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GIS FOR THE PEOPLE

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Public information and involvement is typically a last thought in most engineering projects. Even when it is incorporated, the information is usually provided to the public in such an overly technical manner that substantive comments are rare. As part of the update to its Facilities Master Plan, the City of Columbus, Ohio was faced with the need to prepare a highly technical document, provide that document to the public for review and comment, and incorporate comments as needed into the final plan. The issue became how to convert a highly technical document based on geographical information system (GIS) data and mapping into a selfexplanatory, public information tool that would lead to substantive comments in a short amount of time.

The solution was development of an interactive multi-media CD-ROM that included the GIS data and mapping and also outlined the goals and policies of the updated plan by using video segments, professional voice talent, animation, and historical photos. In this format, users could analyze the immense amount of data using a much friendlier interface. The general mapping and policies were also later converted to a web format and posted to the City's website. The CD and website served as excellent public relations tools that could easily relay technical information to stakeholders. The tools decreased the amount of time necessary for comments and increased the amount of comments received in comparison to conventional public relations tools.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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