Geographic Information Systems (GSI) for natural resources planning and management at local government level

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Virginia Tech

Automated geographic information systems were once regarded as a technology that had little to do with most local, especially small, rural communities because of their financial and technological requirements. During the last decade, however, this situation has changed substantially and today both the experts in the GIS applications field and local communities officials have felt that the time for small jurisdictions to take the advantage of computerization in handling spatial data has come, despite many technical and organizational problems that are yet to be solved. This paper will discuss some of the more important financial, technical, and organizational issues in applying GIS to natural resources planning and management in local governments. Some potential benefits, problems and especially, applications of GIS are explored in this study. Fundamental GIS concepts, structure variations, and development processes are also generally presented in the local government context. Some principles and basics of GIS are examined and demonstrated using Tomlin's Map Analysis Package (MAP). Finally, case studies on the background, development techniques, and costs and benefits of several local government GIS projects in the State of Virginia are conducted and presented.