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County board discusses 911 upgrades

CRYSTAL FALLS—As a large part of the September meeting of the Iron County Board of Commissioners, Coleman Engineering gave a presentation to the board on proposed developments to Central Dispatch’s systems for the county to better serve fire numbers to residents.
    Gary Hoagland, accompanied by Jeff Sjoquist, began the presentation by discussing what they had been doing in the county over the last year. Hoagland said that it had been about a year since Coleman had taken over from the previous company that had maintained the county 911 infrastructure.
    Hoagland then gave an overview on one area that Coleman administers, GIS data. GIS is shorthand for “geographic information system” and it is a tool that allows people to record information at a certain location in the world, much like a pin holding up a label on a map. GIS however is much more sophisticated, able to handle many layers of recorded location information at the same time. 911’s GIS data is what allows anyone who is tied into Central Dispatch to find out of the way roads and addresses quickly.
    Each line or point on the digital map contains as much data as possible on that particular location. In order to document some of these details, the county uses specialized GPS units that can tag specific locations. Coleman or the county then verifies the information, and finally puts the finished result into the county GIS after it’s been properly processed.


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