Using the Science of Where to Connect with the Community

Latest GIS innovations for local government

BLOG POST | Aug 31, 2017

by Rachel Bingham, digital media & communications specialist, ICMA 

At this year’s Esri User’s Conference, I got to see firsthand how local governments are using GIS to create resilient communities. A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. From issuing building permits to restoring brownfields to repairing roads, so much of what local governments manage is location-based and GIS plays a critical role.

What you don’t typically associate GIS with is community engagement. It is often thought of as a behind the scenes tool, providing data and information that is shared with the public through community websites and social media. Esri’s new tool, ArcGIS Hub, allows local governments to back community-driven goals with GIS data and then share them with the community on a personalized, user-friendly site. Initiatives range from efforts to combat homelessness to preventing the spread of vector-borne diseases to reducing neighborhood blight.

One initiative I found particularly relevant was the one addressing the opioid epidemic sweeping our country. Local governments are using ArcGIS Hub to educate their community; track the number of prescriptions; where they are written, and how many and where overdoses occur; share information on treatment facilities and prescription drug drop-off locations; to tie these aspects together in a cohesive response strategy. You can learn more about ArcGIS Hub and the initiative templates offered here.

Check out the list below for more resources on combatting the opioid epidemic.

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