What is GIS?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer based system for storing, analyzing and managing data that is spatially referenced to the earth. It is a tool that allows users to organize and display data in a visual representation, usually in the form of a map.

GIS can be used in a diverse range of fields from resource management to the real estate industry, from oil/gas to criminology and emergency planning, or from planning and development of urban and rural areas to Environmental Impact Assessments. Some common uses of GIS today include:  hand held and vehicle GPS units, web mapping (Google Maps, MapQuest and Yahoo Maps), 911 dispatching, a decision tool in urban planning, pipeline location planning, environmental protection and asset management.

How does the County use GIS?

The County of Stettler's GIS department is responsible for the collection, maintenance and distribution of the County's geographic data. We offer a number of GIS related services to County staff, ratepayers, government organizations and private business.

Some examples of how the County uses GIS include:

  • Land Ownership Maps
  • Hamlet/Subdivision Maps
  • As a tool in making informed decisions with regards to land use and subdivision planning
  • Mapping of the current and future road improvement plans
  • Mapping of roads to be graded, which helps in future planning of road maintenance
  • GPS in vehicles to route emergency service vehicles to emergencies
  • Soils and topography mapping
  • Aerial photography

The County's GIS department is always working hard to explore different ways to expand their GIS services to the public and to staff.

Automatic Vehicle Locating System (AVL)

County vehicles, (including graders, trucks, mowers, sprayer units, Ambulance, Fire vehicles and Community Peace Officer vehicles) are equipped with a GPS that records data from the units. This data can then be used as a tool in daily planning activities. Included in this system are in-vehicle computers which assist in providing real time information to vehicle operators. This provides routing information for Emergency Service vehicles as well as important land and property information that allows County staff to respond quickly to public inquiries. AVL is important for the County to assist in planning grader beats, to map areas that have been sprayed, mowed or graded, and in ensuring the safety of County employees.