Aerial Services To Acquire Over 35,000 Aerial Photo Sites For USDA

Aerial Services will again produce upwards of 35,000 color aerial images for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of their NRCS National Resource Inventory (NRI) and Stewardship Lands Imagery (SLI).  The USDA has annually awarded Aerial Services thousands of sites for many years.  This year’s $3.5 million contract affirms their commitment to building customer value.

This USDA program involves capturing color positive spot shots throughout the 48 continental states, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) uses the images for interpretative analysis and extraction of data via geographic information systems (GIS).  Image accuracy, acquisition, and delivery speed are key values taken into consideration by the USDA.  Year to year, Aerial Services has consistently ranked #1 or #2 in performance among multiple contractors, leading to contract awards since the program inception in 2000.

“Aerial Services is again honored to serve the USDA via the NRI/SLI programs.  We know what it takes to efficiently acquire and deliver tens of thousands of sites within specifications,”  stated Kirk Fisher, Vice President & CFO. “Plus, we advance our logistical procedures to continually improve performance and expand our capacity each year.”

Over the years, Aerial Services has developed impressive workflows, alongside their team of acquisition partners, to efficiently acquire, process, and deliver the images on a tight timeline. Photo acquisition occurs within a designated window set by the client for each state.  Each image is inspected, labelled, scanned, and then shipped to the USDA within 14 days of acquisition.  To achieve this, Aerial Services’ team consists of up to ten flight crews. Weather conditions are monitored and crews are mobilized to exploit good weather wherever it occurs. Each night crews update the project database using a customized web application, each exposure’s precise location is verified, and the database notes the result. If in error, the location is marked for re-flight. This information is then relayed back to the flight crews in time for their next morning flights. This constant communication is key to the success of this project. Deliverables for the combined programs include color positive film and color scans.

“We work hard to complete this project as promised,” said Debbie Allee-Ziemer, Aerial Services’ NRI/SLI Project Coordinator. “During the acquisition season, our team works all hours to make deadlines. It is not uncommon for our crews and I to be communicating at 2AM, preparing for the next day’s targets. We’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done right and exceed our clients’ expectations.”

The USDA’s NRI/SLI program showcases Aerial Services’ considerable acquisition experience, project management prowess, and performance integrity.  While Aerial Services remains humbled to be awarded this project every year they are honored to assist the USDA in their work and look forward to years of continued cooperation in the future.


If you would like a consultation, quotation, or simply have questions about your aerial acquisition, digital ortho, vector mapping, terrain & LiDAR needs, feel free to contact Aerial Services at 319-277-0436 or via email at

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