Enterprise GIS
Enterprise GIS Research and Development Administration

Connecting to Pictometry (oblique) imagery of the VT campus

Pictometry imagery of the Virginia Tech campus is served from https://birdseye.gis.vt.edu. This server supports multiple modes of access to the data, described below.

Method 1: Using the web viewer (easiest way to quickly view Pictometry images, recommended approach for first time users).

birdseye.gis.vt.edu hosts an instance of Pictometry Analytics Server Edition (PASE), a web-based viewer that enables you to browse both orthogonal and oblique aerial imagery of the VT campus. If all you need to do is view the imagery or take measurements (i.e., no need to overlay your own data on to it or make print maps) this is the way to go.

  1. Contact Jason Shelton for the creation of an account inside our PASE organization.
  2. Point your web browser to https://birdseye.gis.vt.edu/efs/ and then click "Analytics Online"
  3. You will then be presented with an interactive map.
    1. Map controls for panning and zooming are located in the toolbar at the top of the screen, similar to other Interactive web maps you may have encountered previously.
    2. To turn on vector layers from Virginia Tech Facilities Services GIS, check the appropriate boxes next to each entry under "Workspace" in the left hand pane.
    3. To measure horizontal distances, vertical distances, areas, etc. click the appropriate tool from the group located next to the navigation tools in the top toolbar.
    4. For full documentation of the PASE web interface, refer to the online Help system accessed via the button at the top right of your screen.

Method 2: Accessing the ArcGIS Server Map Service (2D/nadir/orthogonal image only)

This method will allow you to view the 3-inch Pictometry 2D imagery as a basemap in ArcMap. If you need to make your own maps and want to overlay your own data onto the Pictometry imagery, this is the approach to take. The obliques are accessed through an alternate method.
  1. Open ArcCatalog standalone or the embedded ArcCatalog application in ArcMap.
  2. In the catalog tree, expand "GIS Servers" and double-click "Add ArcGIS Server."
  3. In the first screen, check the radio button for "Use ArcGIS Services" and click "Next."
  4. In the second screen,
    1. for "server URL" enter https://birdseye.gis.vt.edu/arcgis/
    2. leave the authentication fields (username and password) blank.
    3. Click Finish.
  5. You should now have in your catalog tree an entry under "GIS Servers" entitled "arcgis on birdseye.gis.vt.edu (user)". This is a one time operation.
  6. To use the service in the future
    1. Double click on the entry under "GIS Servers" entitled "arcgis on birdseye.gis.vt.edu (user)".
    2. Expand the [+] next to the connection name to see the services there.
    3. The map services intended to be used for a basemap are
      1. "pictometry2013" (2013 flyover)
      2. “pictometry2015” (2015 flyover - coming soon)
    4. Simply drag this service into your MXD's table of contents to use it as an imagery basemap.

Method 3: Using the Pictometry NAS share to view oblique imagery in ArcGIS Desktop

This method is for power users who need to overlay their own data in ArcMap onto the oblique images themeselves (not just the 2D orthogonal basemap image).

  1. Contact egis-admin@listserv.vt.edu to obtain access to the Pictometry network share.
  2. Map \\birdseye.gis.vt.edu\pictometry. You should see imagery delivery products grouped by year.
  3. Click the "Software" shortcut (which should always point to the most recent Pictometry Software), then select "ArcGIS Extensions", or navigate directly to \\birdseye.gis.vt.edu\pictometry\2015\Software\ArcGIS Extensions.
  4. Choose the version of the software appropriate for your version of ArcGIS (or the newest version, if there is no corresponding release), and copy it to your machine.
  5. Unzip the .zip file containing the extension installer.
  6. Follow the instructions in the PDF that accompanies the .zip file for installing the Pictometry extension in ArcGIS Desktop.
  7. Once the extension is installed, it must be set up (page 4 of the installation guide). You will need to enter the following at the appropriate prompts:
    1. License File:
      1. \\birdseye.gis.vt.edu\pictometry\2013\VATECH12-LIB\Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University-Jason Shelton-Client License.plf  (for 2013)
      2. \\birdseye.gis.vt.edu\pictometry\2015\Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University-Jason Shelton-Client License.plf (for 2015)
    2. Local Warehouse:
      1. \\birdseye.gis.vt.edu\pictometry\2013\VATECH12-LIB\VATECH12-LIB\VATECH12-WHS\VATECH12-WHS.PIW (for 2013)
      2. \\birdseye.gis.vt.edu\pictometry\2015\VATECH15-LIB\VATECH15-WHS\VATECH15-WHS.PIW (for 2015)
  8. Once the extension is set up (a one time operation) it is ready for use. To use it, load some 2D data into an MXD, then enable the Pictometry toolbar. Switch to the Pictometry tool and click anywhere in the 2D map to bring up a split screen view of the same point (with 2D vector layers projected) in oblique space. The two views will stay in sync until the Pictometry window is closed.