GIS (Geographic Information Systems)is a system of computer software, hardware and data to help manipulate, analyze and present information that is tied to a specific place on earth. GIS combines layers of information about a place to give you a better understanding of that place. What layers of information you combine depends on your purpose.
For example, GIS can be used to help reach a decision about the location of a new housing development that has minimal environmental impact, is located in a low-risk area, and is close to a population center. The information can be presented accurately and clearly in the form of a map and accompanying report, allowing decision makers to focus on the real issues rather than trying to understand the data. Because GIS products can be produced quickly, multiple scenarios can be evaluated efficiently and effectively.
The Town of Amherst Planning and Development Department utilizes GIS to preform mapping and complex analysis in order to make informed decisions on various topics and projects. We also use GIS to work with developers on potential new industries interested in doing business within the town. Information we have include roads, building footprints, properties, water and sewer lines, fire hydrants, land use zones, hydrology, and much more.