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Two key components of digital imagery are resolution and file format. With several delivery options available, it is important to understand each term and how they relate to your project.
The term resolution refers to the quality of the imagery and how far you are able to zoom in before losing quality. As the resolution improves, the file sizes get larger and the image is more detailed and crisp. A more technical definition is that resolution refers to the size of each pixel. For example, on a 1-foot resolution image every pixel represents 1 square foot on the ground.
30cm Resolution (also referred to as 1-foot)
60cm Resolution (also referred to as 2-foot)
The term file format simply refers to the file extension and is usually dictated by the software being used to view or edit the imagery. It is critically important to understand the different options to ensure compatibility with the imagery being delivered. If you require a format not listed below or would like to have your existing imagery converted to a different format, please contact us for a custom quote.
Tagged Image File Format – These are also referred to a TIF/TFW or geoTIFF files and are the highest quality images because they are uncompressed. That also means they are the largest in terms of file size, so depending on the area of interest and the intended use, it is often necessary to purchase compressed format instead. The TIFF files are frequently used for individual sites/intersections or files that are going to be enlarged and printed.
The Joint Photographic Experts Group created this standard compressed image storage format. It has similar uses to a TIFF file, but it is more commonly used because of the reduced file size. For most customers, especially those needing a larger coverage area or just displaying the image digitally, a JPEG is the most popular option and the quality difference due to the compression is negligible.
Enhanced Compression Wavelet – This is our standard delivery format for entire metropolitan areas and other large coverage areas. The ECW image format is optimized for aerial and satellite imagery and is compatible with most GIS mapping applications. It compresses the much larger image files which makes them redraw faster while retaining visual quality. We’ve found that ECW files are the most widely accepted and practical solution for our customers using mapping software.