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franklin county times

GIS consortium honored for work

GIS manager Michael Hughes, county engineer David Palmer and Keith Cook with ESRI.

The Franklin County GIS Consortium was honored during Monday’s Franklin County Commission meeting for developing a website and implementing a GIS program that links as many as 14 county agencies together.
Keith Cook, who spoke to the commission on behalf of ESRI, one of the world’s largest privately owned software firms, said the county’s GIS technology is comparable to that being used in many large metropolitan areas.
“I wish there were another 60 counties like Franklin County in Alabama,” Cook said as he spoke of the role that GIS played in wake of the April 27, 2011, tornado.
County engineer David Palmer, who helped spearhead the consortium’s development, said the GIS program was instrumental in recovery and rebuilding efforts following the deadly storm.
“I really don’t know where we would be without it,” he said.
The Franklin County GIS Consortium was formed in 2005, but really became a useful tool in the last couple of years.
“We knew the technology was out there, but we didn’t have a lot of knowledge about it,” Palmer said. “We knew it gave us an opportunity to do things we had never been able to do before. The consortium pulled 14 different agencies together and without every one of them, we would not be where we are today.”
Franklin County GIS manager Michael Hughes went to work for the county just a month and a half before the April 2011tornado outbreak and Palmer said his influence and work on the GIS program has elevated it to a higher level than anyone could have imagined.
“We had the vision and knew where we wanted it to be, but Michael Hughes is the guy who got it there,” Palmer said.
The action during Monday’s meeting was a follow up to a ceremony held in San Diego, Calif., this summer in which the county’s GIS efforts were honored as well.