County hires Texas firm to digitally map roads

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 13, 2001

[07/13/01] A $94,000 system for mapping roads is expected to help increase the county’s economic opportunities and improve assistance for county residents.

Warren County is joining the list of counties across the country using global positioning systems to help map county roads which, in turn, will enable emergency crews to pinpoint exact locations, E-911 address coordinator Kenny Staggs said.

Warren County has hired Navstar, a mapping specialty company from Texas, to do the work. Crews have been in the county since May traveling county roads collecting data to create a digital map in a project known as “centerline.”

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“This will give us an exact map,” Staggs said. “It will require no guesswork.”

He said one of the biggest advantages to the digital maps for 911 services is that exact locations can be determined.

Global Positioning or GPS uses satellites to define precise latitude and longitude figures.

The road mapping by Navstar will continue through September, and Staggs said the project is almost completed. Staggs will also be trained on the new system and will have the satellite receiver added to his vehicle so if any road changes occur, he can add them in digitally and easily.

The Navstar road mapping project is just part of a long-term Geographical Information System that the county is incorporating.

David Rankin, a consultant for the GIS program, said almost every facet of county and city business deals with geography on some level.

He said the GIS project will give “intelligence to roads.” Assets of the project are that it will allow county officials and employees to exactly pinpoint callers and roads and to know the exact makeup of the road.

He said the new system will tell if the road is paved or gravel, the speed limit on the road and if there are any bridges and the height and weight requirements of the bridges.

It will also be able to identify flood zones, soil types, population, proximity to highways and cultural information such as churches, cemeteries and fire districts.

However, one of the biggest benefits to the county will be help in industrial recruitment, Rankin said.

The system will enable potential industries to obtain exact information such as if the proposed site is in a flood zone, its proximity to railroads, highways and waterways and the exact amount of acreage.

“Counties who have used this for industrial recruitment have been very successful,” Rankin said. “Packaging is real important.”

The overall GIS project is expected to be a five-year project and how much a county can do depends on its leadership and budget capabilities, Rankin said.

“It’s a complicated project,” Rankin said. “It takes a lot of cooperation from different departments. It doesn’t happen over night.”