Layers of data available to the public
A new website featuring an array of detailed information about the City of Sarasota, including the location of utility lines, bike paths, neighborhood associations and emergency shelters is available on the city’s website, www.SarasotaGov.com, staff has announced.
“To get started, click the round ‘GIS’ icon on the left side of the homepage,” a news release says.
Known as GIS, this free geographic information system provides extensive data in a layered mapping format, the release explains. The Utilities Department, in cooperation with the Information Technology Division and other city departments, developed the website to increase staff efficiency and improve asset management, the release adds.
“It’s similar to Google Earth, but, the user can search for information specific to the City of Sarasota,” said Susan Blake, infrastructure information coordinator with the Utilities Department, in the release. “As we were developing this GIS site for City of Sarasota staff to use, we considered how the public could use it as well,” she continued in the release. “We receive quite a few phone calls from construction contractors, engineers and architects wanting information about the size of water lines, fire hydrant locations and other utility issues. So, this information being easily accessible on the Internet will be very useful for staff and the public.”
Multiple search categories, called layers, are available, the release points out: Utilities, Public Works, FEMA/Emergency, Neighborhoods and Community Interest. Within each of them, more layers provide further detailed information on the map, the release notes.
“Just within the Utilities category,” Blake added in the release, “you can locate the potable water, reclaimed water and wastewater networks, manholes, laterals, lift stations, water meters, fountains and a lot more. City of Sarasota crews working in the field with a mobile device will be able to retrieve information without having to return to the office. So, this will result in a more efficient use of time.”
As new information becomes available, the website will be updated, the release says. Plans also are in the works to add more “Community Interest” layers.