Mapping "the Ballroom"

While GIS analyses are valuable for real-time crises like floods, fires, and crime fighting, there's no end to the possible applications of this high tech tool. For example, the Bureau of Land Management used a GIS to map dinosaur tracks in northern Wyoming. There, in the Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite, is a place where saurian footprints are so numerous that it's known as "the Ballroom." Scientists faced with the challenge of making sense of the tracks wisely opted to harness technology in their daunting task. After collecting detailed information about each footprint, they fed measurements, survey coordinates, aerial photos, geologic information, and more into a GIS database. With this information, their GIS generated an image of the site -- complete with color-coded dots representing the tracks -- allowing the scientists to analyze the dinosaurs' movements.





The Big Picture

While the possibilities for matching, comparing, and analyzing information this way are staggering, GIS systems are only as good as the data that go into them. Fortunately, there is a multitude of excellent ways to collect new data, ranging from satellite information to old-fashioned human observation. Government and non-government organizations also have large repositories of existing data. Add to this the potent possibilities of sharing data, and a new world of analysis and projection opens up that will give communities across the country, like Tillamook County, better information for making better decisions.

For more information about GIS, visit one of the following useful Internet sites:

The Federal Geographic Data Committee

The National Spatial Data Infrastructure Site

Geographic Information Systems:

Tillamook's GIS

For more information about the Tillamook demonstration project, call Tillamook County Commissioners, Sue Cameron or Gina Firman, at (503) 842 3403.






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