Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Geographic Information Systems is a process, through the use of computers, to physically apply geographic coordinates to raw computer data in order to replicate information spatially in a map environment. GIS plays an enormous part in the day to day functions of local government; the way this information is distributed to other agencies and organizations, and how it is distributed to the public.

By using GIS to support our local government practices we:
  • Can perform project analysis and provide decision support.
  • Can streamline processes, increasing efficiency, automating tasks, and saving time and money.
  • Create an information base that shares/distributes information resources, reduces data redundancy, and increases data accuracy.
The GIS Department:
  • Offers Database design, maintenance and technical support to all county departments
  • Provides technical assistance with installation and support of mapping software applications, map configurations and custom programming
  • Maintains and supports the central GIS server environment that empowers the enterprise GIS system
  • Provides assistance and/or manages outside GIS subcontractors that provide services with regards to the County GIS infrastructure
  • Performs custom map creation/production for other local government departments/agencies and the public.
Current Initiatives
Cadastral Base Tax Mapping
GIS helps agencies meet their primary responsibilities of ownership registration, parcel mapping, real property valuation, and data access. GIS provides the tools to more efficiently collect, convert, and improve map data; accurately assess properties; and provide Internet and Intranet access to this data for the public, business, and other organizations.

The GIS department currently maintains a parcel database of 63,182 individual tracts. Public access to the cadastral parcel layer as well as many other layers is available “live” via the internet 24/7 or in our Tax office or parcel mapping office through our public access MapTouch terminals.

Economic Development
Our community through its internet mapping application using GIS technology allows our county’s information to be available 24/7 allowing access to information that developers may be in search of from other areas of the world.

This public access to GIS allows Wayne County to turn our unique resources into economic success, ultimately advancing the quality of life of our citizens and strengthening the economic base of our community by retaining and growing existing businesses and attracting new investments.

GIS assists the Elections Department all year long with the myriad of tasks associated with elections. The voting process is all about geography. To get the correct ballot to the appropriate voter, elections departments must resolve the spatial relationship between the voter’s address and political districts, precinct boundaries, and water and school districts.

Currently there are 2 mapping applications within the elections office with a staff person dedicated as the GIS specialist. Databases that are maintained would primarily be district boundaries, precinct boundaries, voter location information etc.

Emergency Services & Law Enforcement

GIS allows our law enforcement and emergency services personnel to effectively plan for emergency response, determine mitigation priorities, analyze historical events, and predict future events. GIS can also be used to get critical information to emergency responders upon dispatch.

GIS also assists in tactical planning and response. A few of the base map layers that are maintained to achieve this are street centerline data with length and address ranges, and address point data for individual E911 address information and Emergency Service Districts data with responder information.

The street centerlines currently contain 8890 street segments, the address point data currently involves 59,803 records and the Emergency Service Districts contains 126 records. It is important to understand that these records are maintained not only for Wayne County but also for all incorporated areas as well.


No matter how large or small your community, planners must deal with spatial information: parcel, zoning and land use data, addresses, transportation networks, and housing stock. As a planner, we also study and keep track of multiple urban and regional indicators, forecast future community needs, and plan accordingly to guarantee the quality of life for everyone in livable communities.

GIS map layers that assist in achieving this goal include zoning, flood zones, national wetlands inventory, regulated blue line streams, water supply – watershed protection areas, soils mapping, census data, street centerline data, address point data, utility infrastructure and parcel data to name a few.