The Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission’s GIS department is currently working to develop and implement a comprehensive data quality strategy. The goal is to assure constituents that the GIS maps they get from NKAPC are of the highest quality possible.
This project is necessary largely due to increases in technology and expectations from elected officials and the public. Because NKAPC’s computerized mapping system was one of the nation’s earliest, some of its data do not meet standards accepted widely today by GIS professionals.
“What we’re doing is establishing a standard of excellence for every component of our system, making sure it’s the highest quality we have the ability to provide,” said Trisha Brush, deputy director for GIS administration. “Once we’ve established these standards, we’ll compare them with our current status and then develop plans to get us from where we are to where we want to be.”
Brush says public safety concerns will drive which components of the system are upgraded first. From there, prioritization of other upgrades will take into account the number of people impacted. “This is data that a lot of emergency response professionals use,” said Brush. “Our efforts will make it easier to find a person’s address, which will decrease response time. That’s important when lives or property may hang in the balance.”
Much of the data that Brush and her team develop is used in other ways that residents don’t realize. Kenton County Schools uses the information to plan school bus routes each year. Even local pizza delivery people find it helpful.
MapQuest and Google are two of the web service providers that purchase and use the information Brush’s team supplies. “We realize this project may take a number of years to complete, but it needs to be done,” said Brush. “The better data we have, the better the quality of maps and analyses it will produce. And, the better the maps and analyses, the better the services we’re able to provide to our constituents.”