A press conference held by TMA Bucks this morning at the Bensalem Country Club updated attendees on the organization’s accomplishments and upcoming plans. Of note were the technological steps taken to make information more accessible to the general population.

Evan Stone explains the newest advances in data tracking using Bucks County GIS.

Interactive maps, county initiative trackers, and up to date statistics for the opioid epidemic are just some of the online resources available to residents through the Bucks County GIS, launched by the Bucks County Planning Commission.

In the move toward digital information sharing, the commission is exploring the use of open data to combat the opioid epidemic and virtually track the progress of county initiatives.

Through the Bucks County GIS, visitors are able to access interactive maps for election polling locations, public transit, and floodplain viewers.

Residents can also track the progress of county initiatives, like the agricultural preservation program, open space preservation program, and the opioid epidemic.

Though the scope for this project — noted Bucks County Planning Commision Executive Director, Evan Stone — was not always this large.

“It really started as an interdepartmental project with the D.A.’s office,” he explained.

“I reached out to Matt Weintraub and his staff and our staff got together and started to talk about ways in which we could create a tool to help not only the D.A.’s office but Bucks County Drug and Alcohol monitor and document the opioid epidemic in Bucks County.”

Then, as Stone describes, the project quickly expanded.

“The offshoot of that became this move towards open data… Making information readily accessible, transparent to the public, and also making certain information available for download and use.”

The hub now stands with more than fifteen interactive pages, and up to date statistics as they become available. The opioid epidemic page also offers resources for those affected and maps denoting medication collection boxes, treatment centers, and Naxolone pickup locations.

Residents can access the hub at buckscounty.org or through PA Open Data.

WBCB’s Brianna Williams contributed to this report.