Digitizing Okc Data Speeds Information for Development/saves Research Time

Article excerpt

Digitizing the geobase of Oklahoma City on a computer system can be compared to one of those high school history books with the acetate overlays on a map of America's westward expansion.

The process involves transferring into a computer system information from Atlas maps showing contours, topographics, roadways and utilities so that a computer map can be made showing all or part of the information for planning and development purposes.

Basically, a base map is made on a computer and other information is added to it, explained Oklahoma City Assistant City Manager Richard Ridings. The system is analagous to a hard map with acetate overlays in that it is possible to show only certain information on the base map, said Ridings.

He said such a process certainly is not new to municipal planning, but it is fairly new to Oklahoma City. The end result will make easily accessable many types of previously hard-to-find information, improving land management efforts and development research.

Computer graphics operators have been working at digitizing the geobase of the city since 1981, said Mary Alexander, computer graphics supervisor in the engineer division of the Community Development Department.

The process would result in the following benefits:

- Immediate accessibility to such information for city planners and for private developers, so they wouldn't have to pore over dozens of Atlas maps. This alone, Ridings said, would provide untold savings in man hours.

"The basic advantage is that information retrieval is improved (enormously), compared to what we have now," he said. "The major obstacle to planning is easy access to information."

- Information on the computer maps could be changed rather simply when necessary.

- Storing such information on computer disks would greatly reduce space requirements for storing maps.

- Adding information to maps and creating new maps would require less people by using computers than are required when using Atlas maps.

- The system can be made compatible with various computer systems, so it would be possible in the future to allow developers to subscribe to the system and access the information from their offices. …