USA – Everywhere you look, whether it’s watching the weather on television, checking out traffic on the roads or understanding the latest political updates throughout the U.S., geographic information systems (GIS) have become a common fixture in today’s world of technology.
The Will County’ GIS department is also on the cutting edge of technology by providing county residents and businesses information through a computer application that captures, stores, updates, analyzes and displays data that can be referenced to a geographic location. And it has taken it one step further by revamping its Web site.
“Our new geographic information systems Web site offers the public, as well as county staff, an enhanced service that provides easy access and interactive tools to obtain pertinent data,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh. “It offers a wealth of information including maps, data and online applications.”
Tong Zhou, director of the GIS department, and Rebecca Colwell, GIS support specialist, began the Web site project about a year ago.
“I especially like the map gallery. It’s a good interactive tool,” said Zhou, adding that the old map gallery was static, offering “nothing but a long list of maps. Now it is more dynamic and definitely more user-friendly.”
All types of maps are available on the site, free of charge to the user. There are Atlas Maps that include Will County’s municipal limits, highways, county board districts, congressional districts, townships and Illinois House and Senate districts.
Custom maps of a specific region or data layer are also prepared by the department when requested. When ordering custom maps, a cost estimate and date of completion are discussed prior to processing the order.
The fee is based on an hourly rate plus media costs.
Zhou also said that the new Web site offers an easier process for ordering maps.
The county’s GIS department was created in 1999 and reorganized in 2002.
Today, it handles all data distribution, data analysis, software maintenance and installation, map requests — and is the first line of technical support for departments and the general public utilizing GIS technology.
The Web site is at www.willcountyillinois.com.
There, go to Department Directory and click on GIS Department.