Maps and GIS
GIS Manager: Jeff Nugent
The WRC GIS office has provided map and Geographic Information System services to WRC staff and the 27 towns in the Windham Region since 1991. In addition, we work cooperatively with many state agencies and non-profit organizations that work in our region. Our work centers on projects in the fields of transportation, land use, and natural resources planning, emergency preparedness, and community development. We use ESRI's ArcGIS 10.3 Basic and Standard software, a 1050CM plotter, and a Trimble GeoXM GPS receiver.
State’s Lidar Program Will Offer Highly Precise Elevation Data for Windham County
Much of Windham County is about to get the most detailed, accurate, and comprehensive elevation data the area has ever had. These new data, generated from lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, will give most towns in Windham County elevation data with an accuracy of 10 centimeters, and contours at 1-foot intervals.
Village Maps of Readsboro, Jacksonville, and Wilmington Now Available
Detailed base maps which show all buildings, streets, driveways, sidewalks, and other features are now available for the villages of Readsboro, Jacksonville, and Wilmington. WRC GIS staff created these maps from air photos, GPS data, and field mapping.
Each village has a series of maps in a number of different formats. One map show the entire village, while another focuses just on the village core/downtown area. Most maps are in color, but at least one is in simple grayscale so that it can be used as a background for marking up and highlighting specific features.
WRC Welcomes Tim Peterson as Summer GIS Employee
If you someone wearing an safety vest and stretching rubber tubes across a road, attaching a small box to a post, standing next to a road sign with a tablet in hand, or measuring a bridge, say “hello!” There’s a good chance it’s Tim Peterson, WRC’s GIS summer employee.
WRC Releases Region-wide maps of Undeveloped Waters
The Windham Regional Commission has released a set of maps showing the status of undeveloped streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds across the entire Windham Region. These maps are culmination of work over the past five years, and bring together the results of three separate projects to identify undeveloped waters in the Region and classify them as to their conservation status and town plan land use district.
Parcel Data Updates Available for Region Towns
Towns in the Windham Region continue to update their parcel data, and WRC has been collecting that data to make it available to the public. With more towns updating their parcel data and tax maps on a regular basis, residents, professionals, and local and state officials have better access to information they need to live and work.
State Releases New Aerial Photos of the Region
GIS users will now have a new set of aerial photographs at their disposal. The Vermont Center for Geographic Information is in the process of making available a new set of orthophotos (a specific type of aerial photograph that can be used for mapping) of Windham and Bennington Counties that were taken in Spring 2015. Our previous set of photos were taken in 2010 and were only available in black and white. The 2015 series is available in black and white, color, and color infra-red.
Current GIS/Mapping activities - August 2015
WRC GIS staff have been busy. With the summer weather, field work becomes a big part of what we do. And with the help of a UVM student, we’ve managed to collect a lot of field data!
WRC Digitizing Current Use Parcels
Vermont’s Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation is again contracting with WRC to digitize parcels enrolled in the state’s Use Value Appraisal Program (commonly known as “current use”). Once this work is complete, all UVA parcels in Windham County will be digitized.
WRC Completes Parcel Map for Somerset
The Town of Somerset, the last town in the Windham Region without parcel maps (commonly known as “tax maps”) now has a map and GIS data showing the location of all properties in town. Somerset is unincorporated, has a year-round population of only six, and over 90 percent of the land area is owned by the U.S. Forest Service or power company TransCanada. Still, it has 35 landowners whose property boundaries were collectively unmapped until now.
GIS Staff Outline Accomplishments for 2013
Windham Regional Commission GIS staff members Jeff Nugent and Sarah Linn worked on many projects during 2013. Some of the highlights are presented below.
Irene Damage Mapping Project Completed
WRC has completed a project to map various aspects of Tropical Storm Irene damages in the Windham Region.
Covering the entire region, WRC created: 1) an inventory and map of homes and businesses that were destroyed or damaged to the point that they were no longer usable, and 2) an inventory and map of bridges and major culverts that were destroyed and/or damaged to the point of being closed for a week or more.
Parcel Data Now Available in Google Earth-Compatible Format
Have you ever wanted to look at a town’s digital parcel data but you don’t have the necessary GIS software? Now you can look at that data in Google Earth, a popular and free mapping software that many people already have on their computer. WRC GIS staff have recently converted all available digital parcel data in the Windham Region to “KMZ” files.
2012 a Busy Year for GIS Staff
2012 was a busy time for WRC and its GIS staff. We started in the throes of mapping work in response to Tropical Storm Irene recovery efforts, and ended with a snowstorm that put a close on our culvert field mapping season. The biggest change for GIS at WRC was the hiring of Sarah Linn as a full-time GIS assistant. With an additional GIS staff person, and the purchase of a new GPS unit, WRC is now helping towns with culvert and road sign inventories.
WRC Assists Towns with Culvert Inventories
Inventorying culverts may not sound like a real attention-getter, but it’s an important resource for our towns, the WRC, and the state. Given that by our estimates more than 1,000 culverts were damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in our region alone, it’s time to update the inventories.
New Bicycle Suitability Maps Available for Eastern Windham County
With summer in full swing, a new map will help residents and visitors with planning their bike rides around eastern Windham County. The Windham Regional Commission (WRC) has recently produced updates to their series of Bicycle Suitability Maps. The two maps show data on many things of interest to cyclists, including shoulder condition, traffic volumes, steep hills, riding hazards, bike shops, and more. While the maps do not identify specific biking routes, some roads popular with cyclists are highlighted.
WRC Assisting Towns with Sign Inventories
Many towns throughout Vermont are looking at ways to better manage their road signs, whether it’s general maintenance, or plans to replace them with new signs that are more reflective. A sign inventory can help.
WRC has just completed a project with the Town of Dummerston to create a database and map of the over three hundred road signs on their town highways. Throughout the summer and fall, we'll be working on similar inventories for the Towns of Townshend, Grafton, Windham, and Guilford. The inventories include information on sign type, text, condition, reflectivity, and whether there's a breakaway post. If your town is interested in completing a road sign inventory and would like help, contact Jeff Nugent, WRC’s GIS planner, for more information.
New West River Watershed Maps Released
WRC has just released a 2 page map of the West River Watershed. The first page is a richly detailed map of the entire watershed, showing every named river, stream, lake, and pond, along with wetlands, roads, buildings, villages and hamlets, public lands, and major recreation areas and trails. The second page introduces the concept of a watershed, and presents information on water quality and special designations of lands and waters in the watershed.
Delivering Data Using Google Maps: An Example from Irene
Has your town considered putting its mapped data on-line? Using Google maps is a simple and inexpensive way to do this. In September, WRC created an interactive on-line map of local roads impacted by Tropical Storm Irene, based on road status information provided by town officials. With road status changing daily, and with the need for both a small-scale, region-wide perspective and large-scale, detailed views of specific damage locations (think zooming in), an interactive on-line map was the way to go, providing many benefits over a traditional paper product. The map was viewed by over 10,000 visitors in its first two weeks, and represented the only source for information on the status of the Windham Region’s local roads.