How to Get More Value from your County WebGIS

A County WebGIS site is an extremely useful tool for sharing data with the public. It can also be a powerful tool for you! Maximize your investment in a WebGIS by taking advantage of innovative ways to leverage the system that is already in place.

  1. Take advantage of the WebGIS for every County Department. Not only is a WebGIS a great data repository, it can also be used to streamline internal workflows and data sharing across Departments. The Weed Superintendent can utilize the Assessor’s parcel data to make data collection and citizen outreach easier. The Emergency Manager can see hazardous material locations or ambulance districts to help with emergency preparedness. Zoning officials can make zoning available to everyone. In 2018, County WebGIS sites with four or more Departmental Tabs had 350% more page views and 280% more total website events than those serving only the Assessor’s Department.
  2. Think outside the box. A WebGIS can display anything that that has a spatial component, whether that be permanent or temporary. Examples include showing planned and completed road projects, land developments under construction, locations of damaged roads affected by a disaster, or addresses of first responders for disaster preparedness. Great examples include the Otoe County Roads Department sharing Project Status (click here and open the Roads Tab) or Wayne County Emergency Manager sharing locations of 2019 flood damage and associated road closings (read full blog here).
  3. Take Your WebGIS on the Road. The WebGIS has the same functionality on a smartphone or tablet as it does on a desktop computer. Whether you’re an Assessor out in the field doing on-site examinations or a Weeds Superintendent collecting infestation data, having access to your WebGIS in the field can be a very useful. In 2018, 30% of all gWorks WebGIS traffic came from a mobile device. This was up from 25% the previous year.
  4. Include an easy-to-find link to your WebGIS site on your County’s home page! This will make it easier than ever for anyone to find your WebGIS. And the more links a site has, the easier Google can find it. So far in 2019, Google and Bing searches are responsible for 31% of County WebGIS traffic. Opening the County’s WebGIS site directly from the county’s home site accounts for about 33% of all WebGIS visits.
  5. Spatial Analysis. GIS is more than pretty maps. The added benefit of spatial analysis to detect patterns and changes can lead to better decision-making. If there is a flood, what areas and homes will be at risk? Where are the county’s signs and which need replaced because they don’t meet reflectivity standards? Spatial analysis can help plan for demographic changes to a community, identify trends in property sales, or estimating property damage in the event of a disaster. The WebGIS Buffer Tool is great for doing this type of analysis.

By understanding the value of GIS and exploring and innovating new ways to use a WebGIS, government agencies can continue to improve services and county workflows while connecting with citizens.