High Tech Tools Helping Bay St. Louis Rebuild

Since Katrina, the Bay St. Louis Building Department has been busier than ever. Homes to inspect are everywhere. The city's three inspectors now have some new high tech tools to help them keep up with a rapidly recovering community.

"We bought four trucks, GPS systems, laptop computers, digital cameras, radio units," Director of Administrations Buz Olsen said.

Building Inspector Josh Hayes said, "The radios are key in the communications to keep us as a team, so we're not out there lingering, not knowing all the information we need to know to do the inspection properly."

Hayes said the department's new GPS system will enable him to get to time sensitive inspections faster.

"The annexed area has similar sounding streets and similar named streets, like First Avenue is on four different main routes off of 603. And to distinguish those streets, you go to the GPS and it gets you there without a problem," Hayes said.

Lap-top computers will allow inspectors to enter and retrieve data from the field. Building codes can be accessed with a few keystrokes, and shown to a contractor or property owner.

"Hopefully, it's going to add a more effective and efficient way of doing business for the public, who is very eager to get their houses back in order," Olsen said.

A $340,000 state grant paid for the new trucks equipped with GPS technology. Bay St. Louis is still looking for a new building department chief, as well as another inspector.