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GIS Classes Map the Way to Better Local Deployments in New York

Local governments use GIS programs to view maps of things like infrastructure and tax parcels, giving them better data that'll allow smoother interactions with citizens.

by Miranda Materazzo, Watertown Daily Times / February 26, 2018

(TNS) — CARTHAGE, N.Y. — The Tug Hill Commission hosted a class Friday to teach participants about the basics of geographic information systems technology, or GIS.

Most of the two dozen participants were from local governments, according to Tug Hill River Area Council of Governments member Mickey Dietrich. She said that Friday’s class, which used open-source data, was to help people get an introduction to the system at a low cost.

“It’s really about the community working together to help design the program and create tools to be incorporated into it,” Mr. Dietrich said.

Local governments use the GIS programs to view maps of things like infrastructure and tax parcels. The particular GIS software being taught in Friday’s class is most effective for adding, rather than viewing data, and can be used on mobile devices.

Boonville village Highway Superintendent Eric Salmon, who attended the class, said he had used GIS technology on his phone for a major project.

“We had just redone a sewer line, and it had left the road in pretty bad shape,” Mr. Salmon said, “and we used the maps to help us when we rebuilt it to know what improvements to make to help the water drain off the road easier.”

He said that he and his crew used the mobile GIS technology to view the old layout of the road and know what specific improvements to make to new sections.

Lewis County GIS specialist Russ Brownell said he attended Friday’s class because “it’s always good to stay on top of these advancements.”

Carthage High School also offers GIS courses through a partnership with Jefferson Community College.

The courses’ instructor, Peter Walsemann, said that his students partner with local government affiliates during the spring semester to help them with their GIS goals. “We’ve been helping the village of Croghan develop the map for their infrastructure for about a year now,” Mr. Walsemann said.

The Tug Hill Commission will host its next introductory GIS training session at the Syracuse University Environmental Finance Center on March 12.

Those interested in attending should contact Mickey Dietrich at 315-785-2389 or

©2018 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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