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American count?s access to data simplified

Parents now can find locations of schools and health clinics, as well as census information about their neighborhoods, at a single spot on the Internet. The system will recently be demonstrated as part of the fourth-annual Connecting Stanislaus (county) technology fair at Modesto Centre Plaza. More uses for the GIS will be revealed during the fair, said officials.

“Now if someone comes to me and says they live in the Burbank School area and they need care for a special-needs child, boom, I can find it online,” said Debbie Parr Noblitt, project manager for the Stanislaus County Cares Project.

The GIS system can be found at . The map centers on Modesto, but any area of the county can be selected. Information can be layered on the map, said John Sims, executive director of the Children and Families Commission, the group behind the Web site.

“Users can look up addresses and then combine it with area income, ethnicity and schools to get a better idea of the relationships going on there,” Sims said. “We think this will be a great resource for grant writers.”

County officials also said they will launch a land inventory database using the GIS. It will allow people to see the zoning that property has as well as sites available for development. The database is sponsored by the county, its nine cities and the Stanislaus Council of Governments, said Keith Boggs, technology consultant for the county and one of the officials involved in Connecting Stanislaus. Future uses of the GIS include adding data so that residents can see crimes reported in their neighborhoods. Virtual tours of industrial parks also will be available on the GIS.