Community Spotlight: GIS Maps Poinsett County

December 1, 2006 - Posted at 4:38 p.m. CST

HARRISBURG, AR -- Imagine...a technology that can easily calculate emergency response times or could be used to update plat books for farmers in a matter of minutes.  Poinsett County went to work on the geographic information system program in May of 2005 and just two months ago, it went into operation.

If you live in Poinsett've definitely made your mark, at least on this map.  The geographic information system--or GIS--is allowing officials a better view.

"It's going to help the county clerk with location within our school districts and our voting districts and then also the county judges are going to be able to know exactly where his county roads are. There are overlays that go on here up to 500 that can actually show you southwestern bell lines and how the county judge can keep from cutting into lines that right there," said Poinsett County Assessor Johnny Rye, Jr.

The Geographic Information System has proved to be quite the bargain for Poinsett County.  The $43,000 program was paid for with funds already appropriated and towns like Truman can expect to save at least $20,000 on mapping costs with the new technology.

It's also keeping the county safer...and is being implemented into the sheriff's department.

"You can use it for assessment purposes and the other cases we are going to use this and we are already in the process of using it at the sheriff's office and the 9-1-1 to locate people when they call in," said Rye, "You know in the past if you had a 9-1-1 call it had to be from the residency, now this can be performed off cellular phones."

A series of dots locate homes and businesses and zooming in can get you as close as the family pool.

"There is an overlay that comes upon this that is called a centerline, this makes the make within one foot of accuracy throughout the whole county," said Rye.

Poinsett County is one of only three counties in the state that uses the 6-inch digital photograph technology. The other two are St. Francis and Crawford Counties.