Georgia County Government - May/June 2011 - (Page 33)

Feature Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council Advises Use of GIS By Laura Hernandez, ACCG Communications Intern I n September 2009, f looding devastated many areas in metro At lanta and North Georgia, producing over $500 million in uninsured losses. As the waters subsided, a tough truth became evident: a lack of data and advance planning had caused North Georgia to be caught unprepared. Information Services (GIS) base map, and access to GIS database tools is not uniform throughout the counties. As a result, floodplain boundaries in Georgia are often extrapolated from outdated and inaccurate elevation data. The floods of 2009 brought this problem to the forefront, as they starkly illustrated how much Georgia’s limited level of flood preparedness financially costs citizens, county governments and the state government. The Georgia General Assembly took note of this issue and acted promptly, developing and passing House Bill (HB) 169 in 2010 to work to address the problem. for using geospatial tools to improve knowledge of flood patterns and minimize future damages. In order to meet these objectives, GGAC conducted audits of Georgia’s geospatial capabilities at the county, regional and state levels. For its first audit, administered between September and October 2010, the Council enjoyed an 88 percent response rate from counties and strong responses also from regional commissions, state agencies, cities, Boards of Regents institutes, utilities, private firms and federal groups. Although quantified through a regional example, this type of avoidable loss is a statewide issue, manifested through the historical record of significant weather events in Georgia. Today, for the sake of citizen safety, economic development and cost savings, that trend is slowly reversing. The GGAC’s First Report Creation of the Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council HB 169 created the Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council (GGAC), an advisory body comprised of representatives from state departments and agencies, local governments, universities and regional commissions. The Council, which was chaired through March 2011 by Danielle Ayan, a Research Scientist at the Georgia Technology Research Institute, was assigned two primary mandates. First, the Council was tasked with using Georgia’s geospatial technologies to better meet FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Map requirements, so as to equip counties with the ability to keep citizens informed about floodplain-related impacts to their properties. Second, the Council was charged with formulating recommendations for facilitating improved intergovernmental data coordination and The Council’s boldest finding from the statewide geospatial audit was the confirmation that there are significant discrepancies across Georgia with regard to geospatial capabilities. In order to improve statewide success in delivering services and notifications to citizens, certain resources are needed. The Council’s first report to the General Assembly came with five recommendations designed to facilitate these improvements. First, GGAC advised the General Assembly to formalize a Geospatial Advisory Council. Such “geospatial governance” would establish critically-needed geospatial processes, policies, standards and best practices, as well as save Georgia money in redundancy costs through improved data coordination. GEORGIA continued on page 34 MAY/JUNE 2011 Background of House Bill 169 Flood Insurance Rate Maps, required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), portray flood hazard areas and form the basis for setting flood insurance premiums and regulating development in the floodplain. Inaccuracies on the maps can cause some property owners to pay flood insurance premiums unnecessarily and others to be unaware when coverage is actually needed. Such inaccuracies have posed a chronic problem in Georgia. To the state’s disadvantage, there is no statewide property Geographic 33

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2011

Georgia County Government - May/June 2011
Table of Contents
President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Oconee County: Growth Driven by Quality of Life and Strong Schools
ACCG Annual Meeting Highlights
ACCG and Gas South Affinity Program Saves You Money on Natural Gas
GCIP Interns Help Map the Future for Bartow County
Georgia Geospatial Advisory Council Advises Use of GIS
Douglas County Incorporates Sustainable Design into Plans for the New Adult Detention and Law Enforcement Center
Deliberate Indifference to a Serious Medical Need: Inmate Claims under § 1983
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - May/June 2011