History of GIS at Genesee County

The origins of Genesee County’s GIS program date back to 1985 when the County purchased a parcel mapping system from a company called Datagraphix. This system, which used proprietary software and data on a UNIX platform, provided the County with a much needed land information management tool. Unfortunately the system was incompatible with other programs and was never fully integrated throughout the County. Eventually Datagraphix went out of business, and the system became obsolete. With questions concerning data quality and no support for the software, the County began looking for a stable, industry-standard GIS solution to replace the old mapping system.

In 1997, Genesee County looked to ESRI to provide a software solution that would replace the old system, meet the individual needs of its departments, and allow for the easy exchange of data between County organizations. The original files created by Datagraphix were converted to coverage format and parcel maintenance began using ArcInfo with COGO tools.

Over the years, several departments and agencies in Genesee County began to expand their GIS capabilities by maintaining data, producing maps, and offering some limited services. Representatives from the various organizations met regularly to discuss the technology and find ways to improve the program. In 2001, Genesee County contracted with PlanGraphics, Inc. to conduct a GIS Needs Assessment and develop a GIS Strategic Plan. Based on its recommendations, a GIS Steering Committee and GIS Working Group were formed, and the County began looking toward an enterprise system. It was determined that a new “center” should be formed to actively promote GIS technology and coordinate efforts among County organizations. In 2004 the GIS Department was established, and a GIS Director was appointed to meet these challenges.

Timeline:

1985
• Genesee County purchased Datagraphix’s parcel mapping system.

1997
• ESRI’s GIS software and coverage model were adopted to replace the old system.

2001
• The County contracted with PlanGraphics, Inc. to conduct a GIS Needs Assessment and develop a GIS Strategic Plan.

2002
• The GIS Steering Committee and GIS Working Group were formed.
• The Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission contracted its seventh aerial photo flight, which for the first time produced high-resolution digital orthophotos and a LIDAR based digital terrain model.

2004
• The GIS Department was established and the County’s first GIS Director was appointed.
• The County designed and built a centralized GIS database using ESRI’s ArcSDE technology.

2005
• ArcIMS technology was implemented providing the County with web mapping capabilities.
• Two GPS Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) were installed significantly improving GPS land surveying capabilities throughout the County.

2006
• The first Pictometry flight was conducted producing both oblique and orthogonal digital color aerial imagery, as well as a high-resolution, certified orthophoto product.

2007
• Six years of historical aerial photography were obtained in digital format: 1966, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997. Responsibility for distribution of this imagery was assumed by the GIS Department.
• New GIS Director was hired.

2008
• Six years of historical aerial photography were obtained in digital format: 1966, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997. Responsibility for distribution of this imagery was assumed by the GIS Department.
• Over 150 computers throughout the county have Pictomtery software and imagery installed

2009
• Pictometry imagery was flown in Spring 2009 with 4 and 8 inch oblique resolution.
• Two additional years of historical imagery were obtained from MSU.
• Participated with USGS 2009 to obtain certified orthoimagery with 12 inch resolution.

2010
• Four more years of historical aerial imagery were acquired, bringing the total number of years of imagery to fourteen.