The City of Wichita initiated its first GIS application in 1992 with the approval of a centerline pilot project, one new GIS member, and the endorsement of the use of GIS software by ESRI as the primary GIS platform. The pilot project resulted in the creation of a centerline map and development of a digital aerial photo layer to serve as the base map for the development of a sewer utility (AM/FM) system for the Water & Sewer department.
As other departments became aware of the potential of GIS, so did the need to develop more layers. Little by little, piece by piece GIS has developed over 250 layers. Wichita's GIS became a true Enterprise GIS in 2000 and is utilized by all city departments for analysis and decision-making.
Today, our group has five GIS positions in the IT/IS Department and is responsible for updating and enhancing the efficiency of all GIS base maps and developing web-based GIS applications.
The GIS Applications group develops and updates GIS data layers and applications for use in nearly every City field operation, including Police, Planning, Public Works & Utilities, Fire, and Metropolitan Area Building Commission (MABCD). GIS also coordinates data sharing with Sedgwick County, providing weekly updates to the City GIS databases so that users have the most up-to-date information. Additionally the GIS team provides a Public GIS viewer which allows citizens to view data such as crime occurences, council districts and many more.
What is GIS?
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based mapping tool used for creating powerful maps that help City decision-makers visualize scenarios, ask complicated questions, solve problems, and develop workable solutions. GIS performs tasks better and faster than the old manual methods on paper, allowing us to increase efficiency and better serve our citizens. Unlike paper maps, a GIS is interactive and allows us to overlay several layers of information, which provides a dynamic analysis tool to assist in considering all aspects before making a decision. GIS is a mapping tool that lets us visually see the answers to our questions.