GONZALES — The city’s new in-house geographic information system was activated online Thursday, posting an access link to its home page.

The system makes zoning, utilities, flood map and other information available to the public via a searchable Internet map, said Jackie Baumann, chief engineer for the city.

Gonzales signed a $139,000 contract in June with Camp, Dresser & McKee, a Massachusetts company with offices in Baton Rouge, to build the system almost from scratch, Baumann said.

As part of the contract, Camp, Dresser will also train city employees to use and maintain the system, she said.

Up to now, the city used a similar system maintained by the Ascension Parish government, Baumann said. While it was helpful, it also had its drawbacks, she said.

Information in the parish GIS was applied to areas only within the city limits, and city employees could not make changes themselves when municipal departments added new infrastructure, enacted new zoning regulations or found inaccuracies in the maps.

The city is winding down a $4 million project to upgrade older sewer lines, Baumann said.

Before, the city would have to forward all those changes to the parish to be updated.

“It’s just more efficient if we can make those changes ourselves,” Baumann said, adding that locations of water valves and fire hydrants can be updated immediately in-house by city employees who know the city’s utilities systems firsthand.

To use the searchable map, visit the city’s website, http://www.gonzalesla.com/, and click on “GIS” at the bottom right of the home page, under the “City Maps” heading.

ON THE INTERNET: http://www.gonzalesla.com/