Geographic Information Systems

GIS City of Anacortes

Welcome to the City of Anacortes GIS Division!

GIS is an acronym for Geographic Information Systems, which combines geography, information and technology – producing an extremely powerful tool. With GIS, it is possible to quickly and efficiently calculate information, report information and of course, map information.

What is GIS?

Think of GIS as a tool to simulate and dissect our environment, such as a city. What makes up a city? Streets, parks, sidewalks, trees, buildings, shops…the list goes on and on. With GIS, we map these features as individual “systems”, allowing us to analyze, simulate and understand problems or situations with detail. This makes GIS a very powerful tool for your local government workforce – providing information as efficiently and precisely as possible.

GIS and the Community

Why does the City of Anacortes invest in GIS technology? GIS initially started in the Public Works Department and primarily focused on utility assets. Soon after, Planning, Community and Economic Development began utilizing GIS to map Zoning, the Comprehensive Plan, Pre-Zone, and Annexation Areas.

Now, GIS is used in virtually every City department and in a number of different ways. For example, GIS is used to locate buried people at the Grandview Cemetery. GIS is also used to automate the notification process. Prior to GIS, citizen notifications took several days - now, it takes a matter of minutes to export contact information and apply this to mailers. GIS helps make your City a safer place to live and your City government work more efficiently and effectively. Next time you visit the City, you may even notice a GIS application being used to help answer your question.

GIS Facts and Statistics 

GIS is used to track many different City of Anacortes assets. In many cases, both the spatial component and the attribute information are housed in the GIS database (for example, the x & y location and information about the asset). Examples of assets housed in GIS include roads, street signs, traffic signals, water lines, and properties. Each asset has a spatial location and may be related to other assets, called a spatial relationship. A GIS system helps manage these spatial relationships. Below are facts and statistics garnered from assets in the GIS database in January of 2018:

  • The City of Anacortes corporate city limit is 15.53 sq miles in size.
  • The highest elevation point in the City of Anacortes is 1,273 ft. “Mt. Erie”
  • The city owns and maintains 106 miles of active sewer main lines.
  • The city owns and maintains 160 miles of active water main lines.
  • The city owns and maintains 1,098 fire hydrants.
  • The city owns and maintains 126 miles of roads.
  • The city owns and maintains 3,090 street signs.
  • The city manages and maintains 64 miles of trails.
  • The city manages and maintains 18 parks which cover 3,176 acres within the city limits. This includes Grandview Cemetery.

 Assets can be dynamic, which means they can and do change. For example, a water line may be replaced or added on to, or a street sign may be moved or replaced. With that said, these numbers are accurate only at the time they were queried, but provide a good example of what the city's GIS manages and maintains.