We use the technology all the time — when we look up driving directions online or search for the nearest ATM — and now Chandler officials want to show you everything about geographic information systems.
"When Starbucks wants to build a new coffee shop, they use GIS for the analysis," said Scott Moore, the city’s acting GIS manager.
The mapping technology is used for almost every city service. Police and firefighters use it to guide their way to emergency calls, utility workers use it to locate underground water and power lines, and city planners use it to track Chandler’s development.
City mapmakers will hold an all-day open house Wednesday as part of National GIS Day.
The program will include demonstrations from most city departments showing how workers use the technology to do their jobs.
They will show what the public can find through the city’s Infomap, available through Chandler’s Web site, as well as tools that regular folks never see, such as the locations of water mains and individual police officers and blueprints of local schools.
"We have had discussions about security issues and there are no plans right now to make those available," city spokesman Dave Bigos said.
Nearly 400 Chandler students are expected to attend the open house during the first half of the day. The public is invited to attend from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Officials see the open house as a way to expose all residents to the new technology.
They also see it as a way to sell students on a potential career field.
Representatives from Arizona State University will also be on hand to talk about their GIS program.
Chandler began using GIS technology about two years ago in its police department to track officers’ locations using global positioning satellites, Moore said.
Today, police and firefighters use the technology for much more than finding addresses quickly. Now emergency workers have maps and layouts for almost all Chandler schools.
They’ll start adding the city’s large businesses soon, Moore said.
Chandler GIS Day
Where: Chandler Police Community Room, 250 E. Chicago St.
When: Wednesday, 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free and open to the public