What is GIS?


GIS (Geographic Information System) is a mapping system that incorporates geographical features with tabular (attribute) data in order to map, analyze, and assess real-world problems.




In general, GIS integrates, stores, edits, shares, and displays geographic data to assist in more informed decision making. The distinction between GIS and other computerized mapping applications is in the ability to analyze and represent spatial relationships. Anyone can pick up a map or open a basic computerized mapping program and look at layers of data. However, GIS drills down inside the data to reveal more information than what’s seen on the surface. Map layers can be analyzed to define how they relate to each other. GIS is able to distinguish not only the similarities between features but also their differences. For example, do you want to know how many tax parcels contain a particular type soil, or how many acres of that type soil? GIS will tell you in a snap!




Why GIS?


Local governments nationwide are discovering that GIS provides proactive, accurate solutions in a multitude of areas. Access to accurate, up to date information is more vital now than ever before. All government departments can take advantage of GIS and be up to date with necessary information across the board. GIS provides spatial data support to all departments, including tax appraisers, building and zoning, recreation, utilities, public works, and public safety (both law enforcement and fire) to name a few. GIS provides better data management through an organized means of managing assets. Paper and CAD based maps can only provide a visual representation of where tax parcels, electric utilities, gas, water, sewer, etc. are located geographically. Additional information such as such as meter sizes, appraisal values, last known maintenance dates about these features you will have to consult another source of information, quite possibly in another office or even a different building. A GIS attaches attribute data to these features and combines the spatial information with database information, so that anything a user would like to know about a particular features is obtained with the push of a button.




Is GIS Affordable?


GIS is more affordable than you might think. We will be happy to help with the development and customization of your GIS in order to meet the particular needs of your local government. SWGRC can develop your GIS incrementally. By doing this through a series of phases (plans), your local government is able to spread the cost out over two budget years. The SWGRC is also prepared to maintain your GIS information with less expense to your local government compared to buying and maintaining expensive computers, software, plotters, and not to mention the cost of staff training and development.




GIS Phases and Plans….


Ideally, tax maps would be converted initially in order to create a foundation to build other layers upon. After that a number of different plans could be put together in order to achieve your local government’s goal while keeping costs at a minimum.




Sample Plans


  • City/County boundaries
  • Future Land Use
  • Zoning Districts

Public Interest

  • Municipal buildings (city hall, fire, police, recreation parks, post offices, other buildings of governmental interest)
  • School administration buildings and facilities including elementary, middle, high, charter, and private schools, trade schools and colleges


  • Wastewater and Facilities
  • Potable Water and Facilities
  • Transportation Networks (bridges, control signals, signs, transit routes)


  • Enterprise Zones
  • Brownfields
  • Redevelopment Districts

Emergency Management

  • Patrol Areas
  • Crime Hot Spots
  • E911 Address Point Locations


  • Electrical
  • Telephone
  • Cable Television
  • Natural Gas
  • Communication Towers
  • Sewer Water
  • Waste Providers (routes)


  • Census Tracts
  • Educational Districts
  • Jurisdictions
  • Judicial Districts
  • Political Districts




Each of these plans listed is just an example of the data layers that can be created and/or converted and integrated into GIS. Any combination or number of these layers can be added in order to fit your local government’s individual needs.




The more layers added, the more beneficial GIS will become for your organization. Being able to analyze relationships between these layers harnesses the power of GIS at its best.




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Southwest Georgia

Regional Commission


181 East Broad Street

Camilla, GA, 31730



(229)522-3558 fax




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