Local Government Use of GIS in Comprehensive Planning


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The use of GIS by local governments for planning applications is increasingly becoming commonplace. In some cases, GIS departments have evolved into what Roger Tomlinson calls an enterprise-wide system, in which agencies easily share data among themselves. This chapter explores recent trends in the use of GIS for planning. We examine organizational structure, infrastructure, data sharing and data analyses. Specifically, we look at the use of GIS for compiling a Comprehensive Plan in Cobb County, Georgia and highlight models used by the County for green space preservation and industrial assessment. We conclude that the county’s decentralized organizational GIS structure facilitates data collection, maintenance and updating, and the enterprise-wide system infrastructure allows for easy data sharing among agencies and the public. These characteristics were vital in helping to assemble the county’s latest comprehensive plan.