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What Is a GIS?
A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer based tool for mapping which stores geographic information in layers. GIS technology combines common database operations such as query and statistical analysis with the visualization and geographic analysis offered by maps. Essentially, a GIS gives the user the ability to associate information with a feature on a map. GIS is a tool used by individuals and organizations, schools, governments, and businesses seeking innovative ways to solve their problems. Map making and geographic analysis are not new, but a GIS performs these tasks better and faster than do the old manual methods.

About GIS for State and Local Government
People in state and local government use GIS every day to help them solve problems. Often the data collected and used by one agency or department can be used by another. Following are examples of how Gis can be used.

Tax Assessments
Property Valuation Administrators (PVA's) are constantly challenged to locate and identify characteristics of new property and to keep assessments in line with rapidly changing markets. A GIS enables the PVA to locate and describe each parcel of land more efficiently. This also ensures that tax bills are linked to the appropriate property.

Assess the Effects of Land Use Changes
A GIS can be used to find areas that will be affected by changes in existing land use or zoning. The GIS can display the current land use and zoning for parcels and provide the names and addresses of the owners.

Track Cadastral Information
The GIS database can be used to store and display parcel information such as legal descriptions, ownership, assessment, and tax information. In addition the cadastral maps developed using the GIS can be used as basemaps for water, electric, gas or other public utilities.

Assist Community Development
Census date displayed using a GIS show trends or patterns that exist within a population.

Aid in Crime Prevention
Because a GIS can display patterns and trends in data, law enforcement use GIS to show the location and frequency of different crimes.

Manage Local Resources
Local governments use GIS to manage their resources such as soils, geology, and current land cover. The GIS can generate a statistical report containing information for each land use class by county or for the entire state.

Aid in Redistricting
A GIS stores and displays census date according to the needs of the user.

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