“We’re always looking for a way to get the public involved in planning projects and to get more information out to the public,” he said.
In the past, Burbank listed all of its current planning projects online, but not in an interactive format, which made them difficult to navigate, Forbes said.
“We had our projects online, but it wasn’t really easy to see,” he said. “We’ve been looking for a while for ways to make it easier for us to communicate and for the public to get status updates on projects.
“We’ve been looking .?.?. and just recently, within the last year, found Google Maps was easy to use. It’s not a new tool that someone has to learn. It’s a good tool.”
The Planning Division will upgrade the site at least once a week, Forbes said.
“It took quite a while to initially put it together and get it online,” he said. “Now that that initial step is done, it’s very easy to update.”
While Google Maps has been a popular portal on the Internet, some city planning departments, such as those in Los Angeles and Glendale, have not adopted the technology.
“We have nothing like that,” Glendale Senior Planner Jeff Hamilton said. “I’m totally envious. We hope to do something like that within the next year, but have been told that our technology is further off than we would have liked.”
Los Angeles also lags behind Burbank’s mapping technology.
“We don’t have anything that interactive,” said John Butcher, geographic information systems chief for the Los Angeles City Planning Division. “We have one set of maps and biweekly reports that show the cases that have been filed.”
Los Angeles maps are in a file format similar to what Burbank used to run, Butcher said.
In addition to the Planning Division, other Burbank departments use Google services to help its users navigate websites.