News Flash Home
The original item was published from 11/23/2022 9:27:00 AM to 11/23/2022 10:35:38 AM.

News Flash

Riley County Home Page

Posted on: November 23, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Exploring Data-Rich Maps in Riley County

screenshot of public maps gallery

Last week, Governor Kelly proclaimed November 16 as GIS day in Kansas, recognizing that use and application of geospatial technology is crucial to operating our infrastructure, sustaining our natural resources, and stimulating economic growth. Although we benefit from the work of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) departments across the nation, most of what they do happens quietly behind the scenes. For example, did you know you can look at a map online that includes the streets, wagon trails, schoolhouses, and railroad tracks in Riley County in 1881? Did you know you can see the exact areas impacted by the 1993 flood, or find out if a home is in the current flood hazard area? You can also view custom maps that highlight all the parks, trails, and disc golf courses nearby. A little exploration into the world of data mapping can reveal a lot about the amazing place where we live. 

If this is the first time you’ve heard of it, Geographic Information Systems basically connects data to a map, integrating location (where things are) with descriptive information (what things are like there). This provides a foundation for mapping and analysis used in science and almost every industry.

In Riley County, the GIS department consists of three people; Jacob Galyon, Sherie Taylor, and Will Habiger. They maintain maps and data to support all county departments, plus realtors, local engineering companies, students, historians, and the general public. 

“We maintain data for decision-making and package it so it’s easy to use,” said Jacob Galyon, Sr. GIS Analyst. “A typical day involves making sure everything is up and running. An unusual day might involve building an App to catalog property damage after a tornado or printing maps for a local hunter; it just depends on what people need.”

One of the unusual days happened this June after the severe windstorm and F1 tornado damaged sections of the county. The Appraiser’s Office needed a system to manage and organize property damage assessments, so GIS designed an App they could use to input data directly from the field. Staff used the custom App to wrap up the community assessment in a matter of days. 

“This work was only possible because Jacob created the App to assist us,” said County Appraiser Anna Burson. “I’m very thankful to our GIS/IT team as we explore new technologies and streamline processes to help homeowners across the county.”

Some data sets, such as the damage assessment details, are available only to staff. Other maps are free and available to the public through the online Riley County GIS Community Viewer. In 2016, the department won a Special Achievement Award for creating a Public Maps Gallery featuring curated content that is easy to use on a smartphone or tablet. 

“When I started working with Riley County in the 80’s, all of this work was done by hand using protractors and rulers,” said GIS Analyst Sherie Taylor. “When we got the ESRI software in 1998, it changed everything. Now, title companies and realtors couldn’t function without GIS data. Everything would slow to a crawl without it.” 

Improvements to the already impressive technology are constantly in the works and new images for Riley County maps are gathered every two years by a plane that flies over the territory. 

“Right now, property lines on the map are fairly accurate visual representations, but they are not survey quality. We’re looking to change that over the next few years,” said Galyon.

In the world of technology, keeping up with new innovations is a constant challenge. 

“I’m grateful the county recognizes the importance of this work and makes sure we have the tools and training we need to be successful at our jobs. It’s a lot to take in but I don’t want the public to be scared to ask questions. Even if you just need to know how to get started, we’re happy to help – just call us,” said GIS Analyst Will Habiger. 

The Governor’s proclamation reminds us to pay attention to important work which keeps our society running. We are proud of the work done by the Riley County GIS Division and encourage you to explore the data. Give yourself plenty of time, though, the rabbit hole is deep. 

Note: You can search for Riley County GIS in your browser to access maps from anywhere - there's no need to remember the direct links.

 three people standing in front of a bookshelf, maps, and globe in an office

Public Maps Gallery
Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Riley County Home Page

storm clouds over residential neighborhood

Preparing for Severe Weather Season

Posted on: February 26, 2024
3 members of wildland fire crew wearing protective gear and carrying hand tools, flames visible

Prairie Burning Season in Riley County

Posted on: February 21, 2024
people standing and smiling while being presented certificates

Riley County Board of County Commissioners Honors Retiring Planning Board Members

Posted on: February 12, 2024 | Last Modified on: April 11, 2013
men and women sitting at wooden desks with flags and county seal in background

Board of County Commission Meetings

Posted on: January 1, 2024 | Last Modified on: April 11, 2013
limestone office building with stone sign in front reading Riley County Office Building

Updated Riley County Property Valuation for 2024

Posted on: February 2, 2024 | Last Modified on: April 11, 2013
photo of fire truck and firefighters at night

Randolph mobile home destroyed in fire

Posted on: January 26, 2024
white, red, and blue graphic describing presidential preference primary calendar

Presidential Preference Primary Election will be held March 19

Posted on: January 25, 2024 | Last Modified on: April 11, 2013
view over the shoulder of a firefighter using hose to douse trailer fire

One pet perished in structure fire that destroyed mobile home south of Manhattan

Posted on: January 22, 2024 | Last Modified on: April 11, 2013
icy blue background with text "caution extreme cold"

Riley County prepares for extreme cold

Posted on: January 10, 2024
photo of construction equipment with text Public Works Update

9/20/2023 Public Works Project Update

Posted on: September 20, 2023
Riley County office building with logo, blue filter, and text 2024 budget information

2024 Budget - true vs false

Posted on: September 11, 2023
stone office building with high archways

Riley County 2024 Budget Update

Posted on: August 29, 2023
sun and thermometer drawing to represent dangerous heat

Safety Tips for Excessive Heat

Posted on: August 18, 2023
commuity lagoon in Leonardville

Keats Sewer Project Update

Posted on: August 7, 2023
bivalent covid vaccines now available

Bivalent COVID-19 Doses at RCHD

Posted on: May 1, 2023
wildland firefighters, flames, and tall grasses

4/11/2022 Carlson Road Fire Update

Posted on: April 8, 2022

Road Construction & Closures

Posted on: February 4, 2011