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James W. Sewall


Sewall mobilizes within hours to map Maine flood

(Old Town, Maine--22 May 2008)  In a rapid-response mobilization, James W. Sewall Company captured color aerial photography and created digital orthophotography of the recent record-breaking flood in the Town of Fort Kent, Maine.

Heavy rain and melting snow during the last week of April caused unprecedented flooding throughout Northern Maine, particularly at the confluence of the St. John and Fish rivers in Fort Kent. On Thursday May 1, the St. John crested nearly 6 feet over flood stage, forcing homes and businesses to evacuate and displacing hundreds of residents. Responding to a call from Global Relief Technologies, the Portsmouth, NH-based information technology firm, Sewall mobilized an aircraft to Fort Kent within hours Friday morning. Utilizing airborne GPS and inertial measurement technologies, Sewall flew the river, acquiring photography at the scale of 2000 feet to the inch (1” = 2000’). To document the damage more fully, the company also flew Main Street at lower altitude and higher scale (1” = 1000’). From the photography, Sewall created digital orthophotography (at 0.5-meter and 1-foot respectively) and a digital orthomosaic, which are now being used to assess the extent of the damage to roads, buildings, and public infrastructure in the Town.

This project is representative of Sewall’s history of documenting natural disasters, including ice storm, hurricane, and oil spill damage in Maine and in the Maritimes. Sewall aerial photography, orthophotography and mapping are also used to prepare for emergencies and to assess recovery years after an event.

Dedicated to saving lives and alleviating human suffering, Global Relief Technologies, Inc. (GRT), was founded in 2003 to help organizations in remote, disconnected or extreme environments report critical information in real time. The company assists emergency responders, the humanitarian and reconstruction communities, and global organizations to collect critical data via secure, integrated solutions that provide for a more effective evaluation of, and response to, crisis situations. For more information, visit

Founded in 1880, Sewall provides integrated engineering, forestry, and GIS consulting solutions to government and industry. Sewall’s capabilities in GIS project implementation, strategic planning, and application development are supported by 60 years’ experience in aerial mapping and a legacy in accurate geospatial data. To reduce technology costs, Sewall offers clients web hosting services, on-line data maintenance, and a secure geoportal for the collection, distribution, and resale of geospatial data. For more information, contact: Lisa Schoonmaker, Communications Director, at


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