Kaua’I County officials in Hawaii hope to have portions of their GIS which links island photos and maps to hundreds of databases available to the public as early as December this year. The system, commonly called GIS, uses multiple overlays that allow people unprecedented access to information, linking data sources in ways never before possible. Simply by clicking on a computer, it is possible to view aerial photographs, and overlay digital maps onto them, property maps, hurricane inundation and flood zones, zoning information, building permit status, accessibility to emergency vehicles, and much more. Census data and housing information can be linked, for instance, to identify areas where more affordable housing projects are needed. Fire department calls and roadmaps can be connected to identify the best places to put new fire stations. Police, fire, ambulance and others can also use the system to show them quickest routes to emergency locations.
GIS system has cost the county $623,000 to date, of which $96,000 was county money and the rest federal funds. Some of the information will remain in government control for public safety and security reasons, but some GIS data would be available via the Internet as early as December. Initially, only limited information would be available this way, but the amount of data accessible to the public would build over time.