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See planning maps on line

"Freeland residents who want to see planning maps generated for their community no longer need drive to the Island County Courthouse in Coupeville.And within two to three years, no one who needs information from the Island County Planning Department will need to go any farther than their home computer to see detailed planning information. Last Thursday at a meeting of the Freeland subarea planning committee, county planners Phil Bakke and Michael Schechter unveiled a new Internet site that will make most of the county's planning information available through household phone wires.Called MapCiti, the Web site presents planning maps in full color and with accompanying textual information. Schechter demonstrated MapCiti to the Freeland committee on a small projection screen, showing them a half-dozen Freeland planning maps already entered onto the site. Sponsored by a $2,000 grant from the state's Commission for Trade and Economic Development, the Island County information at the site went from paper to electronic images in less than two months. Bakke said that is fast.I should add this came around at stealth speed for government, he said.MapCiti is a private company that contracts with government agencies to place their maps online. Schechter noted that MapCiti has a huge cost advantage over building an in-house map database in the planning department. He said that could cost $100,000, plus the salary of an employee to update information. MapCiti, he said, should do the job for a fifth of that cost.Right now, the only maps on the MapCiti site are the Freeland planning maps. Over the next few months, the planning department will put more maps on the site as funding allows.To look at the county maps, go to MapCiti on the Internet, then click on the Try It icon and register to use the site. After registering, click the tab near the top of the Internet screen labeled Public Maps. Then click for Washington state and Island County.The county is trying MapCiti on a trial basis through December. To suggest other maps for the site, contact Schechter at Michael Schechter. "

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