We rely on information in our fields of study, work, hobbies, and entertainment. The industry of data collection, storage, organization, and distribution of information is often invisible yet it offers individuals, organizations, and communities access to an ever-increasing demand for information.
GIS or Geographic Information Systems focuses on the collection, maintenance and dissemination of spatial data. Spatial data can be found in Demographics, Natural Resources, State and Local Government, Business, Health Care, Emergency Management, Crime mapping and much more. Using raw data and technology GIS professionals provide an understanding of past and current patterns so organizations can make important decisions. Geographic Information Systems are found in companies such as Uber, Walgreens, Starbucks, World Health Organization, Wendy’s, National Park Service, Google Maps, Amazon, insurance companies, government entities, and many other organizations. Likewise, the City of Rexburg and Madison County rely heavily on a combined GIS department.
Our GIS department exists to provide information for our city and county government. Using data provided by the county Assessor and Treasurer, GIS disseminates parcel information used by many. Planning & Zoning Departments rely on updated land use and zoning maps, addresses, and current land ownership. Among other services, GIS provides Public Works (water, sewer, streets) with vital information about the location of sewer/water lines, the ages, sizes, conditions and even the elevations of such lines. Similarly, Recreation, Arts & Parks Departments might require event maps and asset management information. Our police, ambulance and fire departments also utilize GIS information for the dispatch of emergency services. Finally, among the many other unmentioned services rendered, the GIS department provides voter precinct maps, and web applications that include ballot information and polling place locations.
City of Rexburg and Madison County geographic information is available to citizen’s right here in Madison County and throughout the State of Idaho by visiting https://madison.rexburg.org. This App provides the public with addresses, streets, zoning, parcel information and aerial imagery for their current home or even a future home purchase. Interested in knowing information about the next election? Visit https://www.co.madison.id.us/departments/elections for a map of where to vote (precinct map), the current ballot (information you need to know), and election results.
In sum, our GIS department (Bonnie Moore, Chad Hinckley, Cole Hibbard, Greg Schneider, and Faron Young) literally helps every department in our city and county understand what has happened, what is currently happening, and what could happen in our geographic space. With GIS we save money, are more efficient, and gain wisdom from the information they provide, which ultimately benefits every citizen. As Bonnie explains, “Once the information is provided, it is then always expected.” Our local GIS department, though sometimes invisible, is exceptional at providing this service!
Tisha Flora is currently serving on the Rexburg City Council. If you have questions or comments about this article, she would love to hear from you. She can be reached by email at Tisha.Flora@rexburg.org