GIS, or Geographic Information System (GIS) lets us visualize data on a map. This data is both spatial and attribute. Spatial data references the location while attribute data is the information about the source. For example: The map shows either the actual rooftop of Hammond High School or a reference point on the map. That is spatial data. Then you may find the information about that school, such as name and number of students, in a tab field. That is attribute data. When the two fields are used together, GIS becomes an effective tool in problem solving.
Tangipahoa Parish Government created its first GIS Department in 2008, with one GIS Specialist working to assemble various forms of data including parcels, wards, flood zones, districts and many others. These are combined to create a dynamic resource when searching for both the physical locations of geographic features, and the attributes that correspond to those features.
The department is using the most commonly known, world-renowned suite of mapping software, ArcGIS (a product of the Environmental Standards Research Institute, or ESRI) to incorporate data from several Parish departments, such as the Clerk of Court, Assessor, Registrar, 911, Emergency Management and Tangipahoa Economic Development, as well as state and federal agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, FEMA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. We have also reached out to local utilities, to include data such as power, sewer, water and gas availability.
The GIS system is currently being used to share information between Parish Government departments, such as in providing a Web-based mapping service to the Permit Office that layers the latest FEMA digital flood data over the Clerk's parcel and assessment data. This has helped the Permit Office to render more timely and accurate flood zone determinations for their customers.
The goal of this department is to have a public, Web-based, real-time, one-site point-of-access to parcel and assessment data, flood data, district information and other pertinent data.