GIS Map Project Could Help Law Enforcement

SNOW HILL – A college project is expected to provide expanded access to GIS maps for Worcester County law enforcement.

County officials agreed to allow Worcester County employee Mark Dunlevy to create a web-based mapping system as a school project as he pursues a master’s degree in GIS Management. The web-based system would allow the Worcester County State’s Attorney and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department direct access to maps they currently can only get by going through the Department of Development Review and Permitting.

“It will pay for itself down the road,” said State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby. “It’s a time saver. I’m in complete support of it.”

According to Ed Tudor, director of the Department of Development Review and Permitting, Dunlevy, who works in the department’s technical services division, would create a web-based map on his own time, as part of what’s required of him by Salisbury University as he works on his master’s degree. The project, Tudor explained, would help him earn his degree and would provide a service to the county. The web-based map would save Tudor’s staff time, as individuals from Oglesby’s office and the Sheriff’s Department could access the mapping program themselves and wouldn’t need to have employees from Tudor’s department look it up for them.

“We will no longer have to meet individual requests,” Tudor said.

Although county staff members have considered ways to streamline the GIS mapping process in the past, Tudor said none proved feasible. Additional GIS software licenses would allow more people to use the software but were expensive. Having a consultant do a web-map like Dunlevy proposed would also be expensive, at more than $11,000.

Tudor said that Dunlevy’s project would cost the county just $2,533 in associated consulting fees. That expense would be split between his department, Oglesby’s department and the Sheriff’s Office.

Oglesby and Colonel Doug Dods of the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office voiced their support for the project.

“It’s more timely,” Dodd said. “We’re first responders. We may need stuff in five minutes.”

Commissioner Diana Purnell asked who would own the computer application once Dunlevy created it. Sonny Bloxom, Worcester County’s attorney, had similar concerns.

“How does it become ours?” he asked, pointing out that the county wasn’t paying Dunlevy for the work.

Bloxom suggested commissioners approve the concept and give him time to work with Tudor on a way to work out the ownership details.

The commissioners voted unanimously to allow Dunlevy to move forward with the work.

“It sounds like a win-win,” Commissioner Bud Church said.