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Geographical Information System Mapping

A Geographical Information System is a computer system capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information, i.e. data identified according to its location. Most of the information collected about the earth contains a geographic location or reference, placing the information at some point on Earth.

Data stored in the G.I.S. database is represented in one of two ways: attribute data in tabular form and spatial data in the form of points, lines, polygons or pixels. This data can be captured using various methods, such as through the use of a Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing, digitizing or scanning.

Why G.I.S. is important to our municipality

The Town of Essex uses G.I.S. to track and manage its asset infrastructure. For example, when a new water main is installed, it is important to record where the pipe is located spatially. This is done by using a location reference system, such as longitude and latitude, and perhaps elevation. Once the water main has been installed and spatially mapped, specific coordinates showing the main’s location are stored within the G.I.S. database. This information can now be accurately used for locating a damaged water main in a safe and timely manner.

The Town also uses G.I.S. to assist residents with zoning and property management issues.