Empowering a Smarter Community Through GIS

Covington is located in Kenton County, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

Covington is located in Kenton County, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Kenton County, Kentucky, is using intelligent maps and apps to provide citizens with the data intelligence they need.

COVINGTON, Ky. — When a sewage pipe burst unexpectedly, resulting in a hepatitis outbreak in Kenton County, Kentucky, in 1984, it was suddenly clear that the pipeline infrastructure had not been mapped—and no reliable system of record existed. It was only then that the urgent need for geographic information system (GIS) technology was realized.

Fast-forward 30 years. Our GIS team in Kenton County's Planning and Development Services (PDS) agency is now viewed as one of the nation's pioneers in the GIS space.

GIS Solutions Enable Smart Government and Safe Communities

After the sewage pipe rupture, a partnership of Kenton County agencies sought a new enterprise GIS that would help ensure that the county's infrastructure was mapped accurately, and a modernized system of record was stood up. A GIS team within the Kenton County Planning and Development Services office was formed to build the system and help guide new projects for the county—using GIS mapping solutions.  The County’s Fiscal Court (Kentucky’s version of county government) and sewer agency partnered with PDS to fund the project.

What began in 1985 as a simple tool for our one county agency to use in an environmental cleanup has become a game changer for Northern Kentucky. Today, LINK-GIS, our planning agency’s information portal, serves Kenton, Campbell, and Pendleton Counties as an enterprise GIS platform that has vastly improved how government services are made available to the community, in a smarter, more efficient way.

The partnership that oversees and funds the operation has grown as well.  Besides Kenton County Fiscal Court, Sanitation District 1, and PDS, the collaborative now includes the Campbell County Fiscal Court, the Campbell County property valuation administrator, and the Northern Kentucky Water District.

LINK-GIS enhances the partnership’s enterprise GIS based on an ArcGIS platform. The self-service site allows users to explore, connect with, and download the county's geospatial data—provided by various municipalities and agencies—using any smart device to search for and access information.

Our GIS team has developed ready-to-use web and mobile apps, data analysis, and cartography services to all of the three counties' departments, agencies, businesses, and citizens across 36 cities.

Our mission is to deliver valuable information services in one location to empower the people of Northern Kentucky. Our GIS team works to meet the county's needs and demands across a broad spectrum of applications. The solutions we have built enable us to create new, useful applications fast, providing an important service to our user community.

Making Location-Based Data Consumable with Maps and Apps

As recently as 2011, there was a serious question as to the legitimacy, or necessity, of GIS. Numerous local government agencies didn't understand exactly how it was being used, even though it brought in $2.3 million to the area through the leveraging of data and selling of new projects.

It was at this point that we realized we weren't doing something right, because decision-makers didn't understand how GIS was being utilized for the greater good. As a planning and development organization, we had all this GIS big data, and we weren't making it discoverable or consumable for the average citizen.

That disconnect led to the creation of the Northern Kentucky Map Lab (NKYmapLAB), a centralized online hub used in long-range planning activities. NKYmapLAB analyzes a variety of data and visually presents it in engaging story maps for the community. Planning and Development Services is now creating engaging story maps on key issues once a month to educate the public, communicate concerns, and solicit feedback in order to strengthen the system’s information services offerings.

In May 2016, NKYmapLAB received the Outstanding Use of Technology Award from the Kentucky chapter of the American Planning Association. This award is a great recognition for our team and it acknowledges our efforts not only to better use GIS technology but also to use it in a meaningful way—one that makes our cities, our county, and our citizens better informed and more proactive.

Delivering Added Value to Citizens, Businesses, and County Government

Citizens can now easily access powerful web maps, apps, and comprehensive information resources anytime, from anywhere, via the LINK-GIS and NKYmapLAB sites. New smart tools forming the foundation of smart communities in northern Kentucky include aerial views of properties and communities, city and zoning boundaries, voting precincts and state legislative boundaries, school districts and school locations, fire districts, and police and fire station locations, to name just a few.

Emergency services personnel and first responders develop easy-to-read web maps that determine the fastest route to the location of an incident. Police use these smart maps to locate, analyze, and deter criminal activity. School district administrators use the site to create bus routes that are based on where students live and that adapt to changing residential patterns. Administrators and engineers in departments of transportation (DOT) gain insight by using LINK-GIS to more accurately and efficiently identify growth patterns in the community so that they can adjust resources or strengthen infrastructure as needed.

LINK-GIS also plays an important role in ensuring that public and private projects are properly coordinated, efficiently run, and responsibly executed. Land planners and developers use it to make better decisions and implement smart projects, with geospatial data analysis brought to life on smart maps and apps. Users can also develop web maps from their database data; coordinate projects online with other agencies; easily access needed county data; and provide accurate real-time property maps for Realtors, appraisers, and buyers.

It is clear that the more people understand location-based data intelligence, the more GIS will be used in the creation and advancement of smart communities.  In our case, what started as a geography-based response to an urgent public health issue over 30 years ago has evolved into an enterprise GIS solution used by 3 counties and 36 municipalities on a daily basis.  Today, Kenton County is a pioneer in the GIS space.  Unlocking your community’s GIS potential could be just as transformative for your agencies and the citizens you serve.

Trisha Brush, GISP, is the Director of GIS Administration for Planning and Development Services in Kenton County, Kentucky.

NEXT STORY: Boston’s Redevelopment Rebranding; California’s New Fishing Rules

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.