|Winona County Creates Township Atlas Series
By Tom Hoffmann, Winona County Planning Department
In an effort to assist the township leaders in Winona County, Planning Director Brian Bender requested that the GIS division create a 10-page atlas for each township in the county. Nick Meyers and Todd Zielsdorf are working to create the atlases which will incorporate the most useful GIS data layers. This includes items such as: natural features, soils, slopes, roads, PLSS data, zoning, and water related features.
The plan is that the hard copy maps will enable township officials to make more informed decisions on issues such as road maintenance. For those four townships that administer their own zoning regulations, it will provide a greater depth of understanding of the issues related to zoning administration.
The initial work involved creating templates for each of the 10 pages that will make up the atlases. Once the templates were created, work began to customize each page for each of the 19 townships. Each township map also includes a summary of the human settlement history of the townships, as well as an explanation of the varying land philosophies that reflect the unique qualities found in each township.
When the atlases are completed, which is dependent on the County Board’s final approval of some changes in the County Zoning Ordinance, the atlases will be generated and several copies will be given to each township. If there is shown to be a wider interest among citizens, Winona County Planning Department may look at producing additional atlases that would be available for a nominal fee.
Beyond the immediate benefit of providing this information to the townships for their use, the Planning Director sees this as an opportunity to showcase GIS to a wider audience. Getting the townships to understand, appreciate, and ultimately rely on GIS could benefit all citizens with improved communications and understanding about issues that will face Winona County in the future.