Geospatial technology has transformed the concept of maps. Today, geographical information systems (GIS) can locate everything from an underground utility cable to the nearest coffee shop with the click of a mouse button.
Loveland will join the rest of the world in celebrating GIS Day 2005 by showcasing the City’s award-winning GIS with a noon-6 p.m., Nov. 16, open house. Displays, interactive exhibits and a “digital treasure hunt” will be available at the City Council Chambers, 500 E. Third Street.
“In simple terms, technology is now used to track where things are or where they happen in the world,” said Steve Holmes, who directs the City’s GIS operation. Holmes explained that the technology links mapping with databases, allowing software programs to pinpoint the locations of physical objects.
For example, using maps and aerial photography, the City’s system is used extensively by various departments, including Water and Power, Parks and Recreation, Public Works, Fire, Police and other offices. At the open house, City staffers from these departments will demonstrate how the GIS system is used to show locations of electric and other utilities; park locations, trails and equipment; routes for buses and snow plows; lot boundaries and zoning; 911 call locations and crime analysis.
Hands-on, Internet-based GIS experience will be offered to visitors at the City’s computer training lab in the Municipal Building. And, 24 children and/or adults will be able to use, on a first-come, first-served basis, hand-held GPS tracking devices to follow a geocaching or “digital treasure hunt” coarse located around the Loveland Civic Center (weather permitting). Children under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Also offered will be demonstrations of how GIS is used within the new Economic Gardening program and how crimes are tracked by the Police Department.
Sponsors of the GIS Day 2005 open house include the Environmental System Research Institute (ESRI), Inc., Geospatial Information Systems Association (GITA) and the US Geological Survey (USGS).