Valdosta Considers New GPS Mapping System

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Taxpayers in Valdosta could save big money by investing $23,000. Officials with the Utility and Engineering Departments say that's what a new GPS mapping system will do.

For years, Valdosta city engineers would map everything from roads to utilities with basic tools. It's a tried and true method which requires a lot of people and even more paperwork.

That's why engineers want to switch to a global positioning system, or GPS, which is basically an electronic mapping and survey system.

Von Shipman, Valdosta City Engineer, says, "The new GPS system will allow us to gather that data much quicker. It’s very accurate and it allows the information to be taken and downloaded."

The engineers are under an order to fully map the city's utilities by the end of 2006, and officials say the only way that's possible is by buying and using a GPS system.

Jerry Palmer, Survey Design Coordinator, says, "It's been very time consuming, but in the future we'll have a GPS unit and pinpoint a location within the size of this paper."

At a cost of around $23,000, officials say the new system will save money in the long run because more work can be completed without having to hire extra staff, and local governments aren't the only ones who will be able to benefit from the information collected by the new system.

Shipman adds, "We need to take it to the next level and get the city accurately recorded so developers, property owners and city staff can utilize the information."

It’s information which will be critical to the future planning of the Azalea City.

The Valdosta City Council will make the final decision on the GPS utility mapping system at Thursday night's meeting.