Planning & Economic Development

FAQs

What is GIS?         
        GIS is an acronym for Geographic Information System.  Broken into pieces, a GIS is a system of storing, managing, and analyzing information that can be referenced geographically (on a map).

How is GIS different from mapping?         
       
A map by itself is essentially just a picture drawn either by hand, or by a computer. A GIS on the other hand is a 'smart' map.  In a GIS, each feature has information attached to it.
       For example, on a map you may see the outline of a parcel; in a GIS you can see that same parcel and retrieve information about that parcel such as the owner's name, size of the parcel, zoning, land use, date of annexation, current permits, etc...

What kinds of information are stored in the City's GIS?
      
The City's GIS stores and organizes all sorts of information.  Some examples include transportation information, parcel ownership and lot locations, sanitary and storm sewer pipe networks, topographic relief, hydrology, and imagery.

How can GIS benefit me?
      
It depends on what you want to know.  Here are some examples of questions that GIS can answer:
  • Who is my representation at the City level?
  • What is the safest route to school if I let my child walk?
  • Where does the water flowing through my ditch ultimately end up?
  • When is my garbage collected?
  • Why did the City cut down that tree?
  • How long will it take me from point A to point B?
  • Does the park across town have a picnic table if I take my family there?

        The City's GIS can answer all these realistic questions and countless more.

What is the best way to get started using GIS?
      
The easiest way to get started using the City's GIS is to access the City Interactive Map Viewer.  This map is a portal to the content of the GIS.