Program Documents
program overview | contact info

v2.4 updated to v2.4.1 – redownload if you have v2.4

The SDMI control report is now published and available (downloads below). The control report’s objective is to summarize control requirements for horizontal and vertical control necessary to meet the target of National Map Accuracy Standards at 1:24,000; and provide alternative methodologies for meeting the specification. Alaska poses a major challenge in terms of ortho-controlling regional coverages of imagery and elevation data. The extremes of terrain from sea level to 6,000 meter plus mountain peaks make a consistent ortho control model difficult. Logistics involved with ground control are also a formidable challenge. This report summarizes the issues associated with control of Alaska imagery and elevation data; provides a report on methods currently used by mapping agencies and firms; and proposes methods for control standards, and serving up ground control from a common repository.

Map of existing potential control sources in the state: (click for more detail)

Control report v2.4.1 – 2.3MB .pdf updated

Control report appendices – 470KB .zip

2009 Imagery Workshop

March 3rd, 2009

June 2nd: Alaska SDMI Imagery Whitepaper Final v2.3.1
update v2.3 -> v2.3.1 : June 2nd
whitepaper v2.3 posted : May 27th

The Alaska Statewide Orthoimagery Workshop was held March 2 - 3, 2009 at the Hilton Anchorage Hotel in Alaska. The goals of the workshop included:

  • Learn about potential solutions from data providers
  • Review requirements for an improved, statewide Alaska orthoimage
  • Summarize options and assess potential solutions
  • Make recommendations for next steps.

Respected orthoimagery expert Russ Cowart of I-cubed lead the workshop and attendees will be able to review a draft of the whitepaper summarizing outcomes of the SDMI analysis of orthoimagery alternatives. Representatives from the major imaging vendors presented their solutions. Multiple case examples of orthoimagery used in Alaska were presented. Finally, an open discussion forum will review the pros and cons of the options.

The workshop agenda is available here.

Some vendors and users have asked what the areas of interest are in the state, for reference we put up a page just for the SDMI AOI map.

Imagery Workshop Presentations

a single zip file for all presentations will be offered after workshop is complete


February 18th, 2009

The SDMI Imagery Area of Interest (AOI) Map illustrates high demand areas that Alaska users have expressed interest in. This is based on the SDMI User Survey conducted in February--April, 2008, in which users were asked in the survey to rate their top areas of interest for imagery acquisition. Additionally, users were asked to provide an AOI shape file. The AOI map was developed by overlaying the 49 AOI shape files we received to produce a composite weighted result by location. The priority areas shown on this map are based on the weighted sum analysis. A shape file is available below (see link) for these priority areas.

Current SDMI AOI Map

WMS / WFS Training

July 10th, 2008

Links to WMS/WFS Documentation and Training Materials

Download SDMI WMS ArcGIS layer files (*,lyr)

Please email your questions and comments to [email protected] Thanks!

update: WMS available in Google Earth

A two page paper summarizing SDMI goals and status as of February 2008 is now avaialble.

From the briefing:


Government, military, and commercial operations need accurate digital base maps to meet their missions. Alaska’s Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative (SDMI) is an interagency program to produce high-resolution, digital base maps of the entire state. Existing topographic maps of Alaska are more than 40 years old, and inaccuracies of up to a quarter-mile exist in places. Alaska is the only state in the nation without current digital imagery and elevation maps at nationally accepted standards.

Read more... SDMI Briefing Paper: February 25, 2008

Also, SDMI will have a booth at the 42nd annual Alaska Surveying & Mapping conference this week from Tuesday afternoon until Thursday evening. There will also be a Friday morning technical session about SDMI.

SDMI Briefing Paper

August 2nd, 2007

A one page briefing paper summarizing SDMI goals and status as of July 2007 is now available.

From the briefing:

Alaska’s Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative is an interagency effort to produce high-resolution, digital base maps of the entire state. Existing topographic maps of Alaska are more than 40 years old, and it’s common to find inaccuracies of up to a quarter-mile. Government and military operations and, just as importantly, private entities, need accurate digital base maps to succeed in computerized data environments. This initiative is timely because Alaska is the only state without digital imagery and elevation maps at nationally accepted standards.

Read more... SDMI Briefing Paper: July 13, 2007 (36 kB)

Much of Alaska was photographed from high-altitude U-2 and ER-2 aircraft between 1978 and 1986 under a multi-agency, State and Federal partnership: The Alaska High-Altitude Photography Program (AHAP). The SDMI has secured copies of two program documents, has scanned them, and is making them available for download.

From the AHAP Program booklet executive summary:

Until 1978, State and Federal land resource management originations had been restricted in their oversight responsibilities by the lack of a uniform mapping database. Few maps had been made and those maps dated back to the Second World War. By the early 1970’s existing geographic information and aerial photographs were so outdated and inconsistent that they were unusable for current mapping.

In 1978, State and Federal agencies formed the Alaska High-Altitude Aerial Photography (AHAP) Program to develop a uniform aerial mapping photographic database. Funding was shared between the State of Alaska and the Federal government. Since the initiation of the program, approximately 90 percent of Alaska has been photographed.

The finished product of the AHAP Program is a set of unified and coordinated aerial photographs. Some of the uses of the AHAP photographs are the identification of diseased tree stands, monitoring shoreline changes, charting vegetation regrowth after a fire, delineating transportation corridors, making land conveyance determinations for bodies of water, and accelerating conveyance of land to the State and Native corporations.

Source: The Alaska High-Altitude Photography (AHAP) Program: A State/Federal Cooperative Program (6.4MB PDF), Paul D Brooks, 1988.

There is also a technical report that maps acquisitions:

SUMMARY OF ACQUISITION, 1978 - 1986: This summary is a graphical representation of high altitude photographic coverage of the State of Alaska flown in support of the consortium of Federal/State agencies. This series of twenty overlays are 1:2.5 million Transverse Mercator projection plots of center points of 1:60,000 color infrared photography with 10 percent cloud cover or less. The overlays are scaled to fit the US Geological Survey Topographical Map Index. In addition to the depiction of center points, each overlay lists the appropriate flight numbers associated with the coverage as a guide to more rapid access and retrieval.

from: Alaska High Altitude Photography Program: 1978 - 1986, Summary of Acquisition (5.6MB PDF), Airborne Instrumentation Research Project Applications Research Report, NASA Ames Research Center, 1988.

Alaska Statewide Digital Mapping Initiative Strategic Plan (920 kB) March 9, 2007