Our County: Bradley County GIS is now recognized as among the very best in Tennessee
by D. Gary Davis
Aug 13, 2013 | 951 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Bradley County Geographic Information System (GIS) has become one of the county’s most important and reliable hi-tech tools.

Since the GIS Department was created about 12 years ago it has seen regular use by the County Planning Office, the County Engineer’s Office, the County Stormwater Department, the County Tax Assessor’s Office and many more. A few of its applications include identifying land use and zoning; locating street center lines; building footprints; identifying floodways, land contours and elevations; and pinpointing environmental issues.

In its simplest form a Geographic Information System is a program designed to present all types of geographical data. The system can merge cartography, statistical analysis and computer science technology. In layman’s terms, it is a tool that captures, analyzes, stores, edits, shares, integrates and displays geographic information that allows your county government to make informed decisions. This specialized computer system allows a user to visualize data in a graphic format and is not limited to only text information.

The County Tax Assessor’s Office uses the GIS regularly to manage parcel tax information, mapping, appraisals and more. Recently, the Assessor’s Office used GIS to develop a new property appraisal system which includes a new Tax Parcel Viewer. This allows a user to simply enter a name or address and zoom in for a view of the parcel’s aerial map. This website can be viewed on computers, tables and even smart phones. Links to the website can be found at the Bradley County GIS homepage or the Bradley County Assessor of Property's home page, http://www.bradleyco.net/propassesorhome.aspx. The new Tax Parcel Viewer URL is http://maps.bradleygis.net/taxparcelviewer.

The county’s GIS was used to make changes to the voting districts following the 2012 redistricting by the Tennessee Legislature. The new GIS voting district maps can now be viewed on the Election Commission’s website. Also, the GIS was very important in creating the new fire dispatch districts for the expanded Bradley County Fire Department. Dispatchers are now able to quickly identify which fire stations are closest to that particular location and which fire station needs to respond.

The system saw extensive use by the County EMA Office as well as FEMA officials following the April 27, 2011, storms. It enabled them to pinpoint the exact paths of the tornadoes and provide detailed information necessary to the recovery effort. The aerial maps that were printed in the Cleveland Daily Banner following the storms were generated by the County GIS. The system is proof that "a picture is worth a thousand words.”

For instance, in the aftermath of the April storms it was much faster to locate 25 addresses by looking at a map than by looking at a printout of 25 addresses on a spreadsheet. Our storm assessment crews were able to create an accurate estimate of damage from the April storms within a matter of hours. These are just a small portion of the GIS applications which help your county government offices run more efficiently, save man hours and save your tax dollars.

Today many organizations use GIS to find solutions to their everyday problems. Emergency 911 uses phone numbers along with addresses to locate where emergency calls originate. Fire departments use hydrant and street, along with address data, to locate fires and water supplies so that fires can be extinguished quickly. Police may use crime data to plot trends of past crimes to forecast where future crimes may occur. GIS can help us understand why traffic jams occur at certain geographic locations, where additional emergency services should be located as our community grows, map where new development should be located and can give insight into how the development will affect transportation, the local environment and local service providers such as schools.

Popular local maps can be found at the GIS website such as tax maps, zoning maps, voting districts (precincts, County Commission districts, Cleveland Council districts, and state representative, state senator and congressional districts). These maps can be downloaded and viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader. The website for Bradley County GIS is: http://www.bradleyco.net/gishome.aspx.

If you have questions about the Bradley County GIS Department, please call director Wayne Owenby at 728-7110 or email wowenby@bradleyco.net.

The GIS is another example of why Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.