LOGAN — On Monday, the City of Logan and Stantec Consulting Services met to discuss a potential mapping service that would benefit city employees and residents.

Gary Silcott, Principal of Stantec, and Bobby Fuller, project engineer for Stantec, provided a wealth of knowledge to Logan City Council members and others about a Geographical Information System (GIS) the city could purchase. This would provide an analysis of data that would reveal relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports and charts.

With the current water project going on in the city, Logan City Mayor Greg Fraunfelter inquired about GIS and how they could go about acquiring something for the city to use. There are many different features that come along with the GIS, all of which can be catered to the needs of the individual user.

“People think of GIS as something new, but it’s actually been around since the 60s. It’s just becoming a much more powerful tool than it ever has,” stated Silcott.

The system is a tool that allows users to manage, analyze, edit and display all forms for information based on a location. The data accessible could include where current water meters, valves, fire hydrants, and water lines — among many other features — are located. This would be helpful for the citizens of Logan if they were interested building on land they just purchased, such as knowing where the water lines are and need to go.

During the meeting, Silcott brought up an example of the Athens County map on their auditor’s website. He indicated the map could be easily accessible for citizens such as this one, where they could view property lines and more with different layers on the GIS.

The system allows users to add or subtract different layers to view, one of those Silcott pointed out, could also be flood plains and data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency of the area.

A highlight of the GIS would be when a water line breaks in the city. The system would indicate how old the line is, how deep it is, and even how many breaks have happened in the past for the area. As far as public works goes, the system could also provide street inventories such as data on signs, traffic signals, guardrails, and even used for snow plowing.

Fraunfelter mentioned that would be a very useful tool for people to see which path snow plows will take first when it snows so that residents know when to move their cars — even for street cleaning.

Silcott explained this tool could help the city perform analysis, develop applications and ultimately provide solutions to current or future issues the city might have.

One problem they could solve with the system is the amount of accidents in certain areas. Reports for accidents can be another addition to the system the city could utilize, such as which portions of the city need improved because numerous accidents have happened in a specific location.

Another advantage to this system is the amount of time city employees could save by using the features added.

One example Silcott provided was through Newport News Waterworks out of Virginia. In their system they included data regarding the permit process and a map of the right-of-ways. This process was previously done by hand and with the automated map production process through GIS, it cut the duration from four hours to 15 minutes for employees.

Therefore, not only will the GIS save time for employees and others who might use the system, but also money. Yes, the upfront cost might come with a hefty price tag, but Silcott pointed out, in the long run it will save the city money, time and will be readily accessible for people in the future if they have any inquires about infrastructure.

The initial setup of the system and data is what would cost the most for the city; however, after that it’s maintaining the data and paying for the individual users who would need it most.

This is just a portion of the countless options of how the city could utilize the GIS and is a project that either the city could hire Stantec to put it together or hire someone internally from the city.

“I would say you could look at it for the city as an investment. If you’re looking into the future and trying to figure out a way to make your lives easier in the future to prevent the history being lost because somebody passed away, quit or whatever instance, this way you have everything backed up,” expressed Silcott.

The Logan Daily News would like to point out, though this has been discussed with city council and other members through this introduction, nothing has officially been decided or presented to council as a whole in a meeting.

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