GIS Department

Articles about NKAPC's geographic information systems department and their map-related projects. NO Image:

Local group presents info and stories about the March 2, 2012 tornado

Posted on April 19, 2016

Direction 2030 comprehensive plan earns national award

Posted on March 24, 2016

Kenton County’s new comprehensive plan—Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choiceis the 2016 recipient of a national Award of Excellence in the Comprehensive Plan – Large Jurisdiction category. The award is one of several accolades granted to planning projects from across the nation by the American Planning Association (APA) County Planning Division and its sister organization, the National Association of County Planners. The award will be presented on April 4 during the APA National Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

“This recognition was a nice surprise,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, executive director of Planning and Development Services of Kenton County (PDS). PDS provides professional staff support to the Kenton County Planning Commission, the board ultimately responsible for crafting and adopting the comprehensive plan.

“Being acknowledged with the respect of your peers is outstanding. In this case, though, it recognizes the fact that this plan was the result of hard work by members of the planning commission, citizens and interest groups from across the county, and of course our staff. This plan was truly a collaborative effort,” said Gordon.

Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. was crafted through an aggressive three-year public engagement process. The plan was grounded in research provided by a national market analyst, most of it from sources bankers use for reviewing development-financing strategies.

Planners and technical experts from PDS’ GIS team then went to work crafting an entirely new concept for content delivery. The final plan (direction2030.org)—there is no printed product—documents its creation, delivers guidance to anyone anywhere 24/7/365, and incorporates GIS technologies to entice users to interact with its contents.

Shortly after the plan’s adoption, PDS planners and GIS professionals created a second website (action.direction2030.org) to keep participants and stakeholders up to date with information from the various implementation efforts being undertaken by the planning commission and others across the community.

This national award follows an Award of Merit for an Outstanding Comprehensive Plan given last year by the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Each year the American Planning Association’s County Planning Division and the National Association of County Planners gives out County Planning Project Awards. Only one Award of Excellence and one Award of Merit may be granted per category each year. If the awards jury finds that none of the nominations in a particular category meets the desirable standards, they may withhold the award in that category for that year.

“This recognition, without question, goes ultimately to the countless residents who came out to express their hopes and dreams for Kenton County’s future. Much more than merely a title, Direction 2030: Your Voice. Your Choice. really did represent the ultimate goal for our process and our final product,” concluded Gordon. “We couldn’t be prouder that our collaborative efforts are being held up as a model.”

“Thank you Kenton County!”


GIS staffer named to NKY emergency response planning committee

Posted on March 04, 2016

Kathy Stephens GISP, an associate GIS specialist at PDS was appointed a member of the Northern Kentucky Emergency Planning Committee (NKEPC) during the group’s January meeting.

In making the appointment, Rodney Bell, Safety Manager for Sanitation District No.1, stated, “It’s great to have a PDS representative on board. It will provide additional capability and credibility for our three-county region.”

Stephens believes that PDS can be of great support to the organization and its goals. LINK-GIS and the mapping services it provides to both Kenton and Campbell Counties is an invaluable resource to those who must respond when emergencies strike the three-county community. Several services provided include: creation of large wall maps of fire hydrant locations, customized hydrant information based on gallons per minute (GPM) data, map books, crime site maps, analyzed data and installed stand-alone mapping programs within the trucks for several local fire departments.

PDS staff also assist Kenton County emergency services manager Steve Hensley with selecting locations for new emergency warning sirens. In the aftermath of the 2012 tornado that struck southern Kenton County, PDS’ GIS team assisted in the recovery process by providing products to aid in surveying the damaged structures for assessment of the storm severity. 

In support of that role, senior GIS programmer Christy Powell, GISP, is developing a mobile app that will allow inspectors to capture field data and directly link them to a FEMA document for easier submittal processing.

In 1986 Congress passed the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act also known as the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA Title III). NKEPC was created from that federal legislation as a federally-mandated entity composed of state and local officials, business representatives, and members of the media.

NKEPC members come from local emergency responders, industry, government, education, media, and community groups. The group’s main function is to provide joint emergency planning, training, and public outreach. 

Out of Kentucky’s 120 counties, NKEPC is the only emergency planning group to serve a multi-county area. The other 117 counties in the Commonwealth have individual local emergency planning committees.

The Northern Kentucky Emergency Planning Committee is administered through the Boone County Emergency Management Agency.


NKYmapLAB initiative celebrates first year, expands into new analyses

Posted on March 04, 2016

The Northern Kentucky mapLAB (NKYmapLAB) initiative wrapped up its’ first year of projects last month, producing 11 high-quality poster map displays, and eight Story Maps. Story Maps are online multi-media applications that allow users to interact with maps, images, videos, embedded websites, and other documents (think PDFs).

NKYmapLAB projects help local leaders and citizens better understand issues affecting Kenton County, while highlighting the analytic capabilities of LINK-GIS. The first year’s topics include:

  • Energy Efficient Construction
  • Solar Potential
  • Urban Tree Canopy
  • Parks
  • Current Bridge Conditions
  • Walkability
  • KY 536
  • Baseball Across the Region
  • Plan4Health
  • Buttermilk-Orphanage Road Realignment
  • Linden Grove Cemetery and Arboretum

NKYmapLAB products were presented at the 2015 Fall Kentucky American Planning Association Conference in Frankfort and then again at the 2015 Kentucky GIS Conference in Owensboro. In June NKYmapLAB staff will continue to share their work with GIS users from around the world, having been selected to present at the 2016 ESRI International User Conference. 

The NKYmapLAB initiative was recognized with a first place finish in the Map Gallery at the 2015 Kentucky GIS Conference and a third place finish in the Large-Format Printed Map Category at the 2015 ESRI International User Conference.

The initiative’s Walkability Story Map garnered the attention of the Story Map team at ESRI and became part of their Story Map gallery on ESRI’s website. View it here on the LINK-GIS site.

“While getting the attention of the GIS community is great, the real reward is being able to assist a community with an issue when they ask for it,” stated Ryan Kent, GISP, part of the NKYmapLAB team.  

NKYmapLAB has partnered with agencies, where mutually beneficial, in order to improve their collaborative work efforts by leveraging existing GIS capabilities, cartography, and data partnerships. One such project was created in collaboration with the City of Fort Mitchell on a proposed realignment of the Dixie Highway-Buttermilk Pike-Orphanage Road intersection.

As 2016 gets underway, NKYmapLAB has already released two products: “Trails of Kenton County” and “Landslides in Kenton County.” The initiative seeks to continue its goal of addressing one topic per month over the course of the year.

Louis Hill, GISP, the other part of the NKYmapLAB team, stated that “so far NKYmapLAB work has been very well received. It’s also continued to generate requests for technical assistance on projects that require a deeper level of analysis and partnership.”

For more details on NKYmapLAB, email Louis Hill, GISP, AICP, or Ryan Kent, GISP, or call them at 859.331.8980.

NKYmapLAB is available online and on Twitter @NKYmapLAB.


GIS staff pursues roadshow highlighting capabilities of new website

Posted on December 29, 2015

Dozens of people across Northern Kentucky use the LINK-GIS map viewer on a daily basis for business or personal applications. With the system’s new release, users can now access the viewer’s interactive maps on their mobile devices.

“I have to tell you that I don’t know that I’d be able to do half of what I do without LINK-GIS,” said Seth Cutter of the Campbell County Fiscal Court. “It’s a great resource, and the latest release is terrific!”

The newest release of the map viewer has a similar look and feel as the previous version, but with even easier access to mapping information. This easier access to data means the functionality of the map viewer has changed in a few areas. To make users aware of the changes and how to interact with the map viewer on their mobile devices, LINK-GIS staff literally took the mobile map viewer on the road.

The road trip began with a visit to the Campbell County Fiscal Court chambers, where attendees included administrators from Campbell County Public Works, Planning and Zoning, and the Fiscal Court as well as the Cities of Alexandria and Cold Spring. Christy Powell, GISP, Senior GIS Programmer and Joe Busemeyer, GISP, Principal GIS Programmer, showcased the capabilities of the new map viewer for over two hours.

The session allowed attendees to interact with the map viewer, ask questions, and engage in conversation with the Powell and Busemeyer who developed the new map viewer.

The map viewer was received well by Luke Mantle who is director of Campbell County Public Works. “I use the map viewer eight to ten times a day.”

The road trip continued on to the City of Covington, where Powell and Busemeyer showcased the map viewer for several of Covington’s administrators—from Public Works, Urban Forestry, Zoning, and Code Enforcement. Covington officials were very excited with the new map viewer.

As Jessica Moss of the city stated, “As the City of Covington moves toward mobile implementation, the LINK-GIS map viewer has become increasingly beneficial to city workers, both out in the field and in the office.”

She added, “Recently we provided many city staff with iOS devices for work phones, and the improved JavaScript map viewer allows our employees to work more efficiently and effectively thanks to having such a great resource in the palms of their hands.”

The road trip concluded with a visit to Thomas More College. Students from ecology and environmental science attended an afternoon session showcasing the new map viewer. More than 20 students spent two hours with the developers and asked a variety of questions about data and applications.

If you would be interested in having PDS’s website developers speak to your group, please contact the PDS office.


Gov. Beshear declares October 12th the beginning of GIS Week

Posted on October 12, 2015

The importance of the use of geographic information systems (GIS) for the Commonwealth was highlighted by Gov. Steve Beshear's declaration of October 12-16, 2015 as GIS Week.

The Kentucky Association of Mapping Professionals (KAMP) fosters the understanding and improvement of the management and use of geospatial information throughout the Commonwealth in all levels of government, academia, and the private sector. Continuing its tradition from previous years, KAMP has organized the 22nd Annual Kentucky GIS Conference from October 12-14 in Owensboro.

KAMP President, Lance Morris, said that hundreds of professionals in the geospatial industry from Kentucky and neighboring states are expected to attend the conference. This year's event highlights the use of unmanned aircraft systems and unmanned aerial vehicles in surveying, mapping and emergency response.

Geographic Information Systems are computer-based tools for mapping, analyzing, and understanding our world and the events affecting it, through combining the power of a database with the visualization capabilities offered by maps and web applications. Thus, GIS provides a unifying framework to help resolve complex issues in the fields of environmental protection, pollution control, land use, natural resources management, preservation and conservation.

GIS mapping and information management serve our communities in cities, counties and regions through activities such as transportation, construction, facilities and utilities management, tourism, archaeological and historical preservation, economic development, education, health care, emergency preparedness, response and mitigation planning.

KAMP will also present awards to individuals making significant contributions to the GIS and mapping community, for outstanding services to KAMP, and to an exemplary GIS system implementation, this one presented last year to the Cabinet for Economic Development's Select Kentucky website.

For more information about the 2015 Kentucky GIS Conference, please visit the KAMP website.

 


Access 30+ pieces of detailed property information with a single click

Posted on October 12, 2015

LINK-GIS’ new map viewer tool was put into service recently. Following an effort to beef up the information available with one click of the mouse, Map Viewer will now serve up numerous levels of property information in a quick, simple, and concise manner.

“One of our top priorities was to pull information from many sources into one list,” said Christy Powell, GISP, PDS’ senior GIS programmer. These data are being pulled from over 30 sources including community information, utility services, inspector contacts, and school and political districts.

“Although this information had been available on the previous version, the new website simplifies the process of getting results,” said Joe Busemeyer, GISP, PDS’ principal GIS programmer, who along with Powell created the new map viewer tool.

Powell and Busemeyer explained how simple the new tool is to use.

From the LINK-GIS homepage, find the Explore LINK-GIS Maps section on the bottom left side of the page (see Figure 1). Type the name or address you’re looking to find, choose the county and search type, then click GO.

The LINK-GIS Map Viewer will open and provide the search results. Click on the intended parcel from the list and get the detailed information along with a map of the property (see Figure 2).

“We created a similar list for flood plain information that includes many items from the FEMA floodplain information in one place,” said Busemeyer.

Access to that information is also a single click away on the water drop icon near the top left of the Map Viewer. Information passed from the Explore LINK-GIS Maps widget on the LINK-GIS homepage will automatically populate that widget.

“I hate having to type the exact same information several times on a website,” said Powell. “This new Map Viewer capability should help with that.”

Powell said that PDS’ programming team will continue to add innovative features to the online mapping options for the LINK-GIS website. In addition to the Map Viewer, there is already a Park Finder website available and a polling place locator in development that are aimed at niche interest groups.

 


GIS staff provides data to KY CMRS Board, brings $1.1M back to NKY

Posted on October 12, 2015

As part of its ongoing collaboration with E9-1-1 dispatch services in Campbell, Kenton, and Pendleton Counties, PDS’ GIS staff recently submitted Public Safety Access Point geographic boundary data to the state. This work by staff will result in $1.1 million in funding flowing from Frankfort to those dispatch centers.

A substantial portion of the cost of providing E9-1-1 service comes from fees paid by those who have a phone. In some areas of the state, the local phone provider collects a land line fee and distributes it directly to the dispatch centers in whose jurisdictions the land lines are located. However, wireless service providers pass the fee revenue on to the state for distribution to the requisite dispatch centers.

“This assessment is required every year by the State’s Commercial Mobile Radio Service Board (CMRS),” said Tom East, GISP, Senior GIS Specialist. “Before the board distributes the cell phone-generated revenue, it needs to know that the local dispatch centers have the ability to locate cellular users within their jurisdictions who call 9-1-1 for emergency assistance. Providing accurate and up-to-date geographic data is a requirement to receive the funding.”

Because PDS’ GIS mapping system is the basis for dispatching emergency services in Campbell, Kenton, and Pendleton Counties, staff is in the best position to address the state’s questions, according to East.

These typically deal with the locations of cell towers as well as the credibility of address data.

“There’s a significant amount of money riding on our answers to the state’s questions,” said East. “LINK-GIS is geared to providing this level of information to the dispatch centers on an ongoing basis. This exercise gives us an opportunity to show the state that we’re maintaining the high standards and timeliness of data necessary for emergency dispatch purposes.”

Dispatch services are provided in Campbell and Pendleton Counties by single, countywide agencies. In Kenton County, these services are provided currently by Kenton County for unincorporated parts of the county and for all cities except Erlanger, Elsmere, and Crescent Springs which are served by Erlanger’s Dispatch Center.

 


NKYmapLAB receives international recognition at annual Esri conference

Posted on October 08, 2015

An initiative begun in January by two members of PDS’ GIS team achieved considerable attention during the Esri annual conference held recently in San Diego. NKYmapLAB seeks to highlight the wealth of GIS data that have been collected by the LINK-GIS/Kenton County partnership since its inception in 1985. It accomplishes this by publishing a monthly map that highlights these data as they relate to a topic of current discussion.

PDS staff and one of their entries in the “large format printed map” category earned a third place in the international completion.

“Competition for attention to your maps at this annual conference is intense,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director. “Thousands of maps from across the globe are displayed. To do something that catches the eye of your peers and prompts them to vote for your work is really tough. I’m so proud that work from our GIS professionals was recognized in such a forum.”

Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) is an international GIS software company that invites it’s users to share examples of their mapping work at its annual user conference which typically draws 16,000+ GIS professionals from around the world.

The Esri Map Gallery display provides an exciting and vibrant display of the very best in current cartography practices. Approximately the size of two football fields, the exhibit allows users to showcase their talents and work to other conference attendees, and acts as a barometer for the current state of mapping globally.

Map gallery entries must be created with Esri software and submitted by someone who registers for and attends the Esri user conference. The creator(s) of the map must be present for at least one hour during the map gallery opening and evening reception to discuss their maps and answer questions.

This year PDS, under the NKYmapLAB initiative, submitted four map products to be reviewed and voted on by conference attendees and Esri staff. Under the “large format printed map” category, the PDS team of Louis Hill, GISP (Geospatial Data Analyst) Ryan Kent, GISP (Principal GIS Data Analyst) and Trisha Brush, GISP (Director of GIS Administration) received third place.

“This is a huge honor as there were many wonderful and worthy maps submitted,” said Brush. “Over the last year the focus of NKYmapLAB was to battle some of the challenges with big GIS data while addressing three important elements sharing, analysis, and visualization.”

According to Hill, “This recognition is a nice acknowledgement of what we are trying to accomplish: keeping the long-range planning goals of Direction 2030 at the forefront of public discussion and making the general public more aware of the capabilities that GIS can provide to our community.”

Kent added, “To be selected by your peers, who know what you go through to create these maps, is a sort of vindication that you are doing something right. We don’t create maps that just look pretty, they need to tell a story and get a message across. The Esri Map Gallery is the perfect venue to showcase that.”

The NKYmapLAB initiative features eight story maps accompanied with large posters. A story map is a media where mapping professionals can combine authoritative maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content. All published NKYmapLAB maps are stored here for your review and use.


LINK-GIS maps now useable on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices

Posted on August 28, 2015

Stating the obvious, time flies in the world of technology. In the six years since the last major update of the LINK-GIS website, many things in the world of technology have changed. Back then the iPhone was on its 3G release. Android devices had been on the market for less than a year. And, the iPad didn’t exist yet.

According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 64 percent of American adults own a smartphone now. A majority of these adults use mobile devices to get directions and other location-based information.

Until now, the 2009 version of the LINK-GIS map viewer didn’t function on mobile devices.

Recent technological advances have enabled LINK-GIS to migrate from the older Flash player based platform to a newer JavaScript based mobile-friendly platform. The overall look and feel of the map viewer on the new JavaScript platform is similar to the old Flash platform, but with even easier access to information.

Additionally, the new technology allows for the creation of customized, specialty maps such as PDS’ new Park Finder application. This new app helps users find information about parks and recreation in just a couple clicks. More map specific applications are on the horizon.

“The new map viewer function of the LINK-GIS website is heads and shoulders above what we’ve been able to provide in the past,” said Dennis Gordon, FAICP, PDS’ executive director. “And, while that’s noteworthy in and of itself, the fact of which I’m most proud is that our GIS staff built it from scratch, in-house—and that took a lot of programming to accomplish.”

The new LINK-GIS map viewer is located here. PDS’ new Park Finder Application is located here.

LINK-GIS’ “Classic” map viewer will still be available to the public for a limited time so users can get acclimated to the functionality of the new JavaScript map viewer. In the coming months, PDS will hold several events to showcase the new map viewer and specialty mapping applications.

Information about these events will be available on the LINK-GIS website.


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