MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The West Virginia Geographic Information Systems group discussed their efforts to preserve land and water in the Eastern Panhandle.

GIS, better known as Geographic Information Systems is a platform for many types of data. It analyzes different locations for digital mapping. People in the Eastern Panhandle gathered in Martinsburg to present their findings over the past year at the annual conference.

“Just a way for people in the panhandle and the neighboring states to get together and discuss the projects together and new technologies and things like that,” Jessica Gormont said, a GIS analyst for Jefferson County, WV.

With the wide range of the eastern panhandle, officials that use GIS say the mapping system has helped them create changes in preserving land and water.

“Instead of having paper maps we create maps on the computer and then all of the features that are in the maps like streams and highways and things like that, we can store information about them and it lets us do analysis on the features later on,” Gormont said.

The West Virginia Rivers Coalition gave a presentation on how they use GIS to conserve and restore West Virginia’s streams, rivers and land.

“Very helpful tool in asking questions for asking questions of our land, making a list of what is 85-thousand property parcels in Jefferson county, Berkeley counties and coming up with a list the best list to protect drinking water through land conservation,” Tanner Haid said, a field coordinator for rivers coalition

Officials from the rivers coalition say while using gis they have been able to build their safe water conservation collaborative to protect high value land.

“Our work on prioritizing high value land is taking off in 2019 to what we look forward to doing that landowner outreach in 2020,” Haid said. Rivers Coalition officials also say their mission is to help protect the state’s drinking water through land conservation.