward-Thinking Energy Company Used Oblique Aerial Imagery To Improve Its Approach to Integrity Management


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