Welcome to GIS & You

39314Welcome to GIS & You, the blog authored by the staff of the King County GIS Center (KCGIS Center).

We are the enterprise GIS group for the County, with our office located in downtown Seattle, Washington on the shores of Puget Sound. King County includes 39 cities, nearly 2 million residents, and is home to some of the most famous companies in the world, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, and Costco. The University of Washington, a top research institute, is also located in King County. King County covers more than 2,100 square miles, has a vibrant economy, great cultural diversity, and a complicated geography with islands, seashores, large lakes, rivers, snow-capped mountains, dense urban centers, suburbia, farms, and untouched forests.

Within this setting the KCGIS Center delivers services to King County agencies and to external customers, whether it be a city, utility, nonprofit, private company, or resident. Providing services to external clients makes us a bit different than a typical local government GIS operation, but doing so gives us a unique perspective and singular areas of expertise.

KSC_groundSo why a blog by the KCGIS Center? Well, the reasoning starts with the capabilities and knowledge of our staff. We are more than 2 dozen GIS professionals with an average tenure of over 14 years with King County. Collectively that is over 350 years of GIS experience, and thousands upon thousands of projects. We can pull from this vast source of acquired knowledge to offer practical advice and guidance for everything from managing a GIS, to case studies, to technical solutions.

As we build out GIS & You, we will be describing the work we do, the problems we solve, and the technology we use. We will spotlight key projects, provide technical tips, and discuss industry trends. We will have articles on GIS best practices and standards we have developed and adopted, as well as our insights on GIS governance.

Everyone on the KCGIS Center staff will contribute to GIS & You so there will be a wide range of viewpoints and ideas offered. Staff members who work closely with particular lines of business will provide deep insight into specific GIS solutions for wastewater, parks, permitting, regional planning, natural resource management, and more. Those who support the County’s major strategic initiatives will describe how we apply GIS to analyze equity and social justice issues, and to improve government service delivery. You will see articles by experts in cartography, application development, and all forms of spatial data handling, including administration, transformation, modeling, warehousing, and metadata. We have a substantial GIS training program and we will be able to draw from that material for informative blog postings. I could go on but in short, we should be able to cover the A-to-Z of GIS for those with an interest in applying the technology.

We hope GIS & You proves to be a relevant and worthwhile read. And please let us know what you think.

George Horning is KCGIS Center Manager.

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