MarinMap is a consortium of public agencies (local governments, special districts) that have joined together to build and use a Geographic Information System (GIS) for their day-to-day operations. A GIS is a computer-based system of software and hardware designed to link computer generated maps with information about the mapped entities. A GIS is an excellent technology for many of the tasks performed by public agencies because the task agencies work with has a physical location. Tasks such as streets, houses, fire hydrants, pipes and natural features have specific locations which can be represented by maps, and they have relationships with each other that is shown by maps. For example, houses line up along specific streets, fire hydrants should be within specific distances of houses, pipes should lie within the right of way of streets and so forth. By using this shared technology, agencies can greatly improve the efficiency and quality of their operations. This directly benefits the public. In addition to maintaining a GIS, MarinMap agencies cooperate to improve each agency's business processes, improve public service and provide a forum for collaborative decision making.
Member agencies of MarinMap are organized as a project of the Marin General Services Authority (MGSA). The MGSA is a Joint Powers Agency with a governing Board consisting of Town/City Managers, the County Chief Administrative Officer or his/her designee and two Public Works Directors. They meet at last 6 times a year; more frequently if needed. MGSA’s Executive Director is Paul Berlant. The Program Director for MarinMap is Wayne Bush. He also serves as the Chair of the Steering Committee and Executive Committee (a subcommittee of the Steering Committee).
The MarinMap Executive Committee meets on the first Thursday of every month at 2:00 p.m. at the City of San Rafael Public Works conference room. The address is 111 Morphew Street in San Rafael, California 94901. Directions are available from any Internet travel site such as Google or Mapquest. Click on the "Agendas & Minutes" link to read the agenda. The Steering Committee meets at least twice a year to address "high-level" business matters. The meeting would also be on a first Thursday of the scheduled month at 2:00 p.m. at the same location.
The benefits for agencies cooperating via MarinMap can be significant. For example, by mapping and sharing information about public works projects, agencies can coordinate any digging and street repairs. This can prevent your street from being dug up several times by different agencies that didn't know what their colleagues were doing. Agency employees can benefit by learning from each other and sharing ideas. This leads to the development of "best practices" among them. There is probably one best way (or at least a very good way) to do something that everyone could do. This alone can improve public service. MarinMap can also improve the "geographic literacy" of everyone by placing GIS technology on the World Wide Web. Anyone with Internet access can learn about any area in Marin County. Information can be published with map locations (such as what streets will be dug up when).
It is important to note that problems rarely respect jurisdictional boundaries. Natural disasters such as fires, floods or earthquakes may affect many jurisdictions. MarinMap provides a forum for agencies to coordinate their preparations and response to larger scale problems. Members can share all relevant data necessary to address a problem and negotiate solutions. The technology available today can help agencies update their information in real time and keep current about the unfolding of any situation.
- Provide improved customer service to customers seeking geographically based information;
- Reduce the cost of service to taxpayers and ratepayers;
- Improve agency business processes;
- Provide the opportunity for better decision-making; and
- Encourage cooperation among public agencies, eliminate redundancies, improve efficiency and minimize conflicts.
- Create a system to collect and distribute geographical information
- Maintain the integrity of the geographical information
- Provide enhanced access to geographical data to public agencies and the public
- Develop an equitable means to share Geographic Information System costs
- Establish the exchange of information between participating agencies
- Create a GIS database and computer applications to support agency programs
- Management of infrastructure maintenance and construction
- Emergency response and disaster planning
- Analysis of environmental impacts and understanding of ecological interrelationships
- Public notification
- Planning for the future
- Reduce the cost of Geographic Information System database development and maintenance by facilitating Mapping Data sharing and joint initiatives for development of Mapping Data
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