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Natural Resource Management: GIS

What Is GIS?

The Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) actively uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) to support our natural resource management efforts. GIS is a powerful computer-based mapping program that allows for the creation, manipulation, and analysis of a wide variety of information in a geographic context.

Dakota County Online GIS Map

What is a GIS used for?

A GIS is used for organizing spatial information, mapping, and solving complex research, planning, and management problems. It expands the two-dimensional nature of a map to include information from a database. For example, a map can tell you where a river is located, but a GIS can show you where it is, its average flow, how many people use it, or calculate the distance to the nearest boat launch.

Our GIS is used on a daily basis to conduct preliminary assessments for sites throughout the county. By overlaying soils, wetlands, topography, and other data sets, staff are well informed about a site before conducting a field review. This also saves time because we no longer have to rifle through several separate paper files.

In addition to displaying and plotting these data, the SWCD can complete more sophisticated GIS projects. In fact, GIS allows us to do many things we couldn't do in the past because it would have been too expensive or time consuming.

GIS Projects & News
Aerial Photography