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High-Def Aerial Maps Drive Precision at U.S. Open

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xyHt Magazine highlights USGA's reliance on Nearmap's HD aerial imagery for planning its flagship tourney – the 2018 U.S. Open Championship

Each year hundreds of thousands of spectators and golf-enthusiasts gather to watch the country's finest golf professionals compete on lush green, immaculately groomed venues for the U.S. Open Championship. It is arguably one of the most real sensory experiences sports has to offer—stunning vistas, the fresh smell of earth and grass, anticipation, silence and loud bursts of celebration and defeat combined into one. The USGA knows how to do entertainment. But few realize the intense amount of planning and logistical support required to pull off an event of this scale. Even more interesting is the fact that technology—including the use of HD aerial maps—plays a critical role.

Basically, we need to construct a small city—every year and in a different location,” said Timothy Lloyd, senior manager of U.S. Open operations at the United States Golf Association (USGA).

High-resolution view of the Shinnecock Hills Clubhouse in Nearmap Panorama - April 20, 2018birds-eye-view-shinnecock-hills-us-open-2018

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In order to accomplish this as efficiently as possible, Lloyd’s team uses a combination of high-resolution aerial imagery from Nearmap, along with other GIS and mapping technologies. Nearmap is unique among imagery providers because it captures 430 urbanized areas in the US multiple times per year with resolution that's typically several times sharper than the latest satellite images. Its imagery is instantly accessible in the cloud and is ready-made for integration into GIS, CAD, and other third-party planning applications.

In past designs, we mostly only had old aerials available, like state flights,” said Lloyd. “We would have to go out and see what changes had taken place on the site, make notes, and mark those in [the GIS] maps. The Open was at Shinnecock in 2004, but we could not use old maps; there have been changes since then: features of some fairways, rough lines, and facilities like new tee boxes...with [Nearmap's] updated images we can more accurately plan those viewing spaces and ensure the best vantage points possible.

HD aerial map of the Shinnecock Hills Golf Course in Nearmap Vertical - Oct. 31, 2017

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