Realizing the need for statewide coordination in GIS-based service delivery across all levels of government, the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions (GARC) has established the state’s first Geospatial Information Office (GIO) and associated Georgia Geospatial Network (GGN).  Initial funding for this groundbreaking initiative is jointly provided by a federal grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and all twelve of the State’s Regional Commissions.  The newly-created GIO will coordinate and partner with local governments, as well as state and federal agencies, to compile critical base maps and to establish a framework for GIS-based service delivery throughout the State.

The base maps and demographic information generated by the GIO and associated network will provide necessary data, in a unified and normalized format, that is integral to the success of local comprehensive planning, economic development, revitalization initiatives, and multi-hazard mitigation planning.  This level of coordination will lead to well-planned communities which are, in turn, better equipped to attract new business and to encourage expansion of existing business.

The Geographic Information Office will utilize existing and established relationships between Regional Commissions, local governments, state agencies and other entities employing the use of geospatial data and analysis.  The GIO, with help from Regional Commissions, will compile and standardize the State’s diverse GIS data in support of base mapping efforts to develop statewide parcel, address, land use and building inventory databases.  This level of facilitation will provide better access to GIS data, lower acquisition costs, enhance emergency management for multi-jurisdiction events and promote economic development.

Initial funding from the EDA grant and the Regional Commissions will extend for a period of two years, enabling the GIO to partner with and coordinate efforts by various groups, including the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), the University of Georgia’s Information Technology Outreach Service (ITOS) and the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA).  Concurrently, the Georgia Technology Authority (GTA) is funding a third-party study to look at sustainability of the GIO beyond the initial grant period.  In the meantime, the GIO will work with industry experts to transfer knowledge and develop process models for use by existing partners in the Georgia Geospatial Network.

Interested parties are invited to join the Geospatial Network to aid in the continued return on investment for Georgia.  Please contact the Georgia Association of Regional Commissions.