Entries by Mike Newman

informed decisions

In a previous post, we listed five reasons to develop your own municipal GIS data: control, breadth, depth, flexibility, and presentation. Taken together, the tangible outcome should be making more informed decisions. To further illustrate this issue, let’s take a look at a side-by-side comparison. The image on the left is a map developed as […]

Developing an edge of pavement layer

A small scale map of your community shows the relationship of streets by using a single line that represents where the approximate center of the road is located. That’s great when the map is “zoomed out” to show the entire municipality. When someone “zooms in” on the map to a neighborhood, you should show them […]

free data

In our last  blog post we talked about 33 feature classes you can map in your community without using a GPS. A key element for mapping new data is that you must have a base map (including aerial photography) to serve as a backdrop for your municipal GIS. If your Pennsylvania community hasn’t yet developed […]

33 Things

33 Things in your community you can map (and publish) without a GPS Your municipality is more than just roads and parcels. There’s lots of stuff that fills in the gaps and makes it unique. With your local knowledge and recent aerial photography, you can start mapping these today. Interested? Get in touch with us […]


Do I need a surveyor to map things in my community? The long answer involves lots of caveats and what-if-but-then-again scenarios, with underlying theory and math related to spherical projection models and datums. However, it isn’t important in our context of online mapping and municipal geospatial data. The short answer is “no” and “yes.” Here’s […]

Good Enough!

When is good enough really great? (cost vs positional accuracy of in-house data) suf ·fi ·cient   sɒˈfiSHÉ’nt/    enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end There is always a cost to developing geospatial data. Cost can be in the form of time or in consultant fees. Paid data geeks […]

Triple Crown and Data Sets

Last year, a horse named American Pharoah swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes to claim the Triple Crown. This hadn’t happened since 1978 and this year, many eyes will be set to see if a horse will win the Triple Crown again this year. Statistically speaking, it is unlikely. A quick Google search […]


The First Step in Municipal GIS When it’s time to have pizza, which of these do you reach for: a phone, a frozen pizza, a bag of flour? Your first step towards starting a municipal geographic information system (GIS) is to determine your preferred project approach. Do you want to order delivery, bake frozen, or […]

Municipal GIS

Why develop municipal geospatial data when we all have Google maps? Need driving directions? Use Google Maps, absolutely. Looking for the nearest grocery store? Use Google Maps, very likely. Trying to find the nearest fire hydrant? Using Google Maps, probably not. Looking for which part of town has trash collection on Tuesday? Using Google Maps, […]


Your grant reporting is due, requiring details on your façade grant program. How do you keep track of all those property details and status of the work? It’s time for the annual holiday parade. How do you inform residents along the parade route of the details for the day? Election day is coming and your […]