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County GIS info getting more accessible online

Otter Tail County's Geographic Information Systems (GIS) department provides many mapping services on the county website, and changes are now taking place through ongoing enhancements.

Those changes were outlined Dec. 18, in a demonstration during the weekly meeting of the Otter Tail County Board of Commissioners.

Information available on the website includes street maps for cities in the county. Township residents also can access information about their particular areas.

Pop-ups on a user's computer screen identify land parcel information. Lake information is also available, with links to high water levels and other information.

Maintenance of the countywide addressing system is a responsibility of the GIS department, including the collection of GPS coordinates.

"We're doing complete changes regarding software and web access," said County Land/Property Division Director Brian Armstrong. "Data resides on many different computers. We (at the GIS department) bring it all together."

County Board Chairman Lee Rogness said the GIS changes provide one-source information for county services.

"Information readily accessible to the general public is what this is all about," said Rogness.

The GIS department is responsible for the planning, development and implementation of the GIS spatial databases. The department develops new mapping data layers, analyzes spatial data and distributes digital and hard copy output.

"New information provided on the county website by our department can be used by residents throughout the county as they make important decisions," said GIS Coordinator Sherry Leabo.

Examples of people using the available data are realtors and abstractors. Wintertime outdoor enthusiasts can see snowmobile trail maps on the county website. There are many others uses, as well.

The county board, at a future date, will hold a public mapping day for mayors and other officials from throughout the county. County employees will provide information about the many GIS and mapping changes that are taking place.

"It's an exciting time to be part of this department," said GIS Technician Tony Rendz.