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GIS mapping project under way

California State University Stanislaus students Joseph Randis and Frank Guillory are conducting a GIS mapping project for the city of Newman. They are using one of the city’s newly-arrived electric GEM cars to make the rounds of local streets as they go about their project.

NEWMAN – The city is upgrading its geographic information system (GIS) to create the foundation for a data base that could encompass information on everything from property ownership to fire hydrants to manhole locations.

A pair of California State University Stanislaus students are conducting the mapping project for the city as interns, using equipment on loan to Newman from Stanislaus County.

When all is said and done, the city hopes to have a detailed base map onto which it can layer a diverse range of information.

“They are going out all over town in one of our electric vehicles and plotting points for our base map,” explained Stephanie Ocasio, assistant planner for the city. “The goal is for them to plot the latitude and longitude of every intersection, corner and curve in the city.”

Once the students are done collecting the data later this month, they will make a map file of Newman onto which the city can layer specific information.

Coordinates on the new map will be more accurate than those on the map currently used, Ocasio noted.

“When you have an accurate base map, your layers are accurate,” she explained. “You can put layer on top of layer. We have an active GIS program, and hope to make it even more detailed.”

The potential uses of a GIS program are endless, she added.

“You can click on a parcel and have everything from who owns it to what voting district they’re in come up,” Ocasio commented. “I am able to send out notifications for public hearings by selecting a property in GIS, and having it highlight all the properties (that are within the notification radius). You can also use GIS to create efficient routes.”

She said the partnership between the city and university is mutually beneficial and could lead to other opportunities.

“This is a great partnership for the city and the school, and Stanislaus County helped with the equipment and the training,” Ocasio told Mattos Newspapers. “In future semesters, we would like them  to plot things such as sign locations, city trees and manhole covers.”