Tulalip Tribes celebrate sixth annual 'Tulalip GIS Day'

Michael Cardwell, an associate planner in the Tulalip Tribes
Michael Cardwell, an associate planner in the Tulalip Tribes' Community Development Office, told visitors on Dec. 7 that Geographical Information Systems have completely revolutionized the ways in which the Tribes manage growth.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of the Tulalip Tribes.

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes celebrated "Tulalip GIS Day" on Dec. 7, and invited the public to learn more about how the Tribes use information to make sound decisions in the areas of resource management and community development.

The Tulalip Data Services Department's Geographical Information Systems Team hosted the sixth annual event, which recognizes the information-rich software that has helped the Tribes change their planning processes for their future.

"By providing us with complex data on the Tribes' major initiatives — such as salmon runs, tree stands in the forest, or community zoning — GIS has made our job of planning for the next seven generations a lot easier," said Michael Cardwell, an associate planner in the Tribes' Community Development Office.

The Tulalip Tribes incorporated early GIS software into their resource management more than a decade ago. Since then, the software has become increasingly sophisticated, while the Tribes have continued to feed it data.

Today, nearly every sphere of Tribal government relies upon GIS to help make sound and comprehensive decisions, whether it's the installation of water drainage pipes by the Tulalip Utilities Department, or in assisting the Tribes' Natural Resource Department in measuring acidification levels of sea water over time. The Tribes now have information layered on a complex computer mapping system that includes statistical breakdowns and the ability to model outcomes, which should help Tribal project managers plan for the Tribes' future.

"Take our Utilities Department," GIS Manager Eiko Toguchi said. "We know when they installed a piece of pipe, who manufactured it and what it's made from. Twenty years down the road, we're going to get a message to replace that component. This is how planning is made easier, more informed and more efficient."

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