Find basic information about Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and its uses in Fairfax County.
GIS stands for Geographic Information System. A GIS is a computer system - hardware and software - that helps analysts discover relationships between and among sets of computer-readable, geographically referenced data. These relationships are not easily seen or understood without the aid of this technology. Learn more about GIS from Esri, a GIS software provider, and from Syracuse University.
As the county's maps and data become more easily available on-line, individuals are able to quickly access a wealth of information to help better understand the county that they live and conduct business in.
The map-centric view ability of GIS enables residents to more easily locate relevant information (e.g. assessments, voting results, permitting information, bike trails, parks, etc.). GIS allows decision makers and residents to visualize complex information, and it helps build understanding and consensus between government and residents on issues that confront the community.
GIS also makes the County Government more efficient. Improved efficiency means better services at a lower cost.
GIS enables the County to display and analyze geographically referenced information. More than 75% of County information can be referenced geographically (e.g. street addresses, parcels). Most agencies rely on this information to support their operations, create efficiencies, and allow for sophisticated analyses. GIS data that the County uses for making decisions is updated, maintained, and made available as business requires, often on a daily basis.
Examples of GIS use in Fairfax County:
- GIS is used in every fire engine and police vehicle to speed dispatch of the closest units to an incident.
- GIS provides housing and population forecasts used for planning by several County agencies.
- The Department of Public Works and Environmental Services uses it to manage storm water and sanitary sewer infrastructure across the county.