The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 26, 2007

Cambria County project puts maps, data on Web site

BY SANDRA K. REABUCK

Businessmen in Japan, vacationers on the beach or a local resident Web-surfing from the comfort of home now can find Cambria County mapping information online, commissioners announced Friday.

“Anybody on the Web can now look at the assets Cambria County has to offer,” President Commissioner P.J. Stevens said during a news conference at Johnstown’s Integrated Emergency Operations Center, 1003 Broad St.

The county’s geographic information system (GIS) office is located in the Cambria City center.

The Internet information is all part of Cambria’s $2 million GIS project, which was the brainchild of a prior board of commissioners.

To access the new information, Internet users can go to the county’s Web site at www.co.cambria.pa.us, then click on the “GIS Web Mapping” link.

It is an ongoing project as more information is added to the system. The mapping includes bird’s-eye photos of property parcels throughout the county.

The information is used by Cambria County’s 911 Center for its dispatching and emergency operations and for providing addresses for new structures.

It also will be used by other county offices and agencies including the assessment office, which will update its deed-transfer records.

Cambria County officials were able to obtain a $1.3 million grant from the state Department of Transportation to pay for most of the GIS project, Stevens said.

The information system is seen as a valuable tool for economic development, officials said.

“Access is now a lot quicker than running down to somebody’s (courthouse) office and digging through files or finding them hidden in a closet. What took hours or even weeks now takes minutes,” said Steve Kocsis, the county’s GIS specialist.

More than 40 of Cambria County’s 63 municipalities have contributed to the project, Kocsis said.

Municipalities can, through the county, add information to the system including details dealing with watersheds, flood plains, storm sewers and hydrants, officials said.