GIS/Map Services


For those who forgot to study up, GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems.  This is a technology—a tool—that manages, analyzes, and displays information linked to real-world locations.  GIS is used mainly to manage the data and information to display on maps such as stream locations, land parcel ownership, utility lines, forest stands, and burial sites.  Those who use GIS include:

  • Anyone using Bing, Google Maps, MapQuest…etc to search for locations online or request driving directions;
  • Tribal Members viewing public aerial imagery on Google Earth for historical changes of a landscape or for selecting ideal hunting areas;
  • Health Care Providers and Air Quality Specialists plotting air quality risks (like mercury or particulate matter) to alert the public to health alerts;
  • Emergency Managers assessing natural disaster potential by searching for data on the internet and providing on maps for flood potential, snow warnings, fire hazards;
  • Land Surveyors or Realty Staff using Global Positional System (GPS) and GIS tools to create legal descriptions and plot lease boundaries;
  • Roads Managers marking locations of center lines and noting needed improvements for particular road sections;
  • Utility Workers and Engineers, like those in the Indian Health Services, marking utility poles or water lines and determining which houses are connected to the grid;
  • Well Inspectors recording locations and conditions of culverts and well locations to check for updates;
  • Wildlife Biologists  tracking movements of wolves, deer, and other animals to map out territories and estimate populations sizes;
  • Cultural Anthropologists, Archaeologists, and Tribal Preservation Historic Officers using Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) to determine whether unmarked burials are present near streambeds or in existing cemeteries, which can be mapped with GIS to show tribal members;
  • Hydrologists and Water Resource Experts monitoring water quality in streams and lakes to model where certain pollutants flow downstream to assess where tribal wild rice harvest areas might be affected;
  • Foresters inventorying locations of tree species or harvest status, or use aerial imagery to classify land cover types and acreage available for harvest;
  • Business Managers searching for areas to site the next casino that serve a specified population range and need maps for grant applications;
  • Tribal Planners locating parcels or make new building recommendations that are closest to utilities, existing roads and communities, and avoid impacts to water resources.