For release: IMMEDIATELY
Release Date: 07/28/2015
Mayor Holden Announces Launch of State-of-the-Art GIS Map Portal
Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden announced today the official launch of a new web-based map portal designed to enhance the public’s access to City-Parish Geographic Information System (GIS), or location-based, data. The state-of-the-art map portal builds upon the success of Mayor Holden’s Open Data BR initiative – launched earlier this year with the goal of revolutionizing how the public interacts with City-Parish data – by making City-Parish GIS data, mobile maps and location-based services more accessible to the general public.
“When I announced earlier this year that we were serious about turning our City-Parish government into a hub for digital innovation, I meant it,” said Mayor-President Holden. “Open Data BR served as the initial catalyst that showed what all is possible when we focus our efforts into digitizing and publishing our City-Parish data in a way that puts it in the hands of our citizens. Today’s launch of our new GIS map portal takes that commitment a step further by disseminating complex mapping data in a way that citizens, businesses and even other City-Parish departments can use it to better understand government services and make informed decisions in crisis situations.”
The City-Parish’s Department of Information Services led the development of the portal, which now also provides the public with access to more than 80 on-demand, GIS web services. In addition to providing easy and open access for the public to connect to these services, other City-Parish departments are already taking advantage of the real-time capabilities the portal offers in order to enhance the delivery of citizen-based services.
“While one of the primary goals of our open data efforts has been to put the power of our data in the hands of the public, we are extremely encouraged to see how successful initiatives like Open Data BR and now our new web map portal have been when it comes to eliminating data siloes within our own City-Parish government,” said Eric Romero, Interim Director of the Department of Information Services. “The more we are able to streamline and open up access to our data, the more benefits we will continue to see in the quality of services we provide to all who live, work and play in the Baton Rouge area.”
Romero explained a recent scenario where City-Parish crews responded to an incident that required access to a number of drainage and sanitary sewer maps. Rather than utilizing rolls of paper maps in the field, these same crews were able to consult live data on their mobile devices for on-the-spot decision making.
“These capabilities will be even more pronounced during crisis situations such as those involving severe rainfall, debris removal or as part of hurricane response efforts,” Romero said.
Baton Rouge residents are now able to take advantage of mapping capabilities included within the portal such as a flood zone determination map, which identifies the flood zone attributes of properties and replaces a previous look-up tool that was statewide in nature with one that is much more focused on the Baton Rouge area. Residents can also utilize the “My Government Services” app, which allows the public to find services available at a particular location such as trash and recycling pick-up days or the nearest community center or library. In addition to these tools, businesses that rely heavily on real-time GIS data such as land development, engineering and construction firms are now able to easily add City-Parish property or road data into their own GIS software to assist with a construction project.
“The progress we have seen through the development of this portal is truly extraordinary and I want to commend our entire team for their efforts in getting us to this point,” continued Holden. “Just last year alone, members of our GIS team were selected to present at three national GIS conferences, which further demonstrates how experts across the country are taking note that Baton Rouge means business. Moving forward, we will continue to build on these successes and continue the expansion of our GIS program in becoming a leader in not just the southern United States, but the Nation, for GIS data management.”
The map portal is currently accessible on desktop computers by visiting http://gis.brla.gov and clicking “Map Portal” or on Apple and Android mobile devices by downloading the free Esri Explorer App from the iTunes or Google Play store.