The Technical Center's primary technical activities include:
- Providing technical assistance to state agencies in GIS development.
- Cooperating with long range efforts of federal and state agencies in the use and expansion of spatial data in Mississippi.
- Building, maintaining, and distributing the State Geographic Data Base.
- Developing and implementing forums and workshops attuned to geographic information technology.
Project Work - Program assistance by the Technical Center to state agencies and other organizations often occurs through contractual services. This permits the staff to coordinate work on a variety of significant projects at any given time.
The type of project work the Technical Center performs can be grouped into five broad categories:
- GIS Systems Design - The MARIS staff consults with entities as they prepare to upgrade to or acquire GIS capabilities. MARIS can assist in many ways including requirements definition, system design, standards, industry trends, and possible personnel characteristics.
- GIS Applications - The MARIS staff applies or adopts GIS to a wide range of natural and cultural resource programs in state government. These program applications and the data derived from them are reported to the user community on a regular basis.
- Remote Sensing - The MARIS staff uses satellite-oriented remote sensing technology to develop products for special projects. These products often result in the development of new spatial data themes, which are integrated into the State Geographic Data Base.
- Education-Training-Outreach - MARIS provides regular training opportunities to the user community on a regular basis as both formal technical training and informal professional development meetings. MARIS is available to discuss GIS and answer GIS questions both to the public everyday and as formal speakers.
- GIS Coordination/Facilitation - MARIS supports the efforts of the Mississippi Coordinating Council for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems by hosting multiple disciplinary workgroups focused on coordinating state & local GIS efforts.
The predominant GIS software for operations at the Technical Center is ARC/INFO, a product of Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) of Redlands, California. Image processing using remote sensing data is performed with ERDAS, a product developed by the Leica Geosystems Geospatial Imaging in Norcross, GA.
Other MARIS products and services
MARIS also can meet many specific needs of prospective or existing users of geographic information technology through these features:
- Requests for data - The Technical Center responds to all data requests within the scope of the state open records law.
- Technical assistance - For those organizations who are launching a GIS, the Technical Center can help to scope organizational and technical needs to match initial and future operational requirements.
- Monthly meeting - The MARIS Task Force meetings are open to any interested organization. These meetings are an opportunity to exchange information and views on current developments in GIS and to implement resource sharing opportunities.
- Education - The Technical Center will arrange special workshops in the use of ARC/INFO software and other GIS subjects based on demand and available resources.
- Vendor presentations - The Technical Center hosts special sessions for important hardware and software vendors to present their company's solutions to GIS needs and requirements. These sessions are always advertised and expressly open to the public.
- Speaker service - The Technical Center will respond to requests from organizations and units of government located in Mississippi to speak on topics related to MARIS and the development of geographic information technology in Mississippi.