Since the mid-1990s, Kern COG has assisted local agencies in developing their GIS infrastructure. These systems are vital to the decision making that local governments carry out in their programs every day. Eighty percent of all local government data could be maintained more accurately and displayed more meaningfully through GIS. Local governments using GIS benefit from better decisions provided by the information available on these maps. The Kern Geographic Information Network (Kern GEONET) is a consortium of local governments administered by Kern COG. GEONET coordinates GIS development locally, saving cities more than $2 million from the joint purchase digital aerial imagery and creation of other data layers.
Kern COG has signed long-term agreements with some local government agencies to assist them in developing and maintaining their GIS. These custom agreements provide expertise and stability for smaller agencies more vulnerable to staff turnover. The GIS Incubator program assumes that as local agencies grow, they will be weaned off the need for Kern COG’s assistance. Maricopa, Wasco, Shafter, Kern County Community Development Department, Bakersfield Economic Development Department, Kern County Community Development Department and the Eastern Kern County Resource Conservation District are a few of the agencies that Kern COG has assisted with developing GIS. Kern COG also helps develop standards to increase data sharing benefits and publish data on the Internet to reduce public inquiries for data.