ESCANABA - A new computerized mapping system on the Escanaba website is expected to be a valuable tool not only for the city but for anyone looking for local geographical information.
Escanaba recently made a Geographic Information System (GIS) available on its website at www.escanaba.org, announced City Assessor Daina Norden. She and City Engineer Terry Flower presented the mapping system to a group of municipal leaders during a joint governmental meeting at city hall Wednesday.
The data can be accessed online by clicking onto the "Escanaba GIS" link, explained Flower. Informational searches can be made on several topics ranging from property assessments to garbage collection schedules, he said.
The city of Escanaba recently made a Geographic Information System (GIS) available on its website at www.escanaba.org.
"It's literally endless. There's thousands of layers (of information) available," Flower explained as he walked the group through the website.
During the past 18 months, information about the city has been inputed into the computer system, Flower said. More data will be added along the way, he added. The program started with a grant to map out area wetlands, he explained.
Norden said the GIS will assist employees in the assessor's office. The system will serve as a good "checks and balances" tool as property assessments are made on neighboring and comparable properties, she said. It will also assist in compiling reports for the state, she said.
The GIS will be beneficial for realtors, appraisers and developers who routinely request property information from the assessor's office, Norden said.
The system makes it easy for anyone to access information on any parcel in the city, she added.
"I love it," commented Norden. "It's keeping the public informed, it keeps records accurate, and the public can feel more comfortable with their property values and tax bills."
Other city departments including engineering, public works, recreation and public safety will also find the computer system a valuable tool for various data, said Flower. Examples are maps of utilities, roads, recreational areas, soil types, land use, and even no smoking areas within the city.
City Manager Jim O'Toole commented the computerized mapping system can provide information much more quickly than searching for it manually. He added some data, such as information relating to the city's security, is not accessible to the public.