Online GIS Mapping — Frequently Asked Questions
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I don’t know anything about GIS – How do I learn how to use these tools?
No prior GIS experience, software, or special training is necessary to use these tools! They are meant to be accessible to anyone. Instruction guides and videos were created to help you learn to use the maps, and these can be accessed here:
Instruction videos for Beginner and Intermediate Users
Instruction videos for Advanced Users
Beginner and advanced training sessions for your community are also available by contacting Judy East at the Washington County Council of Governments.
GIS, or Geographical Information System, is a computer mapping system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data. A geographic information system (GIS) lets us visualize, question, analyze, and interpret data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. GIS applications are tools that allow users to create interactive queries (user-created searches), analyze spatial information, edit data in maps, and present the results of all these operations on one or more maps.
Geographic Information System (GIS) maps that are provided online give the power of GIS mapping to rural Washington County towns. In larger cities GIS mapping is usually provided in-house and with the services of hired staff. These online GIS maps are provided by the long-standing partnership between the University of Maine at Machias and the Washington County Council of Governments. They are interactive and can be accessed from the Community Planning page on the Washington County Council of Governments website.
The Public Parcel Viewer maps for Washington County towns provide basic information on tax map parcels and assessment information for each town in Washington County. When you search for and find a parcel by map & lot or by address you can then follow a link to the Washington County Real Property Deeds office to get a copy of the deed information for the parcel. These maps can be viewed, saved, printed and shared.
Town specific Planners Maps for Washington County towns provide a more sophisticated web-based tool for Planning Boards and Code Enforcement Officers. The Planners Mapping Tool provides detailed information on proposed land use districts, shoreland zoning, conservation land, shellfish resources, public services, infrastructure, and natural resources. These maps provide a sophisticated web-based tool for Planning Boards and Code Enforcement Officers.
Storm surge scenarios show the estimated depth of water for hurricane storm surges. The storm surge maps assist with emergency and municipal planning, both long-term and during real storm events. Property owners, municipal officials, and first responders can use the town-and bay-specific scenarios in Washington County to visualize storm surge inundation from severe storms.
No, the Online GIS Maps can be accessed and used without a user account. For some advanced applications you do need to create a public account; for Advanced users there are instructions on how to create a free public account.
The maps and instruction guides for Washington County were made possible by a long-standing collaboration between the (WCCOG) and the (UMM-GIS). The Online GIS Maps are the product of several years of work by the students, graduates and employees of the UMM GIS Service Center. Under the supervision of Director Tora Johnson they contributed countless hours of time in the creation of these maps.
These maps were created with the most recent information available. As it is made available, the and Washington County Council of Governments will add new data. If you find errors, have updates, or if your town needs a list of consultants who can assist you with creation of updated parcel maps, please contact Judy East or Tora Johnson.
Any questions, issues, or errors that arise while using the online mapping tools, please alert the UMM GIS Laboratory and Service Center via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond as promptly as possible in order to provide the best service to our local communities.
The cost varies considerably depending on the size of the town and how out of date the available information is. Towns should contact Judy East or Tora Johnson to receive an estimate based on a community’s individual needs. Graduates of the UMM-GIS center are also available on a contractual basis to assist communities with mapping needs. Click here for a list of local contractors (list is pending, please check back soon or contact Tora Johnson).
The maps and applications are for reference and planning purposes only and not to be used for assessment or conveyance. Please refer to surveys or deeds for specific property line locations.
These online maps provide a view of your town’s tax map parcels in digital format. A benefit of using the digital information is that a municipality can have other data layers, like Shoreland Zoning, printed directly on the parcel maps. One advantage is the ability to quickly locate a parcel. View a short You Tube video to help you learn how: Using the Public Parcel Viewer to Search for a Parcel by Address or Map and Lot Number.
Yes. Once you access the maps on your mobile devise, you can proceed to use the maps as you would on any other device. You can also use the locator feature on your mobile device to identify where you are on the map.
In order to save or share a Planners’ Map, you must create a user account and sign in. Go to www.arcgis.com/home/ Click on the “sign-up now” icon. Enter the necessary information to activate an account. Next time you use the planning maps, sign in to your account to take full advantage of the online resource. ESRI account users can upload and host layers with 1,000 features or fewer and under 10mb. They can create, edit and save new map note layers in the map. They can use larger layers from other sources, such as UMM’s ArcGIS Online (AGOL) subscription service or UMM’s ArcGIS Server, in saved maps. With a free account, users can also create groups of users who share maps with each other. See Advanced Users instructions for a video describing how to set up a public account.