Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a computer program that creates and manages a geographically referenced database. Most information databases contain information that can be located on the earth’s surface; for example, a phone book contains names and addresses as well as phone numbers. A paper map can show locations, but a GIS can link all the phone book information to locations on a computerized map.
The Value of GIS Data
The information provided in the GIS map layers is a valuable tool for policy makers. For example, planning and zoning personnel could use a map layer containing structures combined with ownership parcels to assess property values. School districts can use a road layer combined with a structure layer to design better school bus routes. Rural water cooperatives can use a pipeline GIS layer to locate shut-off valves, or even probable leak spots.
Each of the GIS layers can be stacked on top of each other. This means that if one agency is working on a hydrology map (lakes and streams) and another agency is creating a road map, the two overlaid will match up geographically. A user can create as many layers as they need.
Available GIS Data
First District is a GIS data clearinghouse with a wide variety of data available to entities in the private sector, county government and local government. The following GIS data is available for each of the counties we serve:
- Road Centerlines
- Section Lines
- Contour Lines
- Aerial Photos (DOQQs) – View Example
- USGS Topographic Maps
- Lakes and Streams
- Aquifer & Flood Data
- Soils Data
In addition to the GIS data that is currently available First District can also develop GIS data integrate into existing or new GIS projects. Examples of these GIS datasets include: Parcels, 911 Road Centerline, Land use and Zoning, and Utilities. If you have a geographic information systems project you’d like to discuss please let us know.
First District also provides training for GIS system end users including assistance in GIS data analysis. Please view our GIS training materials or contact us for a personal training session. High quality, printed GIS maps are also available at our offices.
First District webhosts GIS data for counties and communities across South Dakota. “Webhosting” gives end users the ability to view, search and analyze GIS data using a standard web browser. This method of GIS is cost-effective, as District members do not need to purchase GIS software in order to use the data. We’ll also be happy to provide assistance using the GIS mapping tool, interpreting results or printing high quality maps.