David Brotzman, Executive Director, VCGI
With the recent signing of the Miscellaneous Tax Bill (H. 782) the Governor created Act 143 of the 2013 Vermont Legislative Session. Act 143 has numerous changes relating to the Tax Dept. that are not my focus here. However, Act 143 does contain changes to the existing statutory language supporting the Vermont Orthophoto Program (see Sec. 34. 32 V.S.A. § 3409).
The first change eliminates the existing state ownership of copyright for the orthophotos produced under the ortho program. It also eliminates the potential $1000 penalty for unauthorized copying, duplication, or sale of the orthophotos.
The second change provides legal transfer of the hardcopy orthophoto originals to the State Archives. This will make the hardcopy orthos more accessible and provide professional maintenance of the materials. State Archive and Tax Dept. employees are working now to affect the legal transfer of the hardcopy tax maps. The materials are currently and will continue to be available for research at the Archive building in Middlesex. The Reference Room is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. The public can reproduce sections of the orthophotos using a digital camera, but they cannot reproduce entire orthos at this point.
A final change to the language updated much of the terminology in the statute from “maps” to “imagery” thereby more accurately reflecting the product (orthoimagery) that is currently being created by the state for the towns. The language in this section is still not perfect, but the terminology is updated and it does a much better job of describing the product as it has evolved over time to best serve the needs of the community.
VCGI will be updating the metadata for future ortho releases to reflect these changes. We also ask those that are using the orthophotos in products, websites and academic work to please cite the State of Vermont as the provider of the state orthophotography. Continued recognition of the orthophpto program is important to sustaining legislative funding for their acquisition.
We believe these changes will improve the safety and availability of the hardcopy imagery and eliminate any barriers to the use and distribution of both digital and hardcopy orthophotography by the towns or the public.