Hays County Aims to Increase Transparency and Accessibility with New Geographic Information System Portal

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Hays County Commissioners received a presentation regarding the county’s new geographic information system, or GIS portal, at a meeting Sept. 13. The portal was created by the GIS Division of the Hays County Department of Developmental Services.

There have been discussions with county commissioners over the past year about how the county as a whole can be more transparent and provide more data and information to the general public, the services director said. of development, Marcus Pacheco.

“We have worked hard with our stakeholders and county staff to create this central location of all GIS data that the county believes is authoritative data,” said GIS specialist Kellsey Schilly. “It is a place where external stakeholders or citizens can download or view data relevant to them in an authoritative way.”

The benefits of having this data readily available to the general public, without the need for open registration requests, are greater transparency, accessibility and efficiency, according to the presentation.

“We received daily requests for maps and requests for data as part of the GIS team. For example, a typical data request might be from an engineering company or a graduate student, and they are looking for authoritative GIS data in Hays County. It goes with addressing, center lines — maybe they want to see what the precinct boundaries look like,” Schilly said. “This platform is going to reduce the barrier for the general public and stakeholders to see and understand what we have and what we use to make many of our decisions in the county.”

She added that it will be easier for people to view and download the data they are looking for rather than emailing requests to the county.

There are categories of data in the portal, such as education, environment, transportation and more. Data available includes Hays County boundaries, extraterritorial jurisdiction lines, subdivisions and more.

“As we start to expand our presence online, … it’s going to be a great platform for us to showcase it in a very transparent way,” Schilly said. “We can make it easier for citizens to ask questions and get answers they’re looking for.”

To view the portal, visit the Hays County website or click here.

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