Geographic Information Systems
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is an organized collection of computer hardware, software, geographic data, and geographic knowledge designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display all sorts of geographically referenced information (ESRI 2000).
Relying on the principles of geography, cartography, and technology, GIS allows us to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize geographic data in many ways. With geography and GIS we can explore local/national/global relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, and reports. A GIS helps you answer questions and solve problems, especially if the data used is quickly understood and easily shared. GIS technology can be integrated into some enterprise information systems to help with business development, growth, and efficiency.
County GIS History
The Steuben County GIS was started in 2001 by undergoing a needs assessment study completed by The Schneider Corporation. In the fall and winter of 2001, an implementation plan was developed. This plan called for the conversion of all of the paper based maps for the Auditor, Assessor, Plan Commission, and Surveyor. This included the tax parcel maps, zoning maps, drainage maps, soil maps, and associated information. In the spring of 2003, the County obtained black-and-white photography and began the conversion of the parcel maps to digital maps. Up next was the creation of GIS layers for legal ditches, watersheds, soil types, zoning areas, and Assessor's land use.
In the fall of 2005, Steuben County released its first GIS website — which is now useable on mobile devices — and has continued to increase the data layers and ease of use on the Internet. Also in 2005, the County participated in the Indiana Map project. In the springtime of 2007, Schneider Corp. revised its website to a more user-friendly version with easier search functions and expanded data-finding options. Since then, zoning classifications, the Surveyor's section corner tie cards, lakes, schools, voter information, and other info has been added. The County continues to partner with the State Geographic Information Officer and the Indiana Geographic Information Council, especially in regards to Indiana's ongoing Orthophotography/LIDAR Initiative.
There are numerous data layers available and expandable within the legend on the left of the county's Beacon GIS online map, linked above. Since the initial 7 data layers were developed, many new layers have been added. As requests for data come to the GIS Office, some relevant layers might be added to the website. Steuben County and other Indiana counties share GIS data with the IndianaMAP website, brought to you by Indiana University Bloomington, the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC), the Indiana Geological Survey (IGS), and the state's Geographic Information Officer.
Steuben County-based geographic digital data is the property of Steuben County, Indiana. It has been derived from public records that are constantly undergoing change. This data is not warranted for content or accuracy; it may be incomplete or partially inaccurate and subject to modifications. The County does not guarantee the positional or thematic accuracy of the data. The cartographic digital file server is not a legal representation of any of the features depicted, and Steuben County disclaims any assumption of the legal status they represent. Any implied warranties, including warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, shall be excluded. Steuben County cannot be held liable for errors or omissions in the data. Your use and reliance upon such data is at your risk. By using this data, you agree to protect, hold harmless, and indemnify Steuben County and its employees and officers. This indemnity covers reasonable attorney fees and all court costs associated with the defense of Steuben County arising out of this disclaimer. The recipient of digital data may copy this data into computer memory or computer storage devices and prepare derivative works from it.