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Question What is a Geographic Information System (GIS) and how does DEC use it?

Answer A GIS is a computer system capable of collecting, storing, manipulating, and displaying geographically referenced information. GIS information can be displayed in several ways, including maps, pictures and charts. DEC works extensively with geographic information, usually in the form of maps. When human activity, such as building roads and houses, and natural resources are displayed together on a map, it is possible to see ways in which they might either harm or benefit each other. DEC uses GIS information to map and protect resources such as wetlands, plant and wildlife habitats, and outdoor recreational areas. For instance, if a town is planning to widen a road, DEC can create a GIS map of the road, along with any wetlands, forests, wildlife and protected plants found along the roadway. This gives us a better idea of how the proposed road project will affect natural resources.

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DEC's Environmental Navigator

info on and links to DEC GIS-generated maps

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