Letter to the Editor

Local citizen offers GIS information

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dear Editor:

What is GIS? A geographic information system (GIS) integrates hardware, software and data for capturing, managing, analyzing and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.

A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems by looking at your data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework.

Geography plays a role in nearly every decision we make. Choosing sites, targeting market segments, planning distribution networks, responding to emergencies or redrawing county boundaries - all of these problems involve questions of geography.

A GIS is most often associated with a map. A map, however, is only one way you can work with geographic data in a GIS, and only one type of product generated by a GIS. A GIS can provide a great deal more problem-solving capabilities than using a simple mapping program or adding data to an on-line mapping tool.

A GIS is a unique kind of database of the world - a geographic data base. A GIS is a set of intelligent maps and other views that show features and feature relationships on the earth's surface. A GIS is a set of information transformation tools that derive new geographic datasets from existing datasets.

Barry County now has two GIS systems going - one for the E-911 and a new bid for the Assessor's Office. There is no need for multiple systems for the taxpayers to fund. It is time that we come together as a community and ask a bunch of questions to our elected officials and boards. A lot of the ongoing problems with mapping, land use, emergency response, property and many other issues could be resolved more easily and efficiently.

I have spoken with many in the county and there seems to be many unresolved conflicts that need to be addressed and this GIS system could be our best tool for that. I will also start a new set of meetings for those who are interested in getting involved. I have tried to get on the boards and have asked many times to help this community but to no avail.

We need to start using the tools we have.


Charles Britton

Cassville, Missouri