Where can I get a map of the floodplain in my area?

Town or county government offices have maps available to show the floodplain areas in their town or county. Many systems now show the information based on house addresses; however, you may need to know your property’s map number and lot number to locate the appropriate map.
You may also contact your local emergency management office, building department, or floodplain management office for information about flooding. Request to see a flood map of your community.
There may be a projected flood …

Why is entrepreneurship important as a community and economic development strategy?

Entrepreneurship was once ignored because the impacts were small, diffuse, and incremental. But no more. Today, entrepreneurship is more appropriately thought of as economic “gardening” rather than “hunting” (industrial recruiting). Think of it as tending to the seedbed in one’s own backyard as opposed to going out to hunt that one trophy animal.
Business growth or sustaining the health of existing businesses is also an important component in this more contemporary approach to economic development. Business growth and viability are …

What are the economic benefits of entrepreneurship?

The problem with making entrepreneurship the centerpiece of a community or region’s economic development scheme, it is said, is that it just doesn’t matter that much to the economy. It’s certainly valid to want to make investments where they have the greatest opportunity of generating high returns. But is it true that entrepreneurship is of only minor importance to the economy? In a word, no.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Project is a comparative international study assessing entrepreneurship’s importance to …

Where can I find free aerial imagery?

Aerial imagery can be very useful in the classroom, public meetings, and land management planning and for general historical purposes. Aerial photography is one type of geospatial data that may require a large monetary investment. However, there are sources from which you may be able obtain aerial imagery for your area free of charge.
Most states have participated in national and statewide imagery programs since the middle 1990s (some have been involved even longer). Many of these states provide free …

What is the difference between land use and land cover?

Land use and land cover are classification systems that describe what is on the Earth’s surface at a given location. Often, land use and land cover are confused as interchangeable terms, but in actuality, they can describe very different characteristics of the landscape.
Land use describes activities, often associated with people, that take place on the land and represent the current use of property. Examples include multi-family residential homes, shopping centers, row crops, tree nurseries, state parks, reservoirs, etc.
Land …

How can I obtain an aerial or satellite image for my area?

There are many free and commercial Internet sources of georeferenced satellite imagery and aerial photography usable in GIS programs. Most state governments in the United States archive imagery on GIS clearinghouse Web sites providing downloadable data without charge to users. Internet searches for either satellite imagery or aerial photography associated with a state or locality will yield Web addresses for available imagery. Larger localities may have a GIS coordinator who can provide the information for you. Otherwise, contact the local …

How does entrepreneurship benefit a small rural community?

In brief, successful entrepreneurs:
* bring new dollars into the economy
* put more people to work
* attract new people to the community
* offer new ideas and opportunities
* act as a spark plug for other community activities and events
* are active in community groups and boards.
Entrepreneurs are, in most cases, folks who like a lot of activity around them. In that way, the more entrepreneurs you have in a community, the more activities you will …

What are some uses for GIS?

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to display spatial data and to solve problems that involve spatial factors. GIS is particularly useful for relating, integrating, and analyzing information from these different themes (or layers) of spatial information. Therefore, anything that can be placed on a map is a candidate for GIS, and so the variety of uses are quite extensive.
Common uses of GIS include inventory and management of resources, crime mapping, establishing and monitoring routes, managing networks, monitoring …

Using Focus Groups for Community Development

Paul Lachapelle, Community Development Specialist, and Tara Mastel, Community and Economic Development Agent

Why use Focus Groups?
A focus group provides insightful understanding of complex issues and situations which cannot be gathered from standard multiple choice surveys or large public meetings.  Focus groups provide an opportunity for individuals to express their views in detail, to hear the opinions of others and to collectively develop resolutions to problems.  Both technical and anecdotal information can be presented and debated which can

Conservation Subdivisions – An Alternative to Western Ranchettes

Making the Case

While the WPR region is known for its vast and picturesque open spaces, high mountain ranges, deserts, and grasslands, other issues and trends are overshadowing our western landscape and dominating its headlines. One trend has been a dramatic increase in population as the rate of growth in the West has exceeded the national average for the last four decades. As William R. Travis notes in his 2007 book, New Geographies of the American West, between 1990 …