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When Should You Choose Higher Resolution?

When it comes to imagery, follow the old saying, “the right tool for the right job.” There is no need to pay for something you don’t need. In many rural areas, 12″ GSD imagery is perfectly satisfactory for seeing buildings and other larger features.

Increased resolution is necessary as you try to identify smaller features. Public works and utility staff will have difficulty identifying some features using 6″ GSD imagery. And if you cannot see something in the imagery, you will have to make a trip to the site — and you can be more efficient achieving more tasks in the office before needing to head to the field.

For suggestions about what resolution fits your needs, download “What Ortho Resolution Is Right for Me.”


  • 12 inch GSD aerial imagery
  • 9 inch GSD aerial imagery
  • 6 inch GSD aerial imagery
  • 3 inch GSD aerial imagery

Compare For Yourself

Click the button to view the varied resolutions.

Identifiable Features and Given Resolutions

Being able to see features on the ground from your office enables you to view a lot more locations in a day than visiting the sites. The higher the resolution of your imagery, the more features you can see:

9” and 12” GSD (200 Scale Mapping)
Primary Roads Unpaved Roads Trails Railroads- single line
Buildings Foundations/Ruins Concrete Pads Under Construction Zones
Airports Utility Substations Parking   Lots Bridges/Abutments
Culverts (large) Concrete Dams Athletic Fields Tennis Courts
Golf Course Cemetery Pipelines Large Signs / Billboards
Antenna Transmission Towers Water Tanks Walls-free / retaining / high
Treelines Brushline Major Fencelines Swamps
Lakes/Ponds Rivers/streams Single Trees (35’ crown)  
6” GSD (100 Scale Mapping)
All the preceding features plus the following:
Alleys Driveways Shoulders Public Sidewalks
Guardrails Culverts (small) Catch basins In ground pools
Light Poles Utility Poles Traffic Light Utility Pole w/light
Traffic light Manholes Single trees (25’ crown) Residential Fencelines
3” GSD (50 Scale Mapping)
All the preceding features plus the following:
Curbs Post Small Signs Railroads-double
Fire Hydrants Bushes Single Tree (>10’ crown)  


The images below are shown at their optimum raster viewing scale for each resolution (3″, 6″, 9″ and 12″ GSD), what we call 1:1 (one to one).  1:1 means that one pixel on the raster equals one pixel on your screen. To learn more, click here.