The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced Monday the launch of its new Geographic Information System (GIS)-based site that provides up-to-date interactive maps and information about recreational opportunities at Tennessee State Parks and natural areas. Plans also are under way to incorporate GIS information about state historical and archaeological sites in the future.
The new application offers an easily navigable portal to access a map of TDEC-managed lands. This GIS-based internet mapping system has been integrated into TDEC’s existing infrastructure to provide a wealth of geospatial information, including core GIS tools, templates and applications. These new interactive maps and layers also are designed to help TDEC improve operations and communicate more effectively with the public, while saving both time and money.
“Created internally by TDEC employees, today’s launch is the result of a collaborative effort across many levels of the department,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Over the past several years, staff has transitioned existing data into an Oracle database – moving away from traditional data storage. Last year, we moved forward with plans to serve a public-facing GIS application within the department, giving staff the ability to manage the data and the actual site both effectively and cost-efficiently with no additional costs to the department.”
Links to the new interactive portal can be found on Tennessee State Parks’ website at www.tnstateparks.com/findapark or via the Tennessee Natural Areas’ website at www.tn.gov/environment/na/. Features of the new GIS application include:
· Customized Icons – Information about state parks and natural areas are just a click away, using individual icons. Basic information about a particular area includes an address, with more in-depth details such as hiking trails, accommodations and local amenities offered. The customized icons also provide a link to an individual park or natural area website.
· Search Function – The search function allows the public to easily access recreational areas across the state within 20 miles of a particular address and to receive directions to those particular sites. The search function also allows the user to search by the name of a particular park, natural area or site or by a specific activity – from fishing to kayaking to camping.
“With a successful collection of data, staff collaboration and very little infrastructure investment, we have been able to quickly move forward,” said Mr. Martineau. “In addition to adding state historical or archaeological sites, we are beginning to look at an expansion of the application for TDEC’s Bureau of Environment, to include permitted site data for various facilities across the state and other environmental interests, which will offer the public at large access to important information quicker and easier.”
With more than 2,900 employees working across the state, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation is a diverse and dynamic department, serving the state by (1) safeguarding the health and safety of Tennessee citizens from environmental hazards; (2) protecting and improving the quality of Tennessee's land, air and water; and (3) managing Tennessee’s 54 state parks, 82 natural areas and a variety of historical or archaeological sites. For more information about the department, please visit www.tn.gov/environment.