Watching Our Water Ways

Environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related.
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Interactive maps make the land more meaningful

April 9th, 2010 by cdunagan

I love maps — especially the new-fangled, interactive, online ones based on geographic information systems. Click a box and roads appear. Click another box and you get city boundaries, and so on.

From Bainbridge Island's new mapping application. (Click to enlarge)

Bainbridge Island this week announced its new online mapping application, which allows anyone to build a map to his or her own specifications. For those focused on water issues, it’s an easy way to locate streams, wetlands and watersheds. I do wish, however, that the streams were named on the map.

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UPDATE: April 13, 2010

In a story in today’s Kitsap Sun, reporter Tristan Baurick says the mapping system will save city staff time and improve their efficiency.

He quoted Gretchen Robinson, a geographic information systems specialist, as saying, “A lot of people call just to find the elevation of their property. This mapping application will answer that.”
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I congratulate Bainbridge Island along with other local governments throughout Puget Sound who have developed this way of building maps without downloading special software.

Thurston County was one of the first and is still one of the best to build these maps and continue to upgrade its online mapping system.

Mason County uses the same mapping application, with plenty of information included.

King and Snohomish county maps work pretty well. I’m a little less impressed with Pierce County’s, possibly because I have not used it enough to understand its quirks.

I don’t believe Kitsap County has an interactive map of this kind, except for its parcel-search map, which works well for auditor, assessor and treasurer information but does not include natural resource data.

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3 Responses to “Interactive maps make the land more meaningful”

  1. groovyjoker Says:

    Awesome! Interactive mapping is the best, and you mentioned the Kitsap County Parcel Search system. There is absolutely no reason why every county in this state should not be integrating their natural resource data from their Comprehensive Land Use Management Plans with their Parcel Search systems for more informative, effective searches – aimed primarily at the potential landowner, and current landowner. Other members of this audience include legal, agencies, consultants and academia.

    BTW – looking for some wetland data? Check out the new National Wetland Inventory BETA mapper at:
    Not fully functional yet, but coming soon…
    http://www.fws.gov/wetlands/

  2. cdunagan Says:

    UPDATE: April 13, 2010

    In a story in today’s Kitsap Sun, reporter Tristan Baurick says the mapping system will save city staff time and improve their efficiency.

    He quoted Gretchen Robinson, a geographic information systems specialist, as saying, “A lot of people call just to find the elevation of their property. This mapping application will answer that.”

  3. Bainbridge Conversation » Blog Archive » Bainbridge launches interactive mapping system Says:

    [...] Kitsap Sun environmental reporter Chris Dunagan discussed the mapping system on his blog, Watching Our Waterways. Read his take HERE. [...]

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"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."Baba Dioum, Senegalese conservationist

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