SYCAMORE – DeKalb County officials unveiled an interactive mapping software Thursday that will help smaller municipalities provide information for interested businesses.
Geographic analysts from the DeKalb County Information Management Office showed off at a DeKalb County Regional Planning Commission meeting Thursday new geographic information system software that they have been working on for a year. The system takes data such as infrastructure, zoning and property taxes and allows users to view the information in layers on an interactive map.
“There’s a lot of easy-to-use and interpret information right at your fingertips,” said Chad Bergeson, GIS analyst for DeKalb County.
Derek Hiland, DeKalb County Community Development director, said he expects the system will have a large effect on economic development within municipalities in DeKalb County that do not have the staffing to provide similar information to interested businesses or developers.
“Not every community has professional staff to generate information that would be available to a potential developer, so this was the nexus behind it,” Hiland said.
The software used for the project does not have an upfront cost, but users are charged on a per-minute basis, said Sheila Santos, DeKalb County Information Management Office director. The DeKalb County Information Management Office has spent $500 for 500 hours over the past year inputting information from DeKalb County.
Another cost to the project was $54,500 in April for aerial photography of DeKalb County, Santos said.
The department has mapped out and almost completed plugging in data for Waterman, which they used as an example for the meeting. They did so at no charge to Waterman, but Hiland said municipalities added to the interactive map will share some of the costs associated with using the software and providing the necessary information for the system.
Hiland said he hopes all 14 communities in DeKalb County will choose to join in on the project.
As far as who will actually have access to the system, Hiland said it may be more practical to limit use to government employees because too many people using the software at the same time would rack up costs.
DeKalb Mayor Jerry Smith, amazed by the software, likened it to “Star Wars” and Cortland Clerk Cheryl Aldis said she loves idea. Richard Gentile, director of public works in Genoa, said he also is interested in bringing Genoa on board.