Sunday, November 05, 2006
By Elizabeth Baier
Wilton Manors · Hoping to bring its maps into the 21st century, the City Commission recently authorized the purchase of updated, digitized maps from New Jersey-based BAE Systems.
The new Geographic Information System will help officials catalog, plan and maintain the city's infrastructure, and will cost the city $175,240, Community Services Director Wayne Thies said.
BAE Systems is scheduled to fly over the city in January, when the weather is optimal, and create aerial photographs with enough detail to locate all structures, roads, curbing, catch basins, water valves, inlets and other visible utilities. These photographs then would be used to prepare planimetric maps, at a scale of 1 inch for every 50 feet.
"The main thing is that every community in the state of Florida and around the country will have something like this," Thies said. "This is just going to be the basic way that we govern ourselves in the future."
City Manager Joseph Gallegos acknowledged the mapping system is expensive, but said the city needs to stay up-to-date with the changing technology. Officials hope the system will help them revise zoning and land-use maps.
"Our GIS maps are from the 1980s," Gallegos told commissioners at the meeting. "They are not complete. There's been a lot of construction. If you go into Highland Estates, it's nothing like it was in the '80s."
Gallegos referred to the once rundown neighborhood west of Five Points and north of Northeast 26th Street, which has undergone a makeover in the past five years with the addition of several developments such as Key West-style townhouses and lofts.
"This process will identify every manhole, every catch basin, and that will be loaded into our system," Gallegos said.
BAE has worked on similar GIS mapping projects in Tamarac, Margate, Plantation, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach and also with Palm Beach County, according to the proposal BAE submitted to Wilton Manors officials.
Commissioners had a brief discussion before voting unanimously to approve the contract.
"We don't even have an inventory of our most valuable asset, [which] really is our infrastructure and our underground utilities," Commissioner Joseph Angelo said. "We have old maps and we need to get them digitized and into the computer. Our development community is always looking for us to make their lives easier."
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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