Tax & Accounting Blog

Kansas County Realizes Life-saving Benefits from GIS Technology from Thomson Reuters

Aumentum, Blog May 6, 2013


Scott County is a rural jurisdiction in Western Kansas. After an incident involving a misrouted ambulance, the Scott County Commission determined that an evaluation of the deficiencies in the County’s spatial data set was needed. “We had talked for years about a GIS project but talk was as far as it ever went,” said Richard Cramer, Scott County’s Public Works Director. “We needed someone to ‘push’ us a little and help us know how to proceed.” After a meeting with the Thomson Reuters GIS Team in early 2012, Cramer said the County received the information and the direction they needed to move forward. As a result, Thomson Reuters was commissioned to research, evaluate and issue a report to the County with recommendations as to the best course of action for the County to follow.


A team of Thomson Reuters GIS specialists conducted in-depth, on-site interviews with departments identified by the Scott County Commission as stakeholders in geospatial technology. These included the Sheriff’s department, as well as the departments of Public Works and EMS/Emergency Management. Beyond their evaluation and a list of their findings, the report submitted by Thomson Reuters contained recommendations to revamp the County’s Geographic Information System starting in areas of immediate need and where overlap of jurisdictional authority could allow resources to be pooled. This course of action, the report pointed out, would provide a faster return on investment, allowing stakeholders to begin reaping the benefits of GIS almost immediately.

Objectives & Results

Chief among immediate areas of need was the task of correcting, maintaining and deploying
up-to-date addressing resources in the form of a properly modeled road centerline file. All stakeholder departments were in agreement that there was a County wide need for this information. Thomson Reuters was commissioned to provide corrected centerline modeling and addressing. This was completed and has been successfully implemented by the department of Public Works in a third party road inventory database, which is presently in process of being integrated back into the 911 dispatch mapping system. “In addition,” said Cramer, “we’ve been able to identify some Road Right of Way issues which served to initiate further discussion with County Commissioners on needed changes and how to implement them.”

Next Steps

Using cadastral (parcel) data which Thomson Reuters maintains for the County, the next phase of this assignment is to implement high-value secondary projects using cloud collaboration tools like ArcGIS Online. This will allow the County to seamlessly integrate resources that have traditionally been “siloed.” For example, by being able to share and distribute spatial data in real time the Sheriff’s Office and the departments of EMS/Emergency Management and Public Works will be able to collaborate on the development and implementation of a disaster response and incident management plan. Such a plan will include general instruction and coordination solutions for a common set of incidents. The plan will also make use of GIS and newly-updated geo-data to produce cartographic products (maps) to visually illustrate the action plans for common scenarios. According to Cramer, the Public Works department is also currently working toward a complete sign inventory. “We hope to add other things as culverts and corner stones in the near future.”