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New equipment now allows county to print specialized maps of area

By Jonathan Pleasant
With the courthouse air conditioning temporarily out of service, officials were in the proverbial hot seat at Thursday’s County Commission meeting. Regardless of the rising temperatures, the evening was rather abbreviated with a short docket and only a few points of contention. Professor Tina Delahunty was present to give the commission an update on her work toward building a county wide Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Database, a large portion of which was paid for through grants as well as funding from the county and various other local agencies.
Delahunty explained that she has been working particularly closely with Property Assessor Matthew Lewis who has been actively training with the new technology. Utilizing new equipment including a specialized laptop to use in the field as well as plotters and printers, Delahunty explained that the county can now actually do specialized map printouts when requested.
Other departments including the school system, highway department, and 911 have also become part of the project and Dr. Delahunty is in talks with Mountain Electric, all with the goal of being able to offer custom data and mapping services including bus routes, utilities, fire district borders, and just about any other use that may be needed. Most recently Delahunty has worked with the Butler and Elk Mills Volunteer Fire Departments to help identify property values and other information in the Carter County portion of the Butler community to see if it would be feasible to extend BVFD’s primary service there.
There were a few questions asked about the possibility of including deed information and whether or not some of the smaller community utility districts could be brought in on the project as well, and Delahunty explained that the database is very flexible and is constantly growing and being improved. Considering the costs in getting to this point, Delahunty did advise the commission to consider their options when sharing the raw information, and to possibly look at a policy governing information sharing of this nature.
For the rest of the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk on newsstands now.