Last year, Raleigh and Wake County, N.C., collaborated on a project to redesign the interface for their shared online geographic information system (GIS), making more data publicly accessible and improving functionality. The resulting iMAPS application is an enterprise land records portal that includes more than 700 layers of data from multiple agencies and jurisdictions.
The iMAPS application interface redesign project is the most recent in a long series of cooperative efforts by Raleigh and Wake County GIS organizations that began in 1989. The city and county already had an online GIS viewer that was seven years old, but they wanted to expand its capabilities.
In May 2009, the city and county GIS teams began meeting to design the new site. The staffs decided to revise the existing site as an ESRI ArcGIS Server application, but they had little experience with the technology. So, when a position opened in the city for a GIS programmer analyst, Raleigh hired someone with ArcGIS Server experience, and within days, prototypes began appearing.
After several months of review, programming, testing and revisions, an application was ready for a gradual rollout to selected iMAPS users in the city and county. The next rollout was to all Raleigh and Wake County internal users and to internal users at other municipalities, followed by a gradual rollout to the public. Developers, real estate professionals, surveyors, attorneys and insurance professionals are the primary external users of the application, and training was conducted so they could learn how to use it to accomplish their business purposes. Once that was completed in September 2010, all iMAPS links from city and county sites were pointed to the new application, http://maps.raleighnc.gov/iMAPSRaleigh.
More than 10 city and county databases and applications are integrated into iMAPS, including the county's real estate system and images of deeds and houses, and the city's permits and inspections system and police records. It also includes data from other municipalities in Wake County, such as solid waste collection schedules, as well as Google Street View. The application was developed with in-house resources and Adobe Flex software, which cost less than $500.
Raleigh supports the application and servers, while Wake County manages publicity, customer service and training. The cooperative project received a 2010-2011 Technology Solutions Award from the Washington-based Public Technology Institute in February.
Project: iMAPS application interface redesign
Jurisdictions: Raleigh and Wake County, N.C.
Agencies: Raleigh and Wake County GIS organizations
Vendors: Redlands, Calif.-based ESRI
Date completed: September 2010