Tech Staff Maps Out GIS Progress

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Tech Staff Maps Out GIS Progress

Prince Frederick, MD - 12/19/2012

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By Marty Madden

An investment made a decade ago has apparently paid off, putting Calvert County Government ahead of many other jurisdictions in terms of technology. During their Tuesday, Dec. 18 meeting the Calvert County Commissioners received a presentation from the county government’s Office of Technology Services on the Geographic Information System (GIS).

“It’s the worst-kept secret in Calvert County,” said Technology Services Director Joe Klausner, who told the board he and members of his staff wanted to wait until the new county government web site was launched before making a presentation on the GIS.

“This is one of the most advanced systems in the state,” GIS Coordinator Kathleen O’Brien. “It’s become a tool people use daily.” In a memo to the commissioners, O’Brien explained the county government began its GIS investment in 2002 with the objective of supporting all of its departments.

Since that time the Office of Technology Services “has implemented a robust program that provides mapping and analytical services to all departments and offers citizens access to a wide variety of geographic data and information.”

One of the most beneficial aspects of the advanced GIS is its use as a tool implemented by first responders in search of the location of an emergency.

O’Brien pointed out the public can access information about properties through the interactive maps, which include topography and property, resident guide, Critical Area, Floodplain, census, election districts and precincts, and major projects.

Eric Benson of the Office of Technology Services reported that mobile maps for iPhones and iPads are available. The web site also provides access to historic maps. Benson credited Kirsti Uunila, the Department of Community Planning and Building’s historic preservation planner, for providing the data used in developing the maps. “These are great for historic research or just for fun,” said Benson.

O’Brien pointed out the historic maps have received praise from a lot of users including a former National Geographic photographer. She added that more online and mobile maps would be added to the GIS and the data used for mapping is in a state of constant change.

Commissioner Susan Shaw [R] pointed out that the decision to invest in GIS was made by the board that served prior to her election in 2002. She recalled “hoping and dreaming” the investment would pan out. “It’s an amazing tool,” said Shaw.

To view the GIS maps, visit the Calvert County web site at www.co.cal.md.us, click on “Living Here” and scroll down to “County Maps.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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