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Building an interactive zoning map

By January 23, 2017January 25th, 2017Project Updates, Staff Activity

From vision, to plan, to implementation. It’s no secret that we pride ourselves on leading robust community-driven planning processes and preparing plans that lead to results. But we also relish opportunities to help communities take their plans to action. That’s clear in our work in Anniston, Alabama where, since leading their One City One Vision strategic plan, we’ve helped the city prepare a land use plan and supported an update to their zoning code – the first in over 30 years.

We took that work a step further recently when city staff asked for guidance in making their new regulations and zoning map interactive. The city does not have in-house GIS capabilities, but staff wanted a way to efficiently browse the zoning map and identify parcel information throughout the city.

Our solution was to build a custom web-based map application using low-cost tools. The web map accurately reflects the city’s newly adopted zoning map and allows staff and the public to quickly find a location in the city and identify the zoning and parcel information in a way that is not possible with a printed map. The application employs open source technology and two services: Mapbox and CARTO. Mapbox drives the interface and allowed us to customize every aspect of the map, from the order of layers and their appearance, to the size and placement of labels. CARTO provides a robust geodatabase where we stored parcel information that powers the application’s search tool. This solution gave Anniston a simple yet powerful web map at a substantially lower cost than traditional online GIS. It’s another way we’re helping a community implement their plans for the future.

View the map and tell us what you think: