Mapping Software and City Government

By Deane Barker on February 8, 2004

Mapping Software Jolts City Governments: Neat article on the use of mapping software and GIS in city governments.

Specialized mapping software helped New York plot the addresses of people who had called to complain about having lost their heat during a recent cold snap. That helped determine precisely where the city should set up “heating centers” for New Yorkers to huddle in.

I visited the GIS department of little ‘ol Sioux Falls, South Dakota last week, and I was very impressed at what even our little town (120,000 people) has for mapping.

I sat in the zoning department and brought up a aerial image of the city, zoomed in on a half-mile square area, and could turn off on and on layers like the satellite image, zoning, water and sewer lines, building outlines, plat lines, etc. It was eerily like a real-world version of SimCity.

They sold the whole bundle of images and layers for about $6,000 for the entire city. It amounted to hundreds of gigabytes of data, for a just nine-square mile metro area.