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Fort Smith GIS program is first on board for map.

Fort Smith is the first city in Arkansas to participate in. the U.S. Geological Survey's "National Map" project and the first entity in America to commit to keeping its information current within a seven-day time frame.

The project uses Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to collect and maintain comprehensive infrastructure data nationwide. It will include, for instance, a map of all roads from interstates to municipal streets.

"This helps dispel the myth that there's a lack of high-tech use in Arkansas and, in particular, this part of the state," said Russell Gibson, Fort Smith's GIS coordinator and a member of the Arkansas land Information Board.

"We've been using this for six or seven years, but it's important to get that recognition at the national level."

Shelby Johnson, the state geographic information coordinator, and Bill Sneed, a liaison in the U.S. Geological Survey's mapping partnership office, both recently visited Fort Smith to see Gibson's work in action.

The system will help with:

* State and federal sex offender registrations. Fort Smith police said the technology could cut their cost of notification from $200 per person in a neighborhood to about $40.

* Savings on initial engineering studies. Estimates show developers could save up to $20,000 per job site in time and money to locate such things as underground utilities or flood plains.

* Fire insurance rate classifications. Fort Smith was about to be downgraded to a class IV city, but GIS mapping of things such as fire hydrants proved the city met class II qualifications, saving every property owner and business in the city insurance costs.

* A Central Business Improvement District properly database function. Online browsers can shop here for office and commercial space based on SF or a variety of other categories.

* Delivery services. United Parcel Service, FedEx Corp., DHL Inc., Seats Co., Home Depot Inc. and others use onboard GIS technology, and being on the Geological Survey map will help ensure timely deliveries.

* Information about city zoning and services. Everything from level of commercial zoning to school bus stops and voting sites are available.
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Title Annotation:NW journal: a look at news from Northwest Arkansas; Geographic Information System
Comment:Fort Smith GIS program is first on board for map.(NW journal: a look at news from Northwest Arkansas)(Geographic Information System)
Author:Wood, Jeffrey
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 18, 2004
Words:345
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