Early Vermont GIS History

This collection contains items from the history of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) in Vermont
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Link to resource: VGH0002.pdf


A Geographic Information System for Vermont


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(excerpt from document)
Recent advancements in computer technology, data handling, and manipulation have made the concept of a detailed statewide geographically related information system a reality. Generally referred to as a geographic information system or simply GIS, these systems are designed to accept large volumes of spatial data derived from a variety of sources and to efficiently store, retrieve, manipulate, analyze and display these data according to user defined specifications.

In late 1980 the University of Vermont?s School of Natural Resources acquired a major commercially available geographic information system from the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) of Redlands, California. Made possible from monies from the U.S. Forest Service, Univerisyt of Vermont and Digital Equipment Corporation, this system spent much of the next two years in a research and development environment. The current version of the ESRI system, running on a DEC VAX 750 computer is called ARC/INFO. ARC is the geographic or map portion of the system and INFO, a relational data base manager handles feature attributes. INFO is a separate product of Henco Software, Inc. that has been incorporated into the geographic information system by ESRI. Together they make up perhaps the strongest, most flexible GIS available today.

The concept of a Vermont resource data base was considered as early as 1979. In the summer of 1982 a series of meetings were held to begin the formal planning process for a geographically referenced data base in Vermont. Persons attending the meeting included representatives from state and federal agencies, the University of Vermont and the private sector. From these meetings initial information layers were selected for inclusion in the data base. These data sources include landcover, soils, topography, transportation, stream course, watershed and political boundaries. In June 1983 the University of Vermont and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service entered into a cooperative agreement, initiating the data entry process for the statewide geographic information system. Figure 1 contains a state ,ap delineating the area that will be available in the system by October 1985. All of Franklin and Grand Isle Counties are available for use today.

Establishment of a statewide, geographically referenced information system is a major undertaking requiring a significant attitude adjustment in the way information is viewed and utilized. Once information has been incorporated into the manipulative powers of the GIS, it must become the original document if the system is to remain current. Stored in an electronic format it can be reproduced, modified and displayed any number of times, each equivalent or better than the initial data entry material. Able to be rapidly transmitted to widely dispersed areas, information can be incorporated in critical resource decision processes at great distance from the original data collector?s map case or file drawer. Within a GIS laborious tasks of merging complimentary data sets can be accomplished easily, enhancing the information base.

The remainder of this booklet will be devoted to a brief explanation of the information contained in the system and examples of its use. Examples of the type of output that can be obtained are shown at a state level for 1980 census information and at a county or watershed level for other information sources. The county used in the examples is Franklin County and the watershed selected is Stevens Brook. The Stevens Brook watershed is a subwatershed of the St. Albans Bay watershed and was selected because map examples would fit in this booklet. Much larger maps are of course possible and can be drawn in color. The location of the Stevens Brook watershed is shown in Figure 2.
Table of Contents: Introduction to a Geographic Information System for Vermont . . . p. 1
Data Entry and Source . . . p. 2
Examples of the Vermont Geographic Information System . . . p.8
Date Covered: 1983-1985  
Date: 1983  
Geographic Coverage: Vermont, statewide  
Creator: Smith, Gary  
Format: 40 p. : ill. ; 8.5 x 11 in.  
Provenance: Donated by Gary Smith, September 2009. Format received was paper photocopy. Digitally scanned into PDF, 300 dpi, using Ricoh Aficio MP C5000 Super G3, December 2009.  
Publisher: Burlington, Vermont : School of Natural Resources, University of Vermont, 1983  
Type: Text  
Rights: Public Domain  
Bibliographic Citation:  
See also: The Creation of the Vermont State Data Base -- A Program of Work
Comments by Gary Smith about the beginning of GIS in Vermont

Link to resource: VGH0002.pdf

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