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Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

  • How do I get a zoning permit?

  • When do I need a permit from Land and Water Conservation?

  • How do I rezone my property?

  • What is cost sharing and what can it be used for?

GIS Section Staff

Rod Sutter, GIS Specialist   email
Jeff Hartman, GIS Coordinator  email

GIS staff telephone (715) 346-1334

The work program for the GIS Section is guided by the 2018 Land Information Plan

The GIS Section provides the following services:

Daily interaction (in person, by telephone, and via e-mail) with residents, municipal officials throughout the County, State agencies, other Planning and Zoning Department staff, and other Portage County Department staff to provide information on parcels of land, and mapping products for individual requests and ongoing projects.

Oversight of the Land Information Plan, which describes County-wide GIS projects to be undertaken over the next 3 years. (Required for participation in the State of Wisconsin Land Information Program).

Update and maintenance of electronic information regarding: zoning and land use districts, roadways, tax parcels, addresses, municipal and voting boundaries.

Update web map applications, that allow for general public access to Portage County land information and mapping capabilities via personal computer, tablet or smart phone.

Access to Orthophotography: This aerial photography was captured the first week in April 2015.  The information is used extensively by County Departments and the public.

Provide staff support for the Land Records Committee.

What is GIS?


GIS is an acronym for "geographic information system". In a GIS, information is organized by location much like you might organize a file drawer alphabetically. Because information is stored by location, we can use maps to display it. Knowing where things are can reveal patterns that are not visile in the simple list of information or a written report. Pictures are, indeed, worth a thousand words!

How does Portage County use GIS?

GIS is used throughout Portage County to make informed decisions. Elected officials, county employees and private citizens use GIS every day to do their jobs efficiently and economically.

Elected Officials - Elected Officials use census data, roads, and parcel boundary maps for redistricting. 

Emergency Management – Emergency Management uses aerial photography, tax information, addresses, roads, and federal floodplain data during flood events. Maps are created to plan citizen evacuations and inform emergency responders about washed out roads. Tax information is used to assess property damage.

Zoning Section - Zoning Administrators use aerial photography, tax information, zoning, and natural features information to assist clients with questions regarding development or use of their property.

Planning Section – Planners use aerial photography, tax information and zoning for long range planning and other research.

Land Conservation Division – Conservationists use aerial photography, addresses and Global Positioning System (GPS) data to inform citizens about lake health issues and to manage invasive species such as Eurasian Water Milfoil.

Water Quality Section - County Water Quality Specialist uses the computer system to track groundwater quality and quantity information, based on water test results, which is utilized by the general public and government departments and agencies to understand a variety of issues.

Police and Fire Departments – Police use aerial photography and GPS data to reconstruct vehicle accidents and crime scenes. Fire Departments use road and address maps to minimize response time to emergencies.

Realtors – Realtors use tax information, aerial photography and parcel boundary maps to help sell property.

Farmers – Farmers use aerial photography, parcel boundaries, GPS data, and soils data for Precision Agriculture. Precision Agriculture allows farmers to calculate fertilizer and water needs, determine what crops to plant, and to protect surface and groundwater quality.

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