By Laura Brandon
The Manlius Town Board is working to produce a new computer mapping program that will eventually allow residents to access an array of detailed information about their properties and neighborhoods instantly.
"The new program will connect people with information more directly, and it will help with coordination and communication among the villages and the town," said Supervisor Mark Tetley. "It will be a more efficient service and will enable the town government to be more responsive to geographic data requests in a timely manner because so much information will be at hand."
A geographic information systems (GIS) application is a program that stores mapped data and allows users to select from a list of features and display all of the selected features on a single map.
The current system was created in 2003 by a local engineering firm contracted by the town and is funded by a grant from the state. It meets most of the needs of the residents by displaying the size of land parcels and zoning designations, according to Councilor Nick Marzola, who is involved with the project. He said the new system would have significantly more data, including watersheds, the height and slope of land and an accurate birds-eye view of the town with large zoom capabilities. Continuous updates would capture changes and new data.
"There are almost endless possibilities to the information that could be in this system and the ways it could be used, but at this stage we are just trying to get the most basic system up and running," Marzola said. "We are pretty close to having that."
While the goal is to have residents access the system on the Internet, that is a long way off, and there are many intermediary steps to complete before that can happen, according to Marzola. But the basic system with access for the town government departments and boards is nearing completion, he said.