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Dorchester County, South Carolina is home to the Middleton Place Gardens and has a rich history dating back to its first settlement in 1696.
The county has a population of 136,555 spread over 576 square miles and is juxtaposed along two interstates (I-95 and I-26). Like many counties, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology was initially implemented to serve the tax mapping needs. Over time, GIS use has grown dramatically in scope and is used for asset management, fee tracking, elections, planning, economic development and emergency services. The County created a GIS Coordinator position to lead and promote the GIS initiative. Over the past decade GIS use at the County has grown from two editors and four desktop users to fifteen data editors and over eighty analytical viewers. Many other users leverage GIS through various web services.
Recently, the County began to upgrade various technologies and associated datasets. The County’s GIS Coordinator, David Garber, identified that this was a perfect time to move GIS to the next level. He points out; “Our GIS data needed to be integrated into a more robust data model so that the County could leverage the latest GIS platforms and solutions. Our end-user applications needed an upgrade and our users were excited about the possibilities.” To that end, the County released an RFP for a GIS Platform Migration. This included a review of existing GIS data, establishment of the Esri Local Government Information Model (LGIM), integration with existing IT systems (tax, public safety, and register of deeds systems), data migration, a land records migration plan, and the launching of new GIS applications. After a competitive RFP process, the County selected Esri Gold Partner Geographic Technologies Group (GTG), a leading local government GIS technology firm, to partner with the county. Matthew McLamb, Vice President of GIS Services, points out; “We were excited to be selected for this project. Our team has a deep level of understanding of database design best practices, implementation of the Esri LGIM, launching of ArcGIS Online products, integration with existing systems, and establishing the Esri Parcel Fabric. This project was in our wheelhouse.”
This six-month project began with an exhaustive review of existing data, technical review, systems design, and associated reports. A data migration matrix allowed the team to move into the next phase: the establishment of the Esri LGIM environment and data migration. GTG’s team used FME software to map each data element and migrate the data into the LGIM. Additionally, GTG created a land records clean-up and migration plan with a focus on the Esri Parcel Fabric. The culmination of the project was the launching of public facing and internal GIS portals. GTG leveraged the Esri Web App Builder to create an intranet solution that allows each department to view and analyze data pertinent to them. Also, the Esri Tax Parcel Viewer was used to replace an older application as the public facing tax-centric GIS portal. Curtis Hinton, President of GTG, remarks: “Seeing a County move from older technology to the power afforded by modern GIS is exciting. The County Manager was in attendance for the final presentation/unveiling and he understood that the new technology was going to change how the County conducts business. His enthusiasm for the new tools and eagerness to continue implementing the additional toolsets afforded by this new platform was contagious.” Mr. Garber points out: “This is just the beginning. We plan on leveraging a host of new tools. We were able to quickly spin up a Story Map that depicted the damage and extent of our recent flood event. We are now prepared to quickly embrace the use of the technology for a number of additional needs.”