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Regional study to help agencies share GIS mapping resources

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Thanks to a $70,000 grant from the state Local Government Efficiency Program, the Development Authority of the North Country will hire a consultant to complete a regional feasibility study to find ways for municipalities and agencies to share GIS, or geographic information system, mapping resources.

Participants in the study, to be completed in the summer, are DANC, Jefferson County, Lewis County, the city of Watertown and the Tug Hill Commission. The authority funded the study on behalf of the entities with a $10,000 matching amount.

The study will examine ways that participating agencies can share digital mapping resources used to monitor water and sewer districts and complete field studies. Carrie M. Tuttle, DANC’s director of engineering, said the agencies will find ways to share equipment and resources to do business more efficiently.

“All of these agencies have invested quite a bit in GIS technology, and some have been using it more than 20 years,” she said. “Technology is changing, and applications are becoming more mobile as agencies use them more than hard copy. The study will look at the resources each agency has and find ways we can collaborate.”

Orthophoto maps that provide detailed aerial views, for example, are created differently by agencies, and that process could be streamlined and made more consistent. When the improvements are made, GIS analysts who work for the agencies should be able to do their work more efficiently.

“There may be much easier ways for us to share information,” Mrs. Tuttle said, “and each system will be analyzed for that.”

DANC will send out requests for proposals for the project in March and award the project to a consultant this summer. The study is expected to be completed in the fall.

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