Residents in Douglas County, Nev., no longer have to waste their gas driving to one of the county offices just to find out if their house is in a flood zone.

In May, as part of an ongoing push to promote transparency, the county unveiled its new open source, Web-based mapping application that offers free 24-hour access to an array of property data: parcels, aerial photography, land use, zoning, public lands, voting precinct information, etc.

"If you have a question about your property at midnight, you can get online and look it up," said Eric Schmidt, the county's GIS supervisor. "You don't have to physically come into one of the county offices and see the maps and aerial photography."

In recent years, many municipalities have deployed such tools to improve citizen access to information, and the Internet has enhanced the ways governments deliver the data.

"Over the last several years, we've seen a move toward Web-enabling many of our traditional GIS technologies, which has taken us into some really different opportunities to apply applications, which I think has dramatically changed the landscape for us," John Olesak, then director of Northrop Grumman's Geospatial Intelligence Operating Unit, explained to Government Technology in 2008.


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Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer