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GIS - What is GIS?

While GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems; you can better imagine it as the marriage of information (such as a spreadsheet) and a map.


The result is a 'smart map' that reflects changes in the underlying information 'on the fly'. You can then query and analyze the information and have your results displayed on the map.

GIS allows you to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in ways simply not possible in the rows and columns of a spreadsheet. Beautiful and interesting maps provide better decision making tools and analysis that can make a real difference in our world. 

Examples of answers that GIS can provide:

  • How many feet of roads need chip-seal repair?
  • Where is the location of this 911 call?
  • Which beaches have the highest density of creosote logs?
  • How many acres of land are in the farm and agriculture program?
  • Which homeowners will be affected by this road project?
  • How many septic fields are located near this community well?

Departments in San Juan County currently using GIS:

  • 911/Sheriff/Fire/Emergency Management
  • Assessor
  • Community Development and Planning
  • Public Works
  • Parks 
  • Health and Community Services
  • Land Bank
  • Marine Resources Committee
  • Conservation District

GIS is rapidly gaining momentum as a powerful and flexible tool for data collection and analysis. The San Juan County GIS department is here to encourage and support GIS development across the county.

GIS Users Group

There is an open GIS User's Group meeting every quarter. To learn more about GIS, please contact Nick Peihl - the San Juan County GIS Program Coordinator at  nickp@sanjuanco.com  or (360) 370-7413.