GIS earns spot on the government map
State and county agencies are increasingly turning to geographic information
systems (GIS) to help people interact with government and get the most out
of public services.
Jill Gorski, a program manager and consultant with Environmental Systems
Research Institute Inc. (ESRI), an international company that specializes
in GIS software and services, said mapping is really beginning to take off
with government agencies, especially as GIS technologies improve and products
are developed for use via the Internet.
"Most of them are just now beginning to get really interested in their
Web sites and trying to make them more interesting, more interactive and
more useful to citizens," she said. "GIS mapping is a great way to do that."
Here are just some of the innovative GIS applications agencies recently
* Sarasota, Fla., uses a collaborative intranet application integrated
with a GIS database to help building inspectors show geographically related
incidents — such as noncompliance — on a city map.
* The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control,
Division of Biostatistics, is using spatial GIS solutions to manage and
aggregate vital health records while preserving their confidentiality. Among
the system's possibilities: End users can ask for the number of births to
27-year-old mothers in 1966 and get the answer in a customized, color-coded
* The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection worked with
ESRI to develop the Penn-sylvania Facilities Analysis System, a Web application
that integrates permit information with various statewide data layers on
a single map that the user controls.
* The Los Angeles Zone Map Automation system, a Web-based GIS-enabled
data access and display application, enables users to find a property and
view the applicable zoning information on a map. Users can search by property
address, nearest intersection, legal description, community map and map