and Maryland have engaged in comprehensive land use planning.175 While these programs vary greatly in their level of "comprehensiveness," as well as in the requirements placed on local governments, they all are founded on a state plan. Many other states have engaged in comprehensive regional planning including California, New York, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Michigan, among others.
In addition, through technological advances in Geographic Information Systems, states are able to accumulate and process vast quantities of land related information.176 This data can be integrated, through a computer using GIS software, thus enabling local governments, state agencies and the private sector to create a visual image of the natural and man made conditions of the land. Through GIS technology, comprehensive land use planning is simpler, more cost efficient and faster than ever before. Currently, over 90% of all states nationwide are utilizing geographic information systems.177
(For a review of the actions in these states during the last twenty five years, see David Callies, The Quiet Revolution Revisited: A Quarter Century of Progress, 26 Urb. Law. 197 (1994).
(Since all data about people, places and things may be referenced to their geographic locations, relating such information to a common base is the essential function of a GIS, particularly as it relates to ... land use planning. GIS is the electronic equivalent of manually overlaying data transparencies on maps of a municipality or a particular site. With a GIS, the information is stored digitally in a computer instead of on manually prepared overlays, that are tedious to develop and static. Since both the base map and data layers are digitized and referenced to the same geographical coordinates, they can be integrated electronically. Thus the preparation, supplementation and updating of land use plans is rendered much more efficient, cost-effective and useful than the existing manual systems.
Christine Hilla, GIS and Local Governments: Making the Land Use Connection, Land Use Law Reporter, Pace University School of Law, Series 3, Number 2, (November, 1994).