Town of Orchard Park, New York

Orchard Park is a small town of 28,000 located in Erie County, New York. Like many government agencies, Orchard Park is transitioning to a new form of accounting for assets, the "Government Accounting Standards Board Rule #34" or GASB. GASB requires governments to have a full inventory and valuation of assets, and to depreciate those assets over time, like a private business.

For governments with a long history, implementing GASB can be a significant undertaking: what does the government own? when was it built? what was it worth when it was built? what is it worth now?

Orchard Park needed a system to inventory all assets and planned to tie the asset information to GIS representations over time, potentially creating a very valuable system for analyzing the data and patterns. All the departments used Access or spreadsheets for tracking asset development and inventorying old developments, so a central system was required to bring the information together into a complete enterprise view.

Paul Warriner, the Network Coordinator, selected PostgreSQL to store the integrated information from the departments. "Our funding didn't allow for systems such as Oracle or SQLServer", says Warriner, "and I was concerned about scalability in MySQL".

The original design had the attribute inventory collected in PostgreSQL, while the spatial representations of the objects resided in a separate collection of Shape files. Moving the spatial information into PostGIS has allowed Orchard Park to easily make the integrated information available to the public.

"With PostGIS, I hoped to just have the capability of not having to use shape files, just load and dump the data routinely", says Warriner, "What surprised me was the richness of the geospatial analysis functions."

Orchard Park is now publishing their infrastructure data, parcel data, and more, using UMN Mapserver on PostGIS, with the Cartoweb mapping interface. They are currently working on adding a property assessment system, and building permit system into their web front end.

For more information:

R. Paul Warriner
Orchard Park, New York

Published October 2006

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