Page Modified
10/9/12 10:56 AM

County Home Divisions/Departments Online Services FAQ Office of Budget & Finance

GIS General Information

What is GIS?

GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems, which is a collection of computer hardware, software, and geographic data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information.

GIS is a proven technology that has been used widely by government and other organizations for more than 30 years to support the mapping and management of information tied to a physical location in space.  The majority of information that is collected and used by government agencies, utility companies and other public and private organizations is geographically referenced.  GIS applications provides users with a wide array of capabilities for getting information, integrating multiple databases, generating maps, performing queries, and producing various analyses.  GIS also provides and efficient way to keep data current and consistent.  Government agencies trust GIS technology to establish and regulate policy and to strengthen the welfare of their citizens. GIS is also an intelligent means for agencies to provide public information.

The History of GIS in Washington County Planning and Zoning

Washington County has been using GIS technology in the Planning and Zoning Department since 1991. In 2004, a subcommittee was appointed to study the idea of how GIS should be expanded, supported and managed within the county organization.  A Needs Assessment was completed in 2005 and identified the need to create an Enterprise GIS office in the Information Technologies Department.  In April 2006, an Implementation Plan was present to and adopted by the Washington County Board of County Commissioners and serves as the guide for the establishment of a GIS Office within the Information Technologies Department.  The GIS Office was officially created on July 1, 2006 and is focused on implementing interoperable technologies, standards and methods so that GIS data and service can support core county business needs more efficiently and effectively. Washington County Planning and Zoning contributes to over 30 datasets currently housed in the Enterprise GIS database.

The Role of GIS in Washington County Planning and Zoning           

The Planning and Zoning GIS staff support the planners with mapping and data analysis. The support also extends to other departments within the county. Some of the main products this department is responsible for are: parcel mapping, preservation mapping, addressing, and comprehensive plans (ex. Water and Sewer Plan, Solid Waste Plan, and Land Preservation Parks and Recreation Plan. Throughout the year, the GIS staff is responsible for tracking and updating many datasets including: Forest Conservation Easements, Census Data, Annexations, and Zoning.

GIS Images