2020/2021 Excellence in GIS Award Winners!
The 2020 and 2021 County GIS Professionals Association of Pennsylvania's Excellence in GIS Awards were announced at the 2021 Virtual PA GIS Conference on Tuesday, May 11.
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Megan Birch and I am the vice-president of the PA GIS Pros and have the honor today of announcing the winners of the 2020 and 2021 PA GIS Pros Award which recognizes outstanding GIS work at the county level.
The GIS Pros Award for 2020 is presented to David Long and Jim Rebilas of Montgomery County.
David and Jim built one of the first county COVID hub page/dashboard launched in PA as cases climbed in March 2020. It saw an integration of GIS and health data where data was shared as quickly as possible to give the public information on cases and the spread of COVID in the community. The dashboard was on local news and even made its way to nightly news programs.
The original dashboard has since been integrated into a HUB site that provides vaccine, hospitalization, incidence, and demographic data. It also provides links to other COVID-related mapping applications in the southeast region. Their work demonstrated how GIS technologies can be used to integrate data and communicate clearly and effectively with the public.
The GIS Pros Award for 2021 is presented to Amanda Hagan and Laura Goodrich Cairns of Delaware County for their projects to provide government transparency and support local businesses during the past year.
The first project was a collaboration with County GIS and the Delaware County Commerce Center to track and show where CARES money for small businesses went in 2020-2021. Using GIS they made part of the application a geocoding service to locate the grantees within the county and track statistics and demographics on the grantees and the areas. Internally this data was overlaid with census data and other internal data. A dashboard was created of the data in ArcGIS Experience that was in a press released and shared with the public.
The collaboration continued with applications for food/restaurant businesses to share their information on curbside and pick up services in 2020. The public could use this app to find out what was available to them as well as view menus.
This project raised awareness in Delaware County of how GIS can be used with an economic entity like the Commerce Center. It also led to more projects and ideas for future collaboration.
https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/d520d12db64d408cb1b4723efcd6b1bc and https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/8459bbf316584ac1b7617da97275dced
Featured: York County
York County’s Enterprise GIS Database is managed and coordinated through the York County Planning Commission (YCPC).
YCPC and some County departments are on separate networks. And each have their own datasets they maintain. Assessment maintains parcel and CAMA data. Emergency Services/911 maintains roads and all the emergency data. Agricultural Land Preservation Board maintains conservation easements and ASA property data. The Planning Commission maintains the rest of the data, such as municipal boundaries, voting districts, school districts, zoning and several other datasets.
York County has taken steps to take all this disconnected GIS and connect it. We have created a GIS Advisory Council which is made up of a representative from each department that uses GIS. The Council meets bi-monthly to discuss projects, workflows, processes, issues, and coordination. YCPC has developed and set up scripts in each department to push all the authoritative data into one enterprise database. This is the data that’s used to create all the maps and apps we have out there today.
GIS in York County has had some major developments. We moved from parcel editing in coverages to geodatabase format within the last 2 years and then just migrated into Parcel Fabric. We are finishing up a first phase address point creation to assist with the Next Generation 911 efforts. We are in the process of developing a way for digital accessibility to recorded subdivisions plans and just started to dabble in the ArcGIS Hub environment.
York County Application Highlights
The York County Property Viewer
was developed in-house to replace an online mapping application that was created and maintained by a consultant. This saved the county money as well as getting updates pushed out weekly instead of every 6 months.
York County GIS Open Data Portal
allows anyone to freely use and download York County data anytime they want. This saves staff time from processing data and paperwork it used to take for each data request.
York County Hazard Mitigation Viewer
is a planning tool to increase public awareness of natural and human-made hazards around them by making these hazards easily identifiable at the municipal and parcel level. This viewer provides mitigation actions to address the identified hazards, as well as funding and other resources for these mitigation actions. The information provided by this tool can be used for planning, education or general enrichment by the public, private, and government sectors.
Visit our York County Map Portal
to see more of our applications.
You can contact Tanya Wall
, Chief of Information Systems, at the York County Planning Commission for more information or questions.
Featured: Washington County
The GIS Department of Washington County under GIS Manager Christopher Jon Jursa performs GIS system administration, software engineering, web development, data architecture, database administration, GIS analysis and education.
The home of the GIS Department of Washington County can be found online at https://www.co.washington.pa.us/gis. The GIS Department of Washington County under GIS Manager Christopher Jon Jursa performs GIS system administration, software engineering, web development, data architecture, database administration, GIS analysis and education. The department installs, administers and develops GIS servers, enterprise databases, portals and desktops and lead GIS activities between departments and public.
System and database administration is provided for ArcGIS Server and enterprise geodatabase (with SQL Server) for county users. Privileges, versions, reconcile and post activities are coordinated with users. SQL Server maintenance is provided through SQL Server Management Studio with backups and other routine tasks. ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Server installations are installed, supported, upgraded and maintained. Geoprocessing is automated and advanced using ArcGIS ModelBuilder and Python scripting. Server-side Python scripts perform routine geoprocessing using Task Scheduler such as updating geodatabase tables from an Oracle database via the cxOracle library.
Table 1: Available GIS Applications
GIS Day activities are annually developed to promote GIS and developer capabilities with citizens, users and municipalities. GIS outreach is provided by visiting local educational centers and conducting conference presentations at the GeoDev Conference, Pennsylvania GIS Conference and others.
Featured: Union County
The GIS Department works with the other county offices on a daily basis and slowly educating the end users to learn GIS and how to utilize in daily workflows.
Union County is home of the historic Lewisburg, Mifflinburg and New Berlin Boroughs, Bucknell University, Evangelical Community Hospital, RB Winter State Park and Bald Eagle State Forest and a few federal penitentiaries (but who is counting).
The Union County GIS Department has recently gone through some changes in the last year with staff and administration. Susan Reese is still there as Director. Madeline Schuster has moved into the Field Assessor/GIS Technician position in the Assessment Department and has recently acquired her CPE. This move was looked at as a benefit to the county for keeping better assessment records and mapping, especially with the implementation of a new CAMA. Amanda Smolock has left for new employment in the project management field of healthcare. Kevin Hess was recently hired for her GIS Specialist position. Kevin is a Shippensburg University graduate and also came with acquired county experience through an internship with Adams County.
Union County is continuing to share GIS for Snyder County and has been since 2015. More recently the 911 Departments have merged as well and combined are named Central Susquehanna Regional 911 (CSR911). As part of that merger a new 911 CAD has been implemented in the new communication center located in Selinsgrove at the prior Snyder County 911 building. Aside, from regular county GIS data maintenance we are moving towards a more open approach to include open data within the next year and more maps and apps for end users.
The GIS Department works with the other county offices on a daily basis and slowly educating the end users to learn GIS and how to utilize in daily workflows.
To visit our webpage on the county site to see links to our online maps, click here.
Featured: Lebanon County
Throughout 2018 the Lebanon County GIS Department worked to get GIS data out of the back office and into the hands of those that need it. Further, we wanted to present the data in a way that is easy to understand, use and access. In an effort to provide GIS data and information to our fellow County Departments as well as the public, we created several web apps.
Lebanon County Floodplain Viewer
The floodplain viewer allows users both in government and in the public to view PEMA’s preliminary flood insurance study area in Lebanon County. Users are able to search by address, subdivision lot, or mobile home address to locate parcels to determine if the parcel falls within the floodplain. Zooming in provides imagery for better analysis of the floodplain and the surrounding properties. The layer “Changes Since Last Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)” displays increases or decreases in the 1% Annual Chance Flooding floodplain area. Users have access to the swipe tool which allows them to view the changes in floodplain since the last FIRM compared to the current floodplain by “swiping” between the two; some areas will see little to no change while others will see a significant adjustment in coverage. For further study, a Measurement tool and Select tool are also provided. Information related to the preliminary maps can be found on the sidebar, along with links and contact information for specific inquiries to make the process as painless as possible for the public during the transition period.
Lebanon County Voter Information Viewer
County residents can utilize this web app to view voting information relative to their location and to find where they vote. Each parcel displays specific data about its precinct, its polling place, and its US Congressional, State Senatorial, and State Legislative districts. Each of these are available to be displayed on the map. Further information and documents are available on the sidebar, like Lebanon County’s absentee ballot application or a link to Pennsylvania’s state legislators. We created this web app to assist the Voter Registration Department with requests from the general public on where to vote and the district they fall within.
2018 General Election Results
This simple viewer provides users with the results from the 2018 General Election broken down by precinct and by contest. Each precinct is colored red or blue based on the winning party and displays a pop-up with the corresponding number of votes per candidate. Users can display one contest at a time using the Layer List on the sidebar.
2018 General Election Survey Results
During the election, the Lebanon County GIS and Voter Registration Departments worked together to create a voter experience survey using ESRI’s Survey123 application. At their polling place, voters were given a card containing the link and QR code to the survey which could be completed online via computer, tablet, or phone. The survey collected voter data pertaining to the following questions:
• Where did you vote?
• What time did you vote?
• How long did you wait?
• How helpful was the staff?
• How easy was it to vote?
• Overall experience? 1-5 stars
• Age group
We received 588 responses from this survey which provided the county with an insight to the public’s experience during an election. Some common suggestions were about lack of parking at certain polling locations and long wait times.
On Election Day, the GIS Department set up a dashboard which displayed real time statistics about wait times, number of surveys by polling location, number of voters per half hour and age group. While not available to the public, designated county employees had access to the information. The GIS Department then concatenated the results into a story map to display the data in an organized and coherent fashion. The final page of the story map contains a map of the districts and polling locations with their corresponding number of surveys, average wait time, and average age group. Through this process, we were able to help the Voter Registration Department prioritize some improvements they could make for upcoming elections and ways the GIS department could improve its analysis in upcoming surveys.
Lebanon County Local Treatment Resources Viewer
The Lebanon County Heroin Task Force, made up of representatives of government, law enforcement, medical/treatment facilities and community members, works to educate citizens of the county on the prevalence of the heroin problem and to identify and expand available resources to combat addition and to end drug related deaths and crime in the community. The GIS department joined the Task Force in 2018 to provide assistance through analysis and mapping. We joined with the thought mind of providing statistics from overdoses, deaths, and crime data. However, our initial ideas were met with resistance as the focus of the group was more on recovery and reaching out to people affected by the crisis. After consideration of the goals of the Task Force and what data we could provide, we created the Local Treatment Resources Viewer. Much of the data available on this online map did not exist prior to this project, so lots of research and data creation took place. Additionally, the Heroin Task Force provided many resources for us to include.
Some members of the Task Force had ideas or suggestions to improve the app and provided a different perspective towards how a user might want to interact with the site. We welcomed their input since a majority of the information we were receiving was completely new to us. The viewer evolved through meetings with the task force, work sessions with the head of LebCo Drug and Alcohol and GIS revisions, the viewer was demonstrated to the Lebanon County Commissioners who enthusiastically gave approval for the viewer to be released to the public. The data available for display includes Medication Assisted Treatment Services, Drug Take-back Locations, Treatment Services, Hospitals, Pharmacies carrying Narcan, and emergency service locations. Each location provides information relative to the service and a link to the corresponding site. To find services near a user’s location, they may use the Search Near Me tool; the tool shows all resources within the defined radius of the searched address. Our hope is that this tool becomes a resource for people who may not have access to transportation or who are proactively looking for assistance close by in the event that a loved one needs help (outside of an emergency). The web app also provides numbers and links for relevant hotlines and support groups in the area and additional information about naloxone, drug take-backs and the Heroin Task Force itself. We included a help tab as well due to the possibility that many potential users will not have used a web app before. The ultimate goal during this project was to create a site that included as much pertinent information as possible for a variety of users without overwhelming or confusing people who are looking for an easy way of locating the best resource for their situation.
Featured: Chester County
Online, interactive and printable mapping galleries enhance Chester County township services
Chester County GIS products and services that municipalities can tap into:
- ChescoViews is a free, easy to use interactive property parcel viewer that allows you to search parcel information by providing an address, the parcel owner’s name, the Uniform Parcel Identifier (UPI), or the Parcel Identification Number (PIN). ChescoViews also allows you to search by street name or street intersection, and you can print an 8 1/2 x 11 or 11x17 map of the area you are interested in.
Because it includes roads, parcels, municipal boundaries, zip code boundaries, floodplains, streams, lakes, railroads, contour lines, soils, wetlands and aerial photographs, ChescoViews is particularly useful to planners, first responders, municipal engineers and others who require this information to provide services.
- ArcGIS Online is a collaborative web GIS provided by ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute) an international supplier of GIS software. ArcGIS OnLine allows you to use, create and share maps, scenes, apps, layers, analytics and data. It provides ready-to-use maps and applications over a secure site on the public Internet. In addition, the ready to use maps and applications can be modified to create items that are unique to your township.
- Chester County GIS has created a Map Gallery – a collection of interactive web maps providing data and information about the county to our community. Existing maps feature county parks, township zoning, voting precincts and polling places, police departments, fire stations and hospitals, and school district locators. You can view these existing maps at www.chesco.org and click on the “Explore Chester County” link to find the prompt for the interactive map gallery.
For information on how Chester County’s GIS Interactive Map Gallery can benefit your municipality, contact the County’s GIS team at (610) 344-6096.
The Pipeline Information Center provides residents with a central location where they can find information on all aspects of pipeline issues including pipeline safety, the pipeline review process, and the latest information on pipeline project activity within Chester County and the surrounding region.
By phone: (610) 344-6096
Featured: Columbia County
The County of Columbia GIS Department recently assisted the County of Montour with a countywide readdressing project.
The project began in October 2016 and completed by September 2017.
Approximately 11,000 addresses had their addresses changed – all municipalities in the County of Montour and two municipalities in the County of Northumberland – to permit emergency services to respond in a timely manner. Addresses out of sequence and address parity were the primary concern in the delay of emergency response times.
The Department collaborated with the United States Postal Service to transition from the old address to the new address. The USPS assisted their customers by forwarding mail from old to new address for one year.
Three databases, one for each county, use the Esri Local Government Information Model schema and are stored in a Microsoft SQL Server versioned Enterprise geodatabase. An additional staging enterprise geodatabase that serves as direct input in the 9-1-1 Center was created. Database replicas between the county source enterprise geodatabase and staging enterprise geodatabase were created to facilitate the data update workflow. Accessory Python scripts are utilized to synchronize replicas among parent and child geodatabases. Further table schema refinement was accomplished using SQL Server queries and views to achieve the functional specification of the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) schema requirements.
The East Central Emergency Network (consolidated 9-1-1 center of Columbia and Montour) uses Logistic Systems, Inc. for their Computer Aided Dispatch.
2018 "Excellence in GIS" award recipients!
The Association's annual "Excellence in GIS" award is given out at the PA GIS Conference.
The recipients of the County GIS Professionals Association of Pennsylvania's "Excellence in GIS" award are the members of the [now dissolved] Next Gen 9-1-1 subcommittee, led by Justin Smith (Cumberland County).
The County GIS Professionals Association of Pennsylvania formed a Next-Gen 9-1-1 Subcommittee in 2015 to make sure that counties were informed of and prepared for the increased demands that Next-Gen 9-1-1 would put on them and their GIS data. What started as email blasts and conference calls grew into to a solid partnership with PEMA that has given counties a seat table and has given them a voice on matters that very much affect them. Justin and his team are very passionate about the work they are doing and have been very effective at moving the effort forward. The group has provided county data stewards with training webinars, in person workshops, and draft data models, all in an effort to assist with the momentous task of getting ready for NG911.
Back row: Justin Smith (Cumberland); Barry Hutchins (Lycoming); Mary K Seville (Fulton); Kevin Eaton (City of Philadelphia); Brad Shirey (Berks)
Front row: Laura Simonetti (Mifflin); Cherin Abdelsamie (Clarion); Stacey Sekkes (Chester); Scott Zubek (Tioga)
Not pictured: Nick Dow (Bucks); Steve Kocsis (Cambria); Dave Skoronski (Luzerne)