Supes approve new mapping process
by Paisley Boston
Aug 21, 2013 | 983 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A sample of the election precinct map with E911 streets.  Additional work is required to not only add more data and information to the map, but to align layers geographically so that they match up more precisely.
A sample of the election precinct map with E911 streets. Additional work is required to not only add more data and information to the map, but to align layers geographically so that they match up more precisely.
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The Bolivar County Election Committee is in the process of helping citizens locate their specific voting precinct by providing an online base map that will allow voters to type in their name and address to find their voting precinct.

In Monday's Bolivar County Board of Supervisors meeting, attorney Ellis Turnage presented the base map idea and it was approved.

"This technology is amazing. They can make maps large enough to cover this entire wall," said Turnage.

The election committee has been in collaboration with Talbot Brooks, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies at Delta State University, to develop a base map for Bolivar County for quite some time.

The technology will enable the county to map out new districts.

Turnage prompted the movement of these map layers from GIS software to the Web in a push to make the information more readily available to the public.

His office sponsored the development of an online test environment currently under development by the center.

He further advocates the expansion of the map to include land parcels, critical infrastructure, such as major power lines, updated aerial photography and other spatial data, which would benefit both the public and private citizens.

Potential future uses, where the data will be collected and aligned into a master mapping application, would allow homeowners to view their land parcels with aerial photography in the background.

Other uses, which would help government deliver services more efficiently, might include the ability of real estate agents to use the system to perform "comps," help the road department inform the public of projects and road closures, display event data such as past crimes and fires, and similar activities.

Such mapping systems are already in place in Harrison and DeSoto counties.

"We want a comprehensive base map that services 911 calls, real estate, schools, individuals who are looking to start a business and tourist," said Brooks.

According to Brooks, maps and map data are an important but often unrecognized, part of county and local government.

The Center of Interdisciplinary Geospatial Information Technologies works with communities like Bolivar County so it may benefit from using maps and mapping technologies.

The center first worked with the county in 2007 as part of the Phase II E-911 system installation.

Geospatial Information Technology is a method of capturing and analyzing spatial data and then creating a map with that information to be used for various reasons.

It has been described as mapmaking in the 21st century.

Many organizations such as the FBI and Secret Service for President Barack Obama have found Geospatial Information Technology to be "groundbreaking."

The map is to appear on the Bolivar County Website and will be accessed through a link found on the site and will be available to all citizens of the county.

"Most counties in the Delta do not have a map," said Brooks.

"It has been approved and now it is just a matter of getting things updated. The application that we are using is undergoing work but it will definitely be an advantage for voters," said Turnage.