Riley County GIS shows off new hardware, county buildings sale paused


Riley County commissioners pose with members of the county’s GIS department Monday. The Department recently won the SAG Award at a national conference. Picture from front left are Will Habiger, Sherie Taylor, Jacob Galyon and department director Kevin Howser. Pictured back row from left are county commissioners Ron Wells and Ben Wilson. (Staff photo by Brady Bauman)

Riley County’s GIS (Geographic Information System) department showed off some new hardware at Monday morning’s county commission meeting, and it wasn’t the type of hardware one installs in a computer.

Department director Kevin Howser told commissioners Riley County was honored at the Annual User Conference in San Diego, Cali., in late June. Esri, a world leader in geographic information system (GIS) technology, presented Riley County with a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) Award at the conference. Riley County was selected from over 300,000 eligible candidates and received the award for its innovative application of technology, data collection, geospatial information visualization and thought leadership through GIS in the field of state and local government.

“It’s a pretty big deal,” Howser told commissioners. “One of the big things about these maps that we provide is that we can provide this information now to where the mobile or tablet operating systems — people out in the field — can use these remotely, which has been a big boon to GIS for the county, I would say.”

Riley County was one of 167 organizations in fields such as agriculture, defense, transportation, nonprofit, telecommunications, and state and local government to receive a SAG Award. Esri staff nominate thousands of candidates annually from around the world for consideration and company president Jack Dangermond selects the finalists.

“It’s not just the county folks who see this,” Howser said. “It’s worldwide. People see our work and recognize the excellence of the group.”

In other items, commissioners agreed to pause intent to sell notices from being published in regards to four county buildings.

Commissioner Ron Wells has been apprehensive about plans to publish two notices of intent to sell property, including one for the Courthouse Plaza East building — where the commission meets — at 115 N. Fourth St. in Manhattan, and another for a packaged sale of the Emergency Medical Services building, the Pawnee Mental Health building and the Genealogical Society building. Those properties all reside on the 2000 block of Claflin Road in Manhattan.

On Aug. 1 commissioners agreed to publish those notices, but Wells and commission chairman Ben Wilson voted to delay the publishing of those notices Monday. The notices were set to be published on Aug. 14, 21 and 28.

Commissioner Robert Boyd, who has pushed the possible sale of the buildings and lost his reelection bid in Tuesday’s primary, was still on vacation Monday but is expected to return next week.

Thursday, county counselor Clancy Holeman told commissioners the county has received interest from potential bidders for the buildings.



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Brady Bauman

Reporter/anchor covering local, state and breaking news. Former newspaper writer, news and sports. California born, Kansas raised.

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