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Geographic Information Systems
Geographic Information Systems (GIS), a computerized mapping system of technologies used to manage data and records more efficiently and effectively. It can organize, manage, store and manipulate spatial data in many ways. GIS presents associations between different sets of data that may never have been realized before or may have been extremely difficult to integrate. GIS adds the visual and spatial aspect to data management.

One primary benefit of a GIS is to be the authoritative source of data. Maps can represent data relationships in a manner that is easy to understand and conceptualize. For example, a GIS map might show visually the relationship between household income and water usage.

Map Uses
Maps are essential components of most town departments, including zoning, property and asset management and inventory. These maps are used every day, and are maintained in a coordinated effort by all departments. Our GIS data sets include utilities, roads, buildings, property and records. Most of theses data sets are accessible through our online GIS which is powered by ESRI's ArcGIS software.

Evolution of GIS
Below is a brief outline of the evolution of GIS here in town: 
  • From 1991 through 1992, the town began mapping parcels, water and sewer lines using AutoCAD
  • In 1992, the town acquired additional GIS data from Erie County Water Authority to include street centerlines, pavement edges, building footprints, pole locations and contours
  • In 1995, Technical Support purchased its first GIS software
  • In 1996, the town hired a consultant to perform a GIS User Needs Assessment to provide deployment and implementation strategies
  • In 2000, the GIS User Needs Assessment was updated
  • In 2002, the town hired a consultant to convert several CAD files to GIS, modify the geographic coordinate system of GIS data, create the GIS sub-address data and provide public access to GIS data from Erie County’s Internet Mapping System
  • In 2006, the town received a New York State Office of Real Property grant to purchase GIS server hardware and software, create a web-accessible Tonawanda Real Property System (TRPS) and photograph over 25,000 residential parcels
  • In late spring of 2007, the town debuted its Internet Mapping service for both public and town-only purposes
  • In 2008, the GIS User Needs Assessment was again updated
  • The GIS Server was upgraded in 2011 and GIS data was migrated into a spatial database

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