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Why GIS is an important gig
Dustin Michew
Dustin Michew is GIS coordinator for the city of Hinesville. - photo by Photo provided.

Tuesday is Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day! I realize that many of you do not share my enthusiasm nor have any idea what GIS is or why it deserves to have an entire day dedicated to it.

As the City of Hinesville’s GIS coordinator, I am pretty use to being referred to as the "mapping guy who works on the first floor of City Hall." So, I want to teach you a little bit about what I do and why it’s so important.

A major aspect of my job is making maps (hence, the nickname), but much of my work deals with updating and maintaining city data, 250 layers of city data to be correct.

These data layers include sewer, water and stormwater, new roads and realignments, zoning, commission districts, transit, flood zone information and crime (like what you see in the weekly newspaper crime maps).

Being the keeper of city data is a big responsibility and I have to work very closely with various departments across the county and city, including building inspections and code enforcement, the police and fire department, public works, the city clerk, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission and more.

However, I don’t just serve city and county officials; I also serve people just like you. Some of the services of my office include providing printed and digital copies of maps and giving access to paper copies of preliminary FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps.

Every day, GIS is utilized in your community and communities all over the world to improve decision making through providing dynamic options for query and analysis. It’s an important function of almost every city that sort of flies under the radar as this silent servant of support.

On Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., stop by City Hall to visit our GIS Day table. I’ll be available to answer questions and help you learn more about GIS.

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