Since the early 1990s, RPC has
maintained a Geographic Information System (GIS). A GIS is comprised of
digital map layers and associated databases, software, computers,
printers, and staff. Through the years, RPC has amassed massive
amounts of GIS data, and maps; over 1.5TB of data and thousands of maps.
RPC has data in many formats, aerial imagery spanning 60 years all the
way to zoning data for the region's communities throughout many years.
The RPC also hosts many datasets and maps made for communities
for various projects.
GIS is a tool that can be very complex in
many ways, but also simple. Tools like
Google Maps and the GRANIT Coastal Viewer are designed specifically to
allow users quick cursory access to GIS data. Whereas, to run a
full GIS, can require high-end sophisticated servers and client computers and years of experience.
is not a substitute for surveyors or surveys and there is always a
risk that showing different data layers that were made for different
purposes can lead to a perception that the data shows one thing, when in
fact it could be an error inherent in the data that misleads the user. GIS
should always be understood to be a tool to help guide decisions, not a
final decision in and of itself.
GIS at RPC is used in contract
work for state agencies, municipalities, and other entities. It is also
used to provide map and data assistance to staff planners and in
providing local technical assistance to member community governments.
Public officials and municipal employees are encouraged to utilize the
RPC GIS data and capabilities in assistance with their municipal or other
RPC offers a range of GIS services to member
communities and other entities on a contract basis, including map
production, geographic data analysis, and GPS data collection.