November 18, 2013

Town, city contract for updated aerial imagery


---- — PLATTSBURGH — A Rochester-based company will provide detailed aerial images of all properties within the city and town of Plattsburgh next year.

The photos are used to aid with property assessments.


The two municipalities have contracted with Pictometry International Corp. for a new set of aerial oblique digital images of all the parcels in both municipalities.

The company is scheduled to start doing flyovers of the town and city next spring.

The images currently available to the town and city were commissioned by Clinton County in 2008-09.

The new images will be at much higher resolution than the old ones, which will allow the assessor’s offices to meet state requirements.


Town Assessor Brian Dowling said it could take up to six hours to get measurements from 10 parcels in the past, as they would have to physically visit each property.

The state wants to see properties reassessed every six years, he said, which can be difficult when there are more than 5,500 parcels in the town.

“The Pictometry part of it takes a lot of the field work out of it,” he said. “It saves a lot of time and effort.” 


City Assessor Derek Rosenbaum said that having a new set of images will be invaluable. The system allows property searches by address, parcel identification number, road and even latitude.

The technology will allow his office to treat all property owners equally when doing assessments, he said, which is the main goal of an assessor.

“It’s definitely a good tool for the Assessor’s Office,” he said.

It could also prove useful to the Engineering and Public Works departments, he said.

Dowling said the images can even be used to measure ground elevations and slope, to help in determining storm-water runoff.


The contract is valued at $34,268, with the town paying $27,976.50 and the city paying $6,291.50. Rosenbaum said the city’s payment is lower because it there is much less ground to cover.

Dowling said the town will spread its payments over a three-year period. It should be able to use the images for up to five or six years, he said.

The two offices presently do assessments by visiting the properties. They will be able to do much of that work from the office with the new set of images. 

Each image can be viewed from multiple sides and even vertically. Houses and features such as decks, driveways and swimming pools can be accurately measured by dragging a computer mouse along each boundary.

Rosenbaum said Pictometry also offers additional services. One is ChangeFinder, in which future images can be layered over older ones to instantly identify whether a property has changed.


Dowling said the town approached the city about working together on the project.

Rosenbaum said he used to do assessments for the city when Dowling was the city’s assessor, and they have continued to work together since Dowling took that job in the town.

Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said he is pleased to see the two municipalities working together.

“We are looking forward to working with the city,” Bassett said.

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For more information about Pictometry, visit