What is GIS?

GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. A GIS is any software system primarily used for:

  • Capturing, creating, storing, manipulating, and analyzing geographic data.
  • To extract information from the data
  • Present the information via maps, visualizations, and tables.

What is Geographic Data?

Geographic data, is:

  • Any data referencing a point or area on the Earth’s surface and usually, but not always,
  • Has coordinate values associated to that point or area.
  • Comes in various data formats such as: tables, text files, shapefiles, imagery, etc.
  • Also referred to as geodata; geospatial, GIS, or locational data.

An example of geographic data is a house address. A house address:

  • References a point on the Earth’s surface
  • Has information associated with it – a house number and a street name
  • Can be assigned coordinate values

How is Geographic Data Created?

Geographic data can be captured and created using various collection methods (digitization, GPS, aerial photography, etc.) and software systems (ESRI, Quantum GIS, etc.), and stored in various formats (vector, rasters, tables, etc.).

The Town currently uses ESRI’s ArcGIS 10.2 Suite and Carlson’s Survey 2017 software systems for generating and manipulating geographic data and creating cartographic products.

For field data collection, the Town uses a TopCon GRS-1 GPS receiver and PG-A1 external antenna that provides 3-cm accuracy.

How is GIS used by the Town?

  • E911 Addressing
    • Assign, maintain, and display all address in Town limits for E911 services
  • Zoning:
    • Building Footprints – capture and maintain building footprints for zoning information 
    • Parcels – edit and maintain parcels for parcel area size, ownership, and easements
    • Zoning Designation – edit and maintain zoning designation for zoning information
    • Floodplain and Zones– determine location of property in relation to flood plain and zones
  • Reference and Visualization:
    • Town Limits – display previous and current Front Royal Town limits
    • Aerial Imagery – reference previous and current imagery on maps
    • Maps – present information via simple and effective maps