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.
Creating a Google map is a great solution when you need to provide mapped data on-line, need to offer the ability to view the data at different scales, and need to provide a lot of information about features on a map. Simply put, in certain situations—usually providing specific information about a specific location—an interactive map might be better than a paper one. For example, using an on-line zoning map, landowners could zoom into their property and see, in detail, the zoning district boundaries in the area, all using a air photo base. With the click of a mouse, they could access the portion of the zoning bylaw applicable to a specific district.
WRC will eventually de-activate the road closure map created in response to Irene, but when another emergency occurs that impacts our region’s roads, the basic structure of the Irene road status map can certainly be used again. For more information on using Google Maps to display data, contact WRC GIS Planner Jeff Nugent .