New Data! Statewide Building Footprints
Building Footprints are a valuable dataset for numerous industries and types of geospatial analyses. Recently, the Arkansas GIS Office needed building footprint data to perform analysis necessary for the FCC’s Broadband Serviceable Fabric Location challenge process, however, no single statewide authoritative building footprint dataset existed for Arkansas. Consequently, the office needed to assemble the data from available sources.
Fortunately, there are two organizations that have released their own Ortho Imagery derived building footprints for download and use by all. These datasets were published by Microsoft and FEMA and their respective partners. More information on the Microsoft Building Footprint Dataset is available at https://github.com/microsoft/USBuildingFootprints and the FEMA Building Footprints at https://gis-fema.hub.arcgis.com/pages/usa-structures
The Arkansas GIS Office took both datasets, extracted the footprints for the State of Arkansas, and through some analysis, identified Building Footprints in the FEMA dataset that were not present in the Microsoft dataset. We then appended the additional FEMA Building Footprints to the Microsoft footprints. If one were to view the data, the Microsoft Building Footprints better adhere to structure outlines, consequently, we supplemented Microsoft with FEMA. After doing this, we were able to use the data for our original purposes.
Now we want to give the geospatial community in Arkansas and beyond a similar opportunity to have access to a dataset that up to this point has not existed for the State. The data is not perfect. Some of the Microsoft Footprints in Release 1 were derived from Ortho Imagery as old as 2012, and there are Building Footprints for structures that no longer exist, as well as structures with no building footprint because the structure didn’t exist when the Ortho Imagery was collected.
These limitations prompt the need to poll our users and constituents to determine if any organization has Building Footprints for their jurisdiction that they would be willing to provide in order to improve this dataset. We understand some organizations monetize Building Footprints and we certainly don’t want to impede that, but if you have them and would like to make them available to the greater community via gis.arkansas.gov, please let us know.
Finally, we want to pass on our appreciation to Microsoft and FEMA in its support for providing this data for use.
For more information on how to download or view this data please see below.