LS County Board OKs contract with AeroLogix

The Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday, Sept. 3, and approved the hiring of three staff members and a contract to provide aerial survey and Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) imagery for the county.

            Human Resources Director Cindy Westerhouse recommended the hiring of Jeff Mack as a full time agency social worker (children mental health) in human services; Jack Dietz as a part time deputy in the sheriff’s office (to help eliminate overtime); and Maria Hoffman as a full time support enforcement aide in human services (filling a vacant position).

            Tim Briggs, president of AeroLogix Consulting Inc., appeared at the meeting Tuesday, seeking approval of a proposed contract.

            The contract establishes Le Sueur County as the exclusive user of the first AeroLogix GIS production system. The system will utilize an advanced Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to conduct aerial surveys over land parcels, ditching systems, mining operations and other land features of the county. Previously, Le Sueur and most other counties in Minnesota relied on costly aerial survey providers using conventional aircraft. The AeroLogix system is intended to provide the county with a cost-effective source of advanced imagery and terrain models.

            Under the contract, the county and AeroLogix will coordinate the necessary authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for UAV operations.

            Upon approval of the FAA, the company and County GIS Coordinator Justin Lutterman will work together to conduct a small number of test collections to evaluate and refine the system. The testing will be provided free of charge to the county. Subsequent aerial surveys under the contract could then be conducted through June 2014 at the discretion of the county.

            “The joint development of the system is unique in Minnesota, and we welcome the opportunity to develop this project with Le Sueur County,” commented Briggs. “We understand the public’s concerns with regard to UAV operations related to privacy and government surveillance, but our system is not capable of tracking, identifying or monitoring individuals or vehicles. It is designed to produce aerial maps and 3-D terrain models.”

            “This system of advanced imagery would be most useful in the mining areas of the county, plus other applications,” added County Administrator/Engineer Darrell Pettis.