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County adding GIS, GPS programs

There will be a time when county residents, while going online, will gain abundant information about their property at the touch of their fingertips. With a password or two, the views on their monitor can find the locations of parcel lines, drainage districts, or see what soil readings exist on their farm.

It’s all part of the Geographical Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) programs being introduced throughout Boone County. Earlier in June, the Boone County Board of Supervisors approved a request to place all GIS information on the Internet. The cost to enter the GIS information online, on a one-year contract, is $600 per month, according to Luke Nelson, Boone County Planning and Development director.

Putting the GIS information on the Internet will eventually be a time- and cost-saver for residents of the county, and also for those working in the county offices. Eventually, county residents can call up the GIS information on their own computers if they need specific information about their own property, a convenience that will same them travel time from getting the same information from the courthouse offices, also sometimes pressed for time in accomplishing other required duties.

County officials have already put both systems to good use.

The Boone County Planning and Development Department has been working with the GPS program, allowing the county engineer staff to track the road and bridge conditions throughout the county. Nelson said GIS would allow him to track, for example, septic systems throughout the county. The information gained can also be an indication that the flow from the septic systems, or county hog confinement waste system, could be heading for streams or more key waterways.
Cities within the county would also benefit from the GPS and GIS tracking services. County offices are learning how to enter the information online.

He said some counties use GPS tracking on their snowploughs, which shows every time the blade goes up or down and shows where the roads have been cleared.

At present, the online site is password-protected for courthouse employees only. It will be announced when access to the site formally goes online to the public.