U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Digital Ark, Corp. (TDAC) partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to digitize 214,000 35 mm slides. The slides, aerial views of the Iowa landscape, comprised all 99 counties in the state--from Allamakee to Pottawattamie--and spanned from 1979 to 2003. TDAC's expertise in large-scale, rapid image capture strategies was instrumental in the success of this project, as were optimized workflow design and customized database development. TDAC’s custom, homegrown digitization system, RICE (short for Rapid Image Capture Engine), managed the entire workflow from start to finish, from the initial cataloging of each slide to digital image capture to facilitating quality control of derivative files. Equipment comprised a Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera, capable of capturing up to 20.2 megapixels, and SlideSnap Pro, which allowed for rapid, batch digitization of 30 slides per minute. Deliverables were high-resolution, archival-quality TIFF images, compliant with NRCS's technical specifications and FADGI standards. Currently available only for in-house use, NRCS eventually plans to mosaic the images and include them in a geographic information system (GIS) web service environment.