While the local government is moving along on its efforts to standardize the territory’s myriad of address systems, it also needs residents who live on unnamed estate roads to come up with names for them.
“The most popular name is estate road right of way,” Chris George, GIS coordinator/street addressing project manager at the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, said.
Laughing, he said that is how those roads to many houses are currently listed on maps. So, unless you want your road to be forever known as “estate road right of way,” get organized to think up something better.
On the government’s end of the project, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office has joined with the Eastern Caribbean Center at the University of the Virgin Islands to advance the territory’s street naming and addressing project. This partnership will culminate in the development of a street addressing system throughout the territory that is consistent with national standards.
According to a press release from the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the Eastern Caribbean Center have a contract with Applied Geographics and Spatial Focus, both nationally recognized leaders in geospatial infrastructure development, to evaluate the territory’s existing addressing environment and develop proposals for standardizing the addressing system.
Currently, the territory does not have a comprehensive street naming and addressing system. The benefits of a street addressing system include improving the efficient use of GPS technology, full functionality of the emergency 911 system, and expanded postal delivery to Virgin Islands homes.
Implementation of street addressing is expected to not only improve the delivery of service provided by emergency first responders, but also support the providers of services such as utilities and transportation that both residents and visitors depend on. These service providers would no longer have to rely solely on using local landmarks for directions.
The Planning and Natural Resources Department, Public Works Department, Police Department, the V.I. Water and Power Authority, and Innovative already collect geospatial information and other data relevant to addressing, but do not share the information. Last month, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office and the Eastern Caribbean Center held a workshop with public and private sector agencies to discuss the collaborative efforts needed to accomplish street addressing.
“There’s a bunch of federal route system numbers, but nobody put it together before,” George said.
The workshop, which included a presentation led by Applied Geographics and Spatial Focus, was a precursor to individual meetings that would take place with the agencies to assess the extent of their geospatial data, as well as their data collection methods.
At the workshop, Eastern Caribbean Center Director Frank Mills spoke about the relationship of street addressing to many local initiatives, including the collection of census data.
“Street addressing would enable UVI to be more effective in collecting census data, and it is also critical to how we administer many programs and services throughout the territory,” Mills said. “When we send workers into the field, we need to know that they are going to the right household.”
Applied Geographics has previously been involved in crafting the territory’s GIS Strategic Plan and is familiar with the historical and cultural elements that must be taken into consideration in developing an addressing plan.
“Geography is local,” Martha Wells of Spatial Focus said in the press release. “There is not a one size fits all approach when it comes to addressing. Any system must respect the culture and people, who will live with and use the addresses.”
The workshop and study were made possible through a grant from the U.S. Interior Department of $66,000. This project implements the 2010 Virgin Islands Geospatial Infrastructure strategic plan and is part of the Virgin Islands Geospatial Information Council’s effort to improve the delivery of service to the public through the effective and efficient use of geospatial technology.
Those interested in naming their streets and participating in this project can find street naming guidelines and submittal forms at http://ltg.gov.vi/gis-new-projects.html.