GIS Contributions to State Success and Future Goals

Jul. 14, 2016

We are constantly looking at new ways GIS technology is being utilized to achieve local, state and national goals. I thought in this article I would analyze Governor Hickenlooper’s 2016 State of the State address for Colorado back in January for such contributions. Below are some of the many ways spatial technology is playing a critical role in government.


Colorado Goals and Accomplishments:

  • Comprehensive Statewide Water Plan: The goal of the water plan was to make water go further, protect the natural environment, and ensure agriculture and recreational industries keep flourishing. Geospatial data plays a critical role in identifying and managing water resources. Spatial data also plays a key role in identifying and completing important water projects. 
  • Economic Growth: As part of the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 Initiative was developed. This initiative was launched to advance regional economic development opportunities. Because of this program, Costilla County, Colorado, will soon be home to Blanca Forestry Products, creating over 100 jobs in the first year. Spatial data is used to better understand economic zones and development in Colorado.
  • Tourism: In 2014, Colorado hit two records which saw over 71 million visitors spending an estimated $18.6 billion. Many of those visitors traveled to Colorado for recreation. Colorado established the  Outdoor Recreation Industry Office to help communities grow their recreation business which is an estimated $34.5 billion industry in Colorado. Spatial data is used in the development of most recreation projects.
  • Community Development: There is promising work going on in the Main Street improvement initiative including the goal of bringing broadband to every corner in Colorado. The Colorado the Beautiful initiative has the goal of every Coloradoan living within a 10 minute walk of a park. Spatial data is heavily used in community development projects including development of parks and even placement of broadband towers.
  • Colorado Resident Health: Numerous initiatives are going with the goal of making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. This includes increased access to health services and use of preventative services and early screenings.
  • Cleaner More Sustainable Energy: With programs such as Colorado Climate Plan and Clean Power Plan, Colorado is positioned to be a leader in sustainable energy market working closely with the oil & gas companies. 
  • Infrastructure: With a projected 2 million more residents to live in Colorado over the next 20 years, geospatial data is used for such infrastructure projects as the widening of I-225 around the Dener metro, the addition of an I-25 North express lane, improvements to I-70, and the commuter rail projects, among many others.
  • Watershed Contamination: Due to last summer’s Gold King Mine Spill, spatial data is being used for watershed containment plans, emergency preparedness plans and to create a statewide inventory of draining mines to prioritize for clean-up.

As you can see, spatial data is critical to many local, state and national goals and projects. Add your thoughts and ideas to other applications of geospatial data in government below.

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