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Geographic Data System May Improve Utility Service

March 27, 2009 — Power, water, phone and cable television customer addresses are going to be added to the Virgin Islands' ever-growing Geographic Information System interactive digital mapping system, a move that may improve the efficiency, accuracy and speed of response of all these utilities.
GIS software allows digital mapping information to be selected and layered, adding or subtracting information, anchoring the data to known map points established by satellite data. In this way, cadastral maps showing property lines, maps of utility lines, 911 addresses and directions, topographical, environmental or archeological data can all be tied together, to varying degrees, in a single, highly accurate database.
The V.I. Geospatial Information Council, a group of private- and public-sector representatives, first assembled in 2005 to promote the study and implementation of the GIS. The GIS project was launched under the supervision of former Lt. Gov. Vargrave Richards, who also sought to use the network to connect the many smaller entities included under the umbrella of the lieutenant governor's office. Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis has continued to push to broaden the system
At a VIGIC meeting earlier this week, Francis and GIS Coordinator Theresa Anduze-Parris committed to bringing WAPA and Innovative into the system.
Having this information will make for quicker service responses and also help the companies to provide more accurate information of the impact to service in the event of a disaster, Anduze-Parris said in a Government House statement.
“Parcel information collected through GIS technology would essentially support existing databases of customer information, help to standardize the data on file for customers and make sure that the addresses provided by the customer are correct,” she said.
Standardization of the utilities’ customer databases will be an asset for emergency responders too. Information from these databases provides the address information for the E-911 system, where accurate information could reduce response time of first responders.
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