GIS in South Dakota

A geographic information system, or GIS, is a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographically referenced data. A GIS can be thought of as a system that digitally creates and "manipulates" spatial areas that may be jurisdictional, purpose, or application-oriented. Generally, a GIS is custom-designed for an organization.

By using a GIS, individuals can access seemingly disparate data pertaining to a location, such as soil type, quality of groundwater, or proximity to airports or highways. GIS is being used by government, industry and the military to make complex data understandable to policy makers, planners and interested citizens.

BIT’s role is GIS coordination and infrastructure management. Responsibilities include: software review, acquisition and maintenance; develop GIS applications for state agencies and specialized application tools (e.g. Internet mapping services, software extension development, etc.); maintain infrastructure including storage acquisition and backup or provision of adequate bandwidth; and acquiring and maintaining base data.

The State of South Dakota has used GIS for many applications from flood prediction and management to tax rate evaluation. Unlike most states, the South Dakota GIS infrastructure has no authorizing legislation or legislative charter.  A strong and accessible infrastructure has been developed by working cooperatively with state agencies.

State agencies utilize the GIS infrastructure to take advantage of the centrally located data by creating web applications to publish their data to the Internet. Using these internet-based applications, users can do various activities from determining the sales tax rate for an address, search for the broadband providers at a physical location and much more.

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