Two simple goals drove initiation of PDS’ NKYmapLAB project: to illustrate the robust analytical capabilities of LINK-GIS and to use those capabilities to support Kenton County’s economic development program. As those goals are being realized now 18 months later, NKYmapLAB has also garnered top honors during this year’s awards program of the Kentucky Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-KY).
The 2016 APA-KY Special Merit Award for Outstanding Use of Technology in Planning was given to NKYmapLAB for the project’s ongoing effort to highlight community issues and educate the public using GIS technology.
“This award is a great recognition for our team,” said Louis Hill, GISP, AICP, geospatial data analyst for PDS and project manager for NKYmapLAB. “I’d like to think that it acknowledges not only our efforts to better use technology and GIS, but also to use it in a meaningful way—one that makes our cities, our county, and our citizens better informed and more proactive.”
In announcing NKYmapLAB’s initiation last January, PDS’ executive director Dennis Gordon said, “We’ll soon celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of LINK-GIS’ founding. That makes it one of the oldest GIS systems in this part of the country. And, because time has a way of translating into data within these systems, LINK-GIS is a veritable treasure trove of intelligence.”
Gordon went on then to say that he was banking that when the community is exposed to ongoing examples of GIS analytics, more people will come to appreciate what PDS and its partners have built for the community. Somewhat prophetically, he also asserted that outside interests would come to recognize NKYmapLAB’s capabilities.
Some of the topics covered to date by NKYmapLAB include issues as diverse as: energy efficiency; landslides; urban tree canopy; and, walkability—topics that are part of Direction 2030, Kenton County’s new cutting-edge comprehensive plan.
“There’s no secret to the fact that a geographic information system (GIS) can be one of the most potent tools a community can have in its arsenal when it comes to economic development,” said Gordon last January. “The ability to provide enormous amounts of geospatial data in short periods of time can mean the difference between winning or losing a prospect.”
LINK-GIS data have been a useful resource for recent economic development discussions being pursued by members of Kenton County Fiscal Court. Future NKYmapLAB products will begin the public awareness phase of Kenton County’s economic development program.
LINK-GIS is an interlocal partnership made up of Kenton County Fiscal Court, SD1, the Northern Kentucky Water District, and PDS. PDS is the managing partner.