In This Issue, April 2016
West Meadows Metropolitan District Uses DRCOG's Planimetric Data
Article submitted by Jim Castagneri, geographer at U.S Census Bureau (720-962-3882, [email protected]).

As a geographer with the U.S. Census Bureau, I spend my days working with geospatial data from a variety of sources. So when my role as secretary of the West Meadows Metropolitan District required map information about the infrastructure of the district and surrounding neighborhoods, I naturally turned to GIS. Unfortunately, until the recent release of planimetric data from DRCOG, I had little option but to hand-digitize much of what I needed. My requirements were not quite engineering-level data, but more detail than what public data (like TIGER) could provide. I was faced with hand digitizing sidewalks and road edges, greenways, and rights of ways. For a small district, this is not a huge task. You might wonder; why does a special district need such things?

Metropolitan districts in Colorado often provide municipal services for unincorporated areas that might normally be provided by a city. In our small district, we are responsible for all landscape maintenance and facility upkeep along the right of way for West Coal Mine Avenue. This includes landscaping, sidewalk concrete, street lights, path lighting, sprinkler lines, turf, trees, flower beds, and park benches. The board of directors is responsible for executing and managing annual contracts for maintenance services and repairs. Without an accurate map of the district, it is very difficult to keep track of resources and improvements that have been made. This is where planimetric data in a GIS will prove invaluable for the West Meadows Metropolitan District. We can now plan, monitor, and evaluate work in a more efficient manner. We can produce work orders and request for proposal that include accurate maps of the area in question. This leads to more concise work descriptions and more clearly defined contracts. We can analyze distances, area measurements, and determine which housing units might be affected by trenching for water lines for example. 
Creating such data in-house would be cost prohibitive for all but the largest districts. By providing open-source planimetric data to public, DRCOG has changed the face of managing special districts forever.
Start-up Uses DRCOG's Planimetric Data to Help the Visually Impaired
Article submitted by Sumanth Channabasappa, Co-founder and CTO at eyeBot ([email protected]).

At eyeBot LLC we are building solutions to help the blind and visually impaired solve a big everyday problem: How to safely navigate city streets and indoor areas. Challenges for blind and visually impaired people range from an absence of spatial awareness to, unfortunately, collisions with obstacles and vehicles. Just ask our colleague and CEO Mike Hess! 

As a Colorado startup, we want our cities to lead the nation in enabling accessibility and welcoming blind and visually impaired users. To realize our initial mobile app based interface we needed local geographic data with more granularity than what Map providers were offering. We were recommended the DRCOG Planimetric data by friends who work for the City and County of Denver and the State of Colorado. This proved to be a fruitful suggestion. This data is now a part of our solution that provides spatial awareness. 

We are in the process of testing and refining our solution with the help of BVI friends, and in early discussions about trials to make cities more accessible. As one can imagine our solutions have many uses beyond the blind and visually impaired community.
DRCOG's Regional Planimetric Project Update
Article submitted by Ashley Summers, GISP, DRCOG information systems manager (303-480-6746, [email protected]).

DRCOG is nearing the end of a giant project to procure detailed infrastructure data for the region. Currently eight of 11 sections of the region have been delivered and we are on schedule to finish mid-summer. Check out our progress on the map. Data can be downloaded now from our Regional Data Catalog. 

DRCOG would like to thank the partners that contributed funding to the purchase of this data for the region. Without their participation, this project could not have happened.

"Their foresight to imagine the process improvements, innovative research, and entrepreneurship fostered by this data shows their commitment to regionalism." 
---    DRCOG Executive Director Jennifer Shaufele

These partners will be recognized at DRCOG's Annual Awards dinner April 27:
  • Brian Davis - City of Arvada
  • Bill Keever - City of Aurora
  • Trish Stiles - Town of Bennett
  • Jeff Caldwell - Town of Castle Rock
  • Derek Stertz - City of Centennial
  • Kirk Hayer - City of Commerce City
  • Doug Genzer - City and County of Denver
  • Robert Stansauk - Denver Water
  • John Voboril - City of Englewood 
  • Cindy Kamigaki - Town of Frederick
  • Kevin Brown - City of Glendale
  • Kim Soulliere - City of Golden
  • Jack Cornelius - City of Greenwood Village
  • Roger Caruso - City of Lafayette
  • Mike Demmon - City of Lone Tree
  • Kevin Corzine - City of Lakewood
  • Chris Neves - City of Louisville
  • Travis Reynolds - City of Northglenn
  • Dan Jackson - Regional Transportation District
  • Deborah Wilson - City of Thornton
  • Annabel Montoya - City of Wheat Ridge
Denver Water Uses DRCOG's Regional Zoning Data
Article submitted by Mitch Horrie at Denver Water (303-628-6703 or [email protected]).

Denver Water serves 1.3 million people in a service area that spans 336 square miles and includes the City and County of Denver and many surrounding suburbs. How the Denver metro region grows will influence the demand for water and we must be prepared to meet the water needs of our service area into the future.

Denver Water has long relied on DRCOG's demographic projections to generate water demand forecasts. More recently, we have been interested in integrating zoning information into our water demand forecast modeling. The regional zoning data provided by DRCOG is valuable in planning to meet the water needs of the future because it helps shed light on the opportunities and limitations for growth in our service area as we explore futures where population grows at varying rates and patterns.

Check out DRCOG's Regional Zoning Data and Map in the Regional Data Catalog.
DRVR Workshops and Training
Article submitted by Ashley Summers, GISP, DRCOG information systems manager (303-480-6746, [email protected]).

DRCOG launched the new Denver Regional Visual Resources (DRVR) site in October 2015 and has spent the first quarter of 2016 on a roadshow to introduce it to planners, GIS professionals, community advocates, and media in the region.

We're hearing that the site is useful for grant writing, seeing local projects/programs in context, understanding trends for better planning, and for making presentations. Some of our workshop attendees said:

"... the maps were visually appealing, and the data behind them is so robust." It will be useful "when assisting small business entrepreneurs and nonprofits needing info on demographics and statistical facts in the Denver metro area."
---  Denver Public Library

"I'm thrilled to have the data accessible in one resource."
---  Local newspaper

"This has the potential to be of great use to a number of city departments such as Community Development, City Manager's Office and Finance." -
- -
Local GIS Coordinator

Learn more about DRVR through our handout and FAQs.

If you'd like for someone from DRCOG to reach out to your agency about DRVR, please us know. We are happy to show you around the site!
Your Article Goes HERE!
The Data Consortium Newsletter is facilitated by DRCOG but is designed to be written by GIS professionals like you. This quarterly newsletter reaches more than 200 people and has a higher-than-average open rate. It's the perfect place to show off your projects, highlight your great work, and contribute ideas to the GIS community in the Denver Region.

The next newsletter goes out in July. Please contact Ashley Summers at 303-480-6746 or
[email protected] by June to contribute.
New Resources Available in the Regional Data Catalog
For more information on any of the topics mentioned in this newsletter or if you have an idea for an article, please contact DRCOG Information Systems Manager Ashley Summers at 303-480-6746 or [email protected]

Disclaimer: The information provided in this newsletter is compiled from multiple sources and is intended for informational purposes only.  DRCOG assumes no responsibility or legal liability for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information in this newsletter.