The two companies are working to develop a digital topographic base map of the Boston Common and Public Garden.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has hired the team of Judith Nitsch Engineering Inc., and James W. Sewall Company to develop a digital topographic base map of the Boston Common and Public Garden. This effort initiates a 10-year plan to upgrade drainage, irrigation and pathways in the centuries-old historic parks. The base map of the Common and the Garden, the first ever developed from aerial photography, will indicate contour elevations at one-foot intervals; surface features such as buildings, monuments, trees, and pathways; site furniture such as benches, light poles and trash cans; and infrastructure such as manholes, catch basins, and electrical, irrigation, sewer and water lines. With the data residing on the Department's CAD-based computer system, department officials will also be able to monitor park conditions for maintenance purposes and to add other relevant layers of information, such as historical data on park monuments.

Capturing a high level of detail, Sewall obtained low-altitude, 1"=300'-scale black-and-white aerial photography of the 75-acre area during December 2003. To control the accuracy of the mapping, Judith Nitsch Engineering provided survey coordinates of prominent park features that will be identifiable in the imagery during map compilation. Once the mapping is compiled, Judith Nitsch Engineering surveyors will field check the locations of features and label items and material types on the base plan. The mapping, developed at a large scale (1"=40'), will be delivered in digital AutoCAD format for integration in the department's GIS.

Judith Nitsch Engineering specializes in civil engineering, land surveying, traffic engineering, planning and GIS services. Founded in 1989 to meet the needs of New England's major private development and public infrastructure projects, the company has provided professional services to academia, developers, corporate and institutional owners, public agencies, architects and other design professionals.

Founded in 1880, Sewall has provided comprehensive GIS consulting services to government, utility companies and the forest industry since the 1970s. Sewall's expertise in GIS project implementation is supported by 50 years' experience in aerial photography and landbase mapping and 30 years' experience in data conversion and application development.

Source: James W. Sewall Co., Feb. 12, 2004