Scottsdale provides intricate city maps for upcoming projects - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Scottsdale provides intricate city maps for upcoming projects

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Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2006 7:35 am | Updated: 3:17 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

If you need directions, Scottsdale has the map. Directions to a hilly hike, a rack for a bike. Directions to a crumbling road, violations of city code ...

The city’s Graphics Information System technicians have the 184.4 square miles of Scottsdale covered, from detailed aerial shots to schematics of what’s under the ground. Earlier this week, the GIS division showed off its wares, giving a glimpse of how complex its maps can be.

For example, city officials can examine a plot of land near Scottsdale Airport and hypothesize the effects of imaginary high-tension power lines running through. Where would these lines connect with the existing electrical grid? Which homes might have their views of the mountains affected? Would this endanger planes?

Three questions asked by different city divisions, answered in the course of a few movements and clicks on a mouse.

“I think the power of this is just being realized by other departments,” city GIS manager Chris Lechner said Wednesday.

Almost all of the maps are rendered in a flat form, and Lechner said a development to watch for is the wider advent of 3-D plotting. He said that will come in handy when surveying spots for emergency communications radio towers; with 3-D rendering, dead zones can be discerned before it’s too late.

For more information

Check the city’s Digital Map Center at

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