GIS

Key Services & Resources

Mission Statement

To facilitate the exchange and organization of geographic information while maintaining high standards, providing great customer service, and authoring quality cartographic products.

What is GIS?

Geographic Information Systems.

The "Geographic" part of the phrase indicates that in addition to normal tabular data like a name, color, value, or phone number, we keep an important additional piece of information in our tables - the geography. The geography is a special tabular data-type that stores the physical location of a record. These locations are kept as points (node X,Y), lines (nodes of X,Y's), or Polygons (nodes of X,Y's that connect at a start and end).

The "Information Systems" portion suggests that it takes a technology infrastructure to maintain data in this fashion. We use a complex combination of software and hardware to interact with the above described geographic information. We maintain a system that allows us to: save and store data, host websites that share data to the internet, and automate data maintenance.

From that Geographic Information System, we can then do things like create maps, run reports, and run analytic models.

What does Pottawattamie County GIS do?

The GIS Department plays a complex role not only within the department itself but also within other County departments. As geographic information is collected, edited, and distributed, it takes central management to make all of the data work together. We call that Enterprise GIS.

By centralizing data and infrastructure management, we make it possible for other County departments to be specialized in their core tasks - gps-tagging wells, delineating trails, locations of crimes, etc. While the GIS Department does maintain information internally, such as parcel boundaries, survey locations, and parcel designations, we also facilitate the creating, collection, and dissemination of that data for other County departments.

What do we do with all this information? We create maps, we share the data online with the public and private sectors, and we archive and library the data for the purpose of record-keeping and research.

Department History

The Pottawattamie County Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Department was formed in June of 2002 to administer and grow the County’s GIS program. In 1998, the County made a significant investment in GIS technologies; including aerial photography, various spatial datasets, powerful new workstations, and leading GIS software. By 2002, the County recognized the potential of their GIS and subsequently addressed the need for internal management and budgeting. The decision was made to form an independent County department, whose administrator would report directly to the Board of Supervisors. Capital and budgeted monies were set aside to fund the new department. In June of 2002, a GIS Program Manager was hired and the GIS Department was officially formed. Today the department is headed by the County CIO and staffed by two full-time employees and an intern.


Jamie Petersen
GIS Coordinator
Phone (712) 328-4885
Hours 8:00am to 4:30pm
Monday through Friday
Location Pottawattamie County Courthouse Annex
Second Floor
223 S 6th St
Council Bluffs, IA 51501