Friday, March 12, 2010

Rural addressing a "digital quilting bee"

I have been following the process of rural addressing in my home county, Newton County, Arkansas, as it is covered in the Newton County Times, and I found interesting a story from the Feb. 18, 2010 issue that described the process. Newton County is currently at the stage of assigning identifying numbers to county roads. The Arkansas Geographic Information Office (AGIO) is involved in the process, most recently in supplying maps of the county divided into nine areas "designated around the county's rural volunteer fire department service areas." Adrian Clark of AGIO is quoted as describing the project as a "digital quilting bee" with each county being a square in the statewide map, or "road files." The goal, he notes, is to be able to locate people, places and events by a physical address.

The role of the county's volunteer fire departments in this process is interesting--they are essentially the nodes at the center of each of the nine areas. Also, rural fire departments assisted in the process of locating and verifying roads on the state's master maps. Beginning in the northwest corner of the county with 1000, county roads will progress numerically around the county, to 9999 in the southwest corner. In each segment, the road numbers would begin closest to the main fire stations and radiate outward. Roads farther from the station would have higher numbers.

The story notes that "addressing is essential for modern services as home mail and parcel deliveries or enhanced emergency 911 telecommunications. Newton County is the last county in Arkansas to undergo the process." The county decided only last April to join this project, undertaken by AGIO.

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