Increasing Municipal Efficiency with GIS  

Increasing Municipal Efficiency with GIS

In Spring 2013, GBRC began a Geographic Information System (GIS) project that will unite disparate data within each town and city in our region.

A region-wide system insures data consistency and aids in planning and response efforts that cross municipal boundaries, such as emergency management efforts due to natural hazards like hurricanes and blizzards. In addition, there is a cost savings for each municipality by creating a region-wide GIS system, rather than implementing town by town.

Property Viewer project timeline

This project is focused on the quick deployment of town-based applications, called Property Viewers, that will enable municipalities to see a short term return on investment in the GIS system. GIS-based viewers are currently in the beta phase and are expected to launch in Spring 2014.

Each Property Viewer will provide across-the-board functionality like parcel owner and address searches against the property mapping as well as the ability to generate abutters lists and other useful reports to standard formats such as excel spreadsheets and formatted print label documents. The basic owner and address search functionality will be common to all future applications.

Screenshot of Stratford Property Viewer
Screenshot of Fairfield Property Viewer

In tandem with the development of Property Viewer applications, GBRC will be working to unite geographic, assessment and property, and economic data over the long term which will enable progressive features to be added to the system that will enable longer term planning in many areas such as economic development and natural hazard mitigation.

In addition to the Property Viewers, the following applications are currently being planned:

Brownfields Application:

The Brownfields application will provide professionals in the property development fields (commercial real estate, engineering, environmental, economic development, etc.) with essential tools and data to perform investigations within a single website that will lead to the revitalization of contaminated and underutilized properties. 

Current GIS property mapping will be linked to various pre-organized environmental reports, site plans, historic maps and various environmental, legal, and government documents to allow those professionals to expedite the environmental review process.  Historic property configurations, historic aerial photos, and other historic maps and plans that align with current mapping will all be integrated into the GIS system.  Combined with current demographic, economic and social information, the website will streamline the development decision making process by providing nearly one-stop information gathering and reporting capabilities.  

Community Rating System (CRS) + Hazard Mitigation:

GBRC will be gathering and presenting comprehensive flood hazard related information in a single web application. Current FEMA flood mapping, historic flooding locations, land elevation and other flood hazard map data will be overlaid with current mapping (property, aerials, and basemapping) to allow residents and community planners to see flood hazards at any property in the region. Property values (land and structure) will be combined with the property mapping to identify the value of property at risk accoring to FEMA's Community Rating System. This program will enable discounts on federal flood insurance for property owners.

Public Works:

Our public works applications are intended to assist town staff in locating municipal assets (town property, parks, buildings and infrastructure) and potential integration with municipal asset management software systems that allow the municipalities to track work orders and issues. 

In general, the region-wide GIS system:

  • Eliminates redundancy in GIS system development and administration
  • Enables cost savings by establishing one centralized program versus six independent systems
  • Standardizes geographical information to improve quality and reliability of data and analysis
  • Increases efficiency of local town departments by improving ability to conduct town-resident business through the web
  • Improves citizen outreach efforts, empowers decision makers with reliable information
  • Offers a new, more quantitative approach to municipal service delivery. Ensures best information is used to make decisions.

GBRC Wins GIS Award

In July 2013, GBRC, was awarded the ESRI Special Achievement Award for excellence in GIS implementation and innovation. "By embracing geographic information system technology, these organizations have used GIS to improve the world—and set new precedents throughout the GIS community," said Jack Dangermond, the president and founder of Esri.

The SAG Award ceremony is held at the annual Esri International User Conference. Recipients of the Special Achievement in GIS award are submitted by Esri staff from thousands of organizations worldwide, then personally reviewed and selected by Jack Dangermond.

GBRC Executive Director Brian Bidolli with ESRI GIS award
GBRC Executive Director, Brian Bidolli, with Esri Award

GBRC’s Executive Director, Brian Bidolli, and GIS Director, Mark Goetz, attended the ESRI international conference in San Diego to receive the award.