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Geographic Information Systems and Computer Mapping
Planning inherently involves analyses and formulating project and plan recommendations utilizing geographic data. As such, Planwest uses leading industry software to provide its clients with detailed, yet clear visual representations of planning projects. Our proficiency with Environmental System Research Institute’s (ESRI) versatile suite of GIS software (ArcView and ArcInfo) allows us to perform in-depth analyses on many levels. Planwest has expertise in utilizing spatial data for environmental protection and sensitive habitat assessments, land availability and suitability analyses, and regional and local transportation planning. These can entail compiling data layers for constraints and opportunities analysis. Another example involves aggregating areas with similar densities and development potential to project residential, commercial, and industrial build-out at the community scale.
Visual or graphic displays, such as maps, can often convey a clearer message and enhance the documents themselves. Planwest embraces this idea, and makes extensive use of GIS software, and a large scale plotting printer, to make maps that elucidate planning recommendations or assessments. Some of these custom map creation services include General Plan Land Use and Zoning maps, bike and pedestrian facility mapping, and transportation corridor mapping. This type of analysis and mapping often entails overlaying land-use designations or proposed trails/pathways on aerial photography. These maps are often displayed at public hearings, or meetings, to provide a clear picture of what plans are in the works and future conditions. Planwest understands the importance of clearly communicating geographic information to clients and the public.
Planwest continues to broaden its communication capabilities via visual and graphic displays. We already utilize Adobe’s Creative Suite software (i.e. Acrobat Pro, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash) to include imagery in our planning documents. One area where we are expanding our use of this software is visual simulations of street level scenes by superimposing renderings of proposed changes over actual photographs of the scene. Another example is creating cross-sections of proposed changes for transportation routes. The utility and possibilities for visual and graphic displays keeps growing, and Planwest is moving forward with this idea.