Have you ever wondered how maps are created? Here at the Chester County Planning Commission, our Design and Technology Division’s GIS Planner, Colin Murtoff, works behind-the-scenes to create maps and other resources that are used throughout the county on a daily basis!
As the Planning Commission’s GIS Planner, Colin handles projects that deal mostly with mapping and spatial analysis – a tool commonly used to report statistics and metrics for plans, reports, and studies. On a typical day, Colin can be found working on projects that range from static maps for municipal comprehensive plans and studies, to interactive maps that add additional levels of user-interaction.
After graduating from West Chester University with a degree in Geography and Planning, Colin pursued an internship at a local town planning and landscape architecture corporation where he was able to gain experience and apply his GIS skills. When he recognized the opportunity for professional growth in a field that interested him, Colin applied to an open position at the Chester County Planning Commission in 2016 – and the rest is history!
While Colin enjoys all of his projects and views each one as a new opportunity to further his knowledge and skills in the GIS field, some of his favorites include working on the county’s Historic Resource Atlas Project, as well as the National Register Historic Resources Interactive Map. “I’ve always had an interest in historic resources and historic preservation, and these projects were, and continue to be, educational and of great interest to me,” he said.
Originally from Carlisle Pennsylvania, Colin graduated from Boiling Springs High School and currently resides in Chester County just a few miles outside of the West Chester Borough. In his spare time, he can most likely be found playing golf or volleyball, hiking, or at the gym. “A body in motion stays in motion, and I love to keep it moving,” Colin noted. Additionally (and something most people don’t know), is that Colin is a horror genre fanatic and he’s always looking for the next movie or show to provide a good scare.
Colin’s favorite place in Chester County is downtown West Chester, as he explained that it provides the perfect mix of nostalgia and an opportunity to make new memories. He also enjoys spending time at St. Peter’s Village, Longwood Gardens, and Marsh Creek State Park.
When asked what his favorite life philosophy is, Colin replied with a simple phrase that he reminds himself often. “Our lives are often filled with constant stress, and it can be easy to fall into thoughts of anger and negativity. If I ever find myself doing this, I simply remind myself to ‘choose happiness’ whenever I can. A simple, yet helpful reminder,” he commented.