Digital Original: Transforming Conway’s mapping system to digital

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CONWAY, Ark. – Maps. Could you survive without them?

They’ve been around for centuries helping people plan, navigate and ultimately, tell us where to head.

Jason Lyon, the GIS director for the city of Conway, might just be the “Lewis and Clark” of Conway.

For the past decade, he has been working with the city of Conway to transform their mapping system from paper to completely digital.

“We map what others can’t see,” says Jason Lyon, GIS director for the city of Conway.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a term that refers to any system designed to store, manage and present all types of geographical data.

The City of Conway’s uses the Geographic Information Systems services to provided mapping, addressing, and data services to city departments and to residents.

“It’s a one stop shop,” explains Lyon. “We have the data online for the public so they can access whenever they want.”

Geographic data is critical for decision-making, and for promoting a better and more efficient community.

Lyon saw this first hand a few months back when Arkansas endured historic flood levels. He was a key player in helping to determine where potential flooding could occur.

“Our customers can view the interactive maps as well as download the data they contain,” says Lyon.

Recently, Lyon was recognized with a SAG Award at the annual Esri User Conference. The award goes to any organization that set new precedents throughout the GIS community.

“We were one of 1/10 of 1 percent to receive this award this year,” explains Lyon. “So it’s a very high achievement and its been many hard years of work.”

Lyon says he can’t take all the credit. He has been working with other city planning and developmental departments, as well as the mayor of Conway, to enhance the Geographic Information System website.

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