Enhancement of the Mississippi GIS Strategic Plan for Underserved Communities
The project was designed to collect the information needed to develop a strategy to close the GIS technology gap between the “have” and “have not” communities by identifying the underserved communities and the assets that can be used to assist them. This effort focused specifically on underserved communities and is complementary to the Mississippi Remote Sensing and GIS Coordinating Council’s 2010 GIS strategic plan.
Of the 82 Mississippi counties eighteen (22%) either have a mature GIS environment or are in the process of implementing GIS. Two-thirds (53) of the counties currently use Computer Aided Design (CAD) software for mapping. Most of these counties rely upon private consultants to develop and maintain the CAD datasets. The remaining counties 11 counties use manual drafting of maps. These counties tend to be among the most rural locations in Mississippi.
Converting CAD datasets to GIS databases would be a significant step toward the development and use of geospatial databases as well as engaging local governments in managing their respective assets spatially. While not all counties will be candidates for adopting and managing GIS at the local level (due to lack of skilled GIS personnel, financial constraints or other limiting resources) there are options to expand GIS activities at the local level. Many of the underserved communities would be best served if they could receive GIS products as well as manage their data through multi-county GIS support centers.
David R. Shaw, Director, Geosystems Research Institute, Mississippi
Jim Steil, The Mississippi Automated Resource Information System