Michael J. Hower, Director
Office location: Juniata County Courthouse, Bridge and Main Streets, Mifflintown
Postal address: P.O. Box 68, Mifflintown, PA 17059
New GIS Parcel Viewer!
Juniata County now has a new GIS Parcel Viewer application with updated 2017 aerial photography.
Feel free to browse the full set of instructions for this new product.
Geographic Information Systems
What is GIS?
GIS benefits other counties and local governments of both large and small size all over the state of Pennsylvania. The use of GIS has been growing due to its ability to help you save money and aid in strategic planning. These benefits can usually be broken down into four categories:
Saving Money from Smarter Use of Resources
GIS is widely used in both the public and private sector for planning vehicular movements and maintenance schedules. Now you may be asking yourself, why does Juniata County need to plan vehicular movements? Every day the Sheriff’s Department goes out into the county to serve papers at various locations. GIS can be used to optimize their efficiency by plotting the addresses of the locations they must visit, and then determine the quickest and most efficient route saving time and fuel.
Gives The Ability To Make Better Decisions
GIS is the best software in the industry to use in making decisions about geographic location. Examples here at the county would include Subdivision & Land Development Review, Hazard Mitigation Planning, Ag Land Preservation, & Flood Plain Analysis. GIS is used in the county on a weekly basis to provide new and accurate addresses for new houses and businesses in the county so that when an emergency arises, 911 personnel may be dispatched to your geographic location.
GIS is also widely used in the Planning Office for determining suitable Land Use. Land Cover datasets (maps that show what occupies the surface of the earth) are used in conjunction with other maps such as Soils, Ag Security, AG Preservation and contours to determine suitable development for any given area. GIS was key to developing the counties Hazard Mitigation Plan & Comprehensive Plan for Land Use (All of which are mandated by the state).
“GIS-based maps and visualizations greatly assist in understanding situations and in storytelling. They are a type of language that improves communication between departments, disciplines, professional fields, organizations, and the public.” (esri.com) GIS allows the county departments such as Assessment to keep track of parcel information in a digital format. This allows that information to be shared to the public for their information and use. Emergency Services also requires the use of
GIS in times of Emergency. For example, in the event of a natural disaster, mobile GIS software would allow First Responders in the field to drop on point on damaged areas, take a picture of the damage, assign a damage rating to that location and then share that information with the command center in a centralized location. This data can then be shared in an online viewer to get real time updates on the situation as it unfolds.
More Accurate Record Keeping
The biggest dataset the county currently holds in a GIS-based system is what we call the Parcel Layer. The parcel layer is a digital map of all the parcels of ground in the county and the information that corresponds with each parcel. Without GIS, this system of keeping record would not be possible and the information would have to be obtained from a paper map and property record cards in the Assessment Office. Each time there is a subdivision or a property is sold this information can only be updated digitally in GIS software.