The Power of Maps

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I am introducing you to a guest blog written by Erik Blake our GIS Coordinator.  Erik has been with the District for 11 years and we appreciate his talents in providing so many great services, including development and application of maps to help us serve you in the best possible way.  Enjoy Erik’s blog!

The Power of Maps, by Erik Blake

Maps are a powerful way to inform people about what, where, when and how things are happening. Not just in their community, but around the world. For many of us living in Northwest Ohio, getting from point A to point B, can be quite the challenge with all the construction and accidents occurring on our roadways. For instance, I always consult my Google map before heading out to see which areas to avoid by turning on the traffic layer. Many times this has saved me from driving straight into a traffic jam.

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The same way Google provides information about traffic situations, Northwestern Water and Sewer District (NWWSD) creates web maps to inform, not only our customers but the general public as well. These maps are available anytime on NWWSD’s website. What makes these maps especially informative is that they are all interactive. Meaning you can zoom in or out, click on layers in the map for further information, or type an address to quickly locate where you live to see what may be happening in your neighborhood. Along with these everyday maps, the GIS department at NWWSD also responds to emergency situations, such as water main breaks, by creating temporary web maps to show the affected areas and customers.

During the Toledo water crisis in August of 2014, one of the most frequent questions we received from customers was “who provides my water”. While this may seem like an odd question, for the people who live in Lucas County and Wood County, it can be very confusing because of the close proximity of multiple water providers. For example, residents who live north of Roachton Road receive water from City of Toledo, whereas residents south of Roachton Road receive water from the City of Bowling Green. This is searchalso the case for the residents in the Northwood. One neighborhood receives water from the City of Oregon, while a nearby neighborhood may receive water from the City of Toledo. To help our customers, we created a web application that shows the boundary of the 6 water service areas our customers live in. Customers can type their address in the search bar; the map will automatically zoom to that address and a pop-up will display information about their service provider, the treatment provider, the primary (raw) water source, and a brief description of the treatment process. The pop-up also provides links to more detailed information about the treatment process and the current Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

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To explore the “Who Provides my Water” follow this link: http://nwwsd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/InformationLookup/index.html?appid=4dd880c0d577453e99f4aa1cbd5bcc10

Another web application on our website shows the locations of current and pending construction projects, along with information about each project. Again, simply clicking on a projection location in the map, an informational pop-up box will display.

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To explore this project map follow this link: /engineering/project-information/current-projects/

To see all the maps that Northwestern Water and Sewer District has available on our website, please visit www.nwwsd.org and type “Online map” in the search window in the upper left corner.

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