Wednesday, November 16, 2011

City Expands Use and Reach of GIS Information

~New web site shares more GIS maps to user browsers and on mobile devices~

The city of Richmond has launched an updated web site for the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) program. GIS is used to manage and analyze the geospatial information that applies to government operations and many aspects of decision making in government, business, and the community. The new web site was recently show-cased as part of an Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) seminar for GIS professionals here in Richmond at the Omni Hotel. ESRI is the world-leading GIS software vendor, whose software the city has based its GIS on.

The new site features: (1) improved presentation and organization of GIS content, (2) new GIS content, (3) a new approach to sharing GIS maps which includes mobile support, and (4) new support for maps published in collaboration with the community. The updated web site increases the amount of GIS information available to residents and the business community by publishing a multitude of interactive GIS maps. The online, interactive maps are categorized under topics such as Community & Economic Development, Transportation & Engineering, and Real Estate & Assessment, to name just a few. The city expects to author more maps, content, and categories of information over time.

GIS Real Estate-based mapping applications that were previously available on the city’s web site are still in place and remain among the most popular stops for visitors to www.Richmondgov.com. Unlike many localities, the city continues to make most common GIS data available free of charge to the community via FTP download. This service is still available and is now referenced through the new Gallery section. “The city recognizes that GIS information is used to promote and advance the city, so our new site strives to make it more accessible and to make it increasingly available,” said GIS Coordinator Steve Waldron with the city’s Department of Information Technology.

The Gallery provides the essential portal into Richmond maps and information. It provides interactive maps that can be accessed on the web or even from mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. The site now supports most major mobile platforms including iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Android.

While the Gallery organizes the addition of more interactive GIS maps, the Submit Your App section invites techies and users from outside of the organization to share their own GIS applications with the city. These applications may also be considered for posting in the city’s Gallery. Essentially, GIS users throughout the Richmond region will be able to create and share their own spatial information with other residents through the site.

Visit Richmond’s new GIS site here.