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Connecticut names its first geographic information officer to improve planning efforts

Rand McNally
Wikimedia Commons

The state of Connecticut will be using state-of-the-art geographic information to help improve services, plan roads and respond to disasters like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alfredo Herrera will lead the effort by becoming the state’s first Geographic Information Officer in January.

“I liken it to modern cartography,” he said. “So, it has everything to do with maps and mapping but as many things are done these days it’s all in the computer and it involves more than just places.”

The position was created to help the state’s Office of Policy and Management with better information for analysis, planning and delivering of services across the state. Geographic information can help organizations and governments make better and faster decisions using data visualization tools.

“The John Hopkins COVID map, which is very topical — that is GIS at its core,” Herrera said. “It's showing where things happen, aggregating them and making them easier to understand. So, you don’t have to be a subject matter expert like myself to know what you’re being shown, knowing what the problem is.”

Herrera was a geographic information specialist in the city of New Haven where he helped develop a business permitting portal and property research tools.

An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.