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HomeNewsArchivesNew Maps Mean Greater Accuracy for Planners and First Responders

New Maps Mean Greater Accuracy for Planners and First Responders

May 9, 2008 — New mapping information will help agencies throughout the V.I. government in planning management and emergency response.
A number of government agencies will be able to use the enhanced mapping capabilities, thanks to an agreement between the office of Lt. Gov. Gregory R. Francis and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources. A demonstration of the new technology at the lieutenant governor's invitation Wednesday brought together representatives of the Water and Power Authority, the Department of Public Works, Police, Fire, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
The new mapping capabilities will allow people needing help to get it faster.
"It is challenging to give directions to first responders," said Shawna Richards, the lieutenant governor's communications director.
Teresa Anduze-Parris of the lieutenant governor's office offered some details of the meeting with the first-responder agencies.
"The demonstration started with a PowerPoint presentation and ended with a live demonstration of the actual digital imagery of St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John and Water Island," Anduze-Parris said. "The aerial photos have been added to the territorial geographic information system (GIS) management database."
While all agencies are using some form of mapping, this information is new data to improve government services. Now first responder agencies will have access to current aerial maps of the territory.
The data was acquired by a joint effort between Francis' office and the U.S. Geological Survey of Puerto Rico, Anduze-Parris said.
The sharing of this data results from a memorandum of agreement between DPNR and the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to share critical information relating to development planning and permitting in the territory, according to a news release. Both organizations will be able to transfer data such as cadastral and real property parcel records.
In addition to its first-responder uses, DPNR will be able to use the information to enhance its planning and resource-management functions.
"GIS technology will undoubtedly help our territory in the development of effective infrastructure planning, and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources is an integral part of that," Francis said, according to the release.
DPNR Commissioner Robert S. Mathes has lauded the data sharing as the "first step toward the tracking of development permitting in the territory, and ultimately the assessment of cumulative development impacts on the coastal zone."
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