What is a Geographic Information System?
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is “an organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and personnel designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display all forms of geographically referenced information – information about place.” (Understanding Geographic Information Systems. Environmental Systems Research Institute)
Why a Commission GIS?
The Commission’s GIS was started in 1989 through funding by the New Hampshire Legislature providing each of the nine Regional Planning Commissions with GIS hardware, software, and staff training. The purpose in establishing a GIS at each of the Commissions was:
- To promote the use of GIS as a planning tool at the local and regional levels,
- To extend the utility and availability of the State GIS Data Archive (New Hampshire GRANIT System) to the local level, and
- To develop knowledge and understanding of GIS at the Commission level to be passed along to municipalities when they begin to develop their own GIS applications.
The Commission’s GIS is used as a support to the work program which consists of transportation planning, natural resources planning, local assistance, economic development and community development block grant administration. In addition to serving a support role to the Commission, the Commission’s GIS is involved in working with local municipalities, State agencies, education institutions, non-profits and the general public on providing data management and mapping.
In addition to using information from the NH GRANIT System, the Commission’s GIS acquires and develops GIS digital data from Federal, State, and local entities for use in our work program, as well as for project specific activities. Even though many different data layers exist in the NH GRANIT System, scale, age and the availability of some of the GRANIT data make it imperative that additional data is developed and that the existing information is continually updated and maintained.
Services Provided by the Commission’s GIS: