Data is what drives many decisions within Land Use and Development. Maps allow interpretation of vast amounts of data visually to see the spatial component to the underlying data, for example, is the proposed school near the center of the population? At the RPC data is used to inform opinions every day. Data can be in tabular format, or it can have a spatial component too. The RPC maintains a GIS for this reason. GIS is a tool that allows data to be used in a spatial way. Each thing you see on the map can be related to a table that has information about that shape. GIS enables the ability to look at what the spatial component of the data means in relation to other things on the map. Simply put, GIS is a tool that allows the user to make maps, data, and join non-spatial data to spatial data to gain more insight. The web maps referenced below illustrate examples of this.
The vast majority of data that the RPC uses was created and is maintained by other agencies. GRANIT is a primary source of GIS data for the State of NH.
The following are some of the most common data sets and associated mapping applications utilized by RPC and member communities: