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Montrose And Nation Celebrate GIS Day

Montrose County GIS

Thursday was a special day if you appreciate contour lines, true north versus magnetic north, and aerial photography. 

It was GIS day, which stands for Geographic Information Systems.  The county and city of Montrose teamed up for the first time to celebrate the mapping day.

"It's an internationally recognized day where GIS departments want to promote and educate the public on what GIS is and what it can do," says Lee Brannon, with Montrose County’s GIS team.  "We just stated doing it this year in Montrose County, but hopefully it will be the first of many for this jurisdiction."

Lee says that GIS is a whole system of different parts that come together to accurately map an area, in his case Montrose County.  It’s like a local Google maps, but more accurate.

"We're sure it's more accurate, because it's our data and we update it constantly.  We offer various layers and data themes that Google Maps or Bing Maps wouldn't have," he says.

It turns out this mapping can be very useful

"Folks can get information about county assets, where roads are or county infrastructure like culverts or road signs.  Maybe a better thing is parcel mapping.  A lot of folks that we answer to want to know where their property boundaries are, 'who's property is next to mine,' and if there's properties that are split or combined, somebody has to keep track of those changes," says Lee.

"We edit that data and make maps for folks who request them.  They can also go on our online viewer to look up addresses and get  information about flood planes or zoning."

He says people get really excited about the maps.

"There definitely are moments when folks are amazed in a good way when they see their property shown in an aerial photograph, and how that relates to the streams and ditches.  A lot of them are really keen on the interactive viewers we have online," he says. 

Each county on the Western Slope has a GIS program.  To see if your county has an interactive map, visit the county’s website.

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