What is GIS, and how can it help me?

How do I keep track of the number and sizes of pipe that make up the City’s water system? Or the number of manholes or water meters? How do I get started? Where do I begin?

Maybe you’ve heard of the term GIS? If you haven’t, you’re not alone.

Geographic Information System, more commonly known as GIS, is a way to visually represent feature points or “locations,” lines, or shapes and their corresponding data. If you can assign a physical location to the data, it can be represented in GIS.

The data is collected and stored in a database, which can be viewed in both map and spreadsheet format for easy reference. In addition to the data stored in the database (such as size, material, inspection date, or pressure rating), outside data can be linked to the maps. This data can include typed maintenance schedules, repair schedules, and/or record data along with plan sheets, photographs, sketches, or videos, in a number of electronic formats. Because GIS can store multiple features and multiple aspects of data per feature, users can view as much or as little as they want depending on the current need.

Who can benefit from it?

GIS is a useful tool for multiple users and platforms. It can be useful to municipalities, counties, DOTs, parks, hospitals, and private companies (such as construction companies, retailers, factories, and many more). For example, the County assessor can collect data and color code land parcels to show zoning type, owner, address, location within a floodplain, homes with basements, and so on. Or, the public works director in your municipality may want to map out a pipe network, gathering data on pipe type, size, material, slope, connecting structures, condition, and install date. 

A retailer that wishes to build a new store can use features such as streets, neighborhoods, and parcels to analyze which parcels for sale are best to consider. The GIS data can show proximity to major roadways, what other retailers are nearby, and which parcels are within walking distance of residential neighborhoods.

How we can help.

Origin Design has worked with GIS data on many projects, including zoning map updates, pipe network system mapping and assessment, and watershed system modeling. We are able to quickly tell a client how many hydrants are connected to substandard 4” mains, how many miles of trails allow horses, how many hospitals in the state have Level 1 Trauma Centers, or which factory locations produce which products. In addition to managing the data, we have the ability to collect the data with anywhere from meter precision to sub-inch precision.

GIS applications can be used for more than just viewing and sorting data. We have delivered project specific tables and aesthetically pleasing graphics to our clients for internal reporting, publications, presentations, marketing, or fundraising purposes. In addition, having access to this type of data can help make our clients’ jobs easier when scheduling maintenance, ordering supplies, analyzing current and future potential, providing services to their clients, and much more.


Do you want to learn more about GIS?

Follow our journey.

Last Friday, our staff attended the Grand Opening of the Bee Branch Pedestrian Tunnels in Dubuque, IA. The project has made such an impact on the Dubuque community—we're so grateful to have been a part of it! Check out more photos & learn more about the project here.

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Happy International Women in Engineering Day! We're so lucky to have this group of women engineers on our #origincrew! If you've been lucky enough to work with them on a project, you know just how talented they are!

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Andrew Busch, AIA, and Chris Becklin, PE, recently graduated from the ACEC Wisconsin Leadership Institute. ACEC, American Council of Engineering Companies, of Wisconsin annually offers the Leadership Institute. Congrats, Andrew & Chris! We're lucky to have you on our #origincrew!

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Anthony Hartman recently joined Origin Design as a Design Technician. We're excited to have you on our #origincrew, Anthony! Welcome to Origin Design!

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Dylan Kramer is celebrating 5 years at Origin Design! Congrats, Dylan. We're lucky to have you on our Land Survey Team & can't wait to see what you'll accomplish in the next 5!

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Come join our #origincrew! We're looking for an experienced Business Development professional based out of our Quad Cities Office. Learn more & apply here.

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Are you looking to kick start your career in the A/E industry? Or are you looking for a change of pace? We're hiring for multiple positions & we want you to join our #origincrew. Check out our careers page & apply now!

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Today's the Day! Stop by Booth 37 to chat with Nate Miller & Noah Hofrichter to learn about what we can do for you! We hope to see you there!

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#tbt Tim Tranel is celebrating 30 years at Origin Design! Tim has been with Origin (formerly IIW) for his entire career. Check out these throwback photos & join us in wishing him a Happy Anniversary!

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Join us June 6th through 8th at Chula Vista Resort for the Wisconsin County Highway Association Summer Highway Conference! Nate Miller & Noah Hofrichter will be at Booth 37. Stop by & learn more about what we can do for you!

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Welcome to Origin Design, Miles! Miles Carper recently joined Origin as a Field Services Construction Assistant through our summer/fall Co-op Program. We're excited to have you on our #origincrew Miles!

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Andrew Koetz is celebrating 5 years at Origin Design. Congrats Andrew & thanks for everything you do! Here's to the next 5 years!

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