Otter Tail County (OTC) is home to a system known as geographic information systems (GIS). The community may be unaware of this system due to its “behind the scenes” nature, according to Martin Mollenhauer, the coordinator for GIS in OTC. GIS is quintessential to many of the daily tasks people perform including things like mail delivery, taxes, applying for building permits, or viewing the recycling calendar.

GIS isn’t just in OTC though. At its core, it’s an interactive map. Apps like Google or Apple Maps, Zillow, Snapchat maps and others all use it. It is a part of everyday life for everyone, whether technology is a part of that or not.

OTC specifically uses GIS for many purposes. It is used for building roads and bridges, environmental analysis, helping 911 and first responders during emergency situations and more. The county began to use this system in the mid-’90s. It began in the OTC Sheriff’s Office and took off from there. Now it is its own department within OTC and it is home to four employees.

The GIS department wants OTC to learn more about this important system. Virtual webinars are available at ottertailcountymn.us/events/gis-day-2021/.

On Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. attendees will be shown the ins and outs of the OTC GIS app. Next, from 2-3 p.m. GIS’ address applications will be explored and lastly, from 3-4 p.m. OTC’s GIS new technology will be showcased.

“Otter Tail County has long been a leader in developing and sharing GIS technology in ‘Greater’ Minnesota,” said Martin Mollenhauer, GIS coordinator. “We are proud to be able to host this GIS Day event to celebrate the successes of our team members and to demonstrate how GIS is used to share information, manage resources and guide decision making both within the county and for our public users.”

Martin also included that the GIS department has a GIS user group newsletter, where the department shares GIS news and events. Subscription is available at ottertailcountymn.us/subscribe-to-updates/.

More information can be obtained by contacting Mollenhauer at mmollenh@co.ottertail.mn.us or by calling 218-998-8311.

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