GIS for Government Master List: A Whopping 193 Ways the Public Sector Can Use Geographic Information Systems in Its Work
GIS government applications have grown rapidly over the last few decades, and it seems like new ones are being discovered all the time.
At a high level:
- The federal government uses GIS to manage a variety of programs and measure the impact of policy.
- Local governments use GIS to support and improve municipal services, track assets, create environmental reports after disasters, and much more.
When you think about it, the majority of government work is location-based. If you call a department in your local government, one of the first questions you’ll be asked is: Where are you located?
Based on the answer, you’ll get a list of considerations that will be part of determining next steps. This is all to say that locational data is a huge part of the work governments do, and that GIS has the potential to significantly impact almost every aspect of local government.
In this master list of GIS government applications we’ll share a HUGE catalog—we share 193 uses!—of all the ways that federal and local government can leverage GIS in its work.
To help you navigate it, the list is organized by local government departments. If you’ve been looking for ideas about how you can use GIS for government, this article is for you.
But before we share our massive list of GIS government applications, we’ll go over some important information about what GIS to help orient you.
Let’s dive in.
What Is GIS for Government?
GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems.
According to Esri, one of the top GIS providers in the world, GIS is “a spatial system that creates, manages, analyzes, and maps all types of data.”
The U.S. Geological Survey expands on this definition, stating that GIS is “a computer system that analyzes and displays geographically referenced information . . . [using] data that is attached to a unique location.”
Put simply, GIS allows you to know exactly where something is.
With GIS data, local governments can obtain a precise location of anything from a water main to the coolest places in the area for escaping the heat on a hot summer day.
Putting the power of the data entry into the hands of the people who actually know what’s out there has been really helpful to us. Being able to track all of the activities done to that asset and costs associated with them is really valuable . . . [since] it helps us analyze and prioritize [our work].
Heather Albrecht, Government GIS Analyst for the City of Maple Grove, MN
But raw locational data on its own isn’t that useful. To be put to use, governments typically need to combine this data with other apps and tools, overlaying it on top of other data to reveal locations, trends, and other key connections that can inform decision-making and guide governance.
For example, with OpenGov Cartegraph Asset Management, local governments can use GIS data to identify the exact location of assets like roads, water service lines, or any other assets they want to track and manage.
Knowing these locations can help improve service delivery. It can also help cities anticipate future growth.
GIS Government Case Study
The Sanitation Department and the Planning & Zoning Department in the City of Anderson, SC teamed up using GIS data and new digital tools made for local government to improve garbage pickup.
During a period of rapid growth in the City of Anderson, the Sanitation Department found that its garbage collection routes were extremely unbalanced. The cause? The routes were based on old data—a new development now housed a disproportionate amount of the City’s population, so the routes needed to change to accommodate this fact. But the City was continuing to grow rapidly, so a solution for the current reality might soon be outdated as well.
To future-proof its garbage routing, Sanitation Manager Chris Conwell used Cartegraph Asset Management to determine a target average number of garbage pickups per day, eliminating big variations in daily numbers that had led to overtime and exhaustion. Then he pulled in permitting data from OpenGov Permitting & Licensing to determine where new growth was happening in the City, overlaying this map on a route map.
The end result was a color-coded map showing new, more efficient garbage routes. Because he had the right tools and the right GIS data, the entire process was quick and easy.
It’s easy to collaborate with the Planning Department and quantify exactly how many homes are expected in new developments, and what stage each development is in . . . It was a straightforward process that only took a few days.”
Adam Cromer, City of Anderson, SC Public Works Division
Tools and Data Used in GIS Government Work
GIS is an umbrella term used to describe systems of locational data. But it’s comprised of distinct parts, which include:
- GIS hardware. These are tools used to collect locational data, like digitzers or GPS units.
- GIS software. These are tools used to store, manage, and manipulate locational data, like Esri’s ArcGIS.
- Data. This is the actual locational data showing the coordinates of a given asset, building, or other item of interest to a government.
- Analytical tools. These are the tools used to analyze GIS data and draw conclusions.
Esri ArcGIS data on OpenGov Cartegraph Asset Management platform
In using GIS for government, agencies and entities draw from a variety of tools and datasets to achieve their goals. But the guiding framework in using GIS for government work is to approach problem-solving from a geographic perspective.
There’s all kinds of different ways you can connect data, and what GIS does is it connects data with location. So, if you know several data sets’ locations, you can overlay them and extract a lot of analysis from it.
Jones, Global Manager of Cadastre and Land Records at Esri
For example, if you’re trying to help residents keep cool during a heatwave, you might overlay a map of your city showing tree density over a GIS map, revealing the location of places where people might expect to find greater shade. Then you’d share that map with residents to help them stay cool.
Source: American Forests Tree Equity Score
Or if you want to identify food deserts in your city, you might overlay a map showing all the food-related resources like grocery stores, farmer’s markets, or food banks over a GIS map to reveal areas where residents have to travel over five miles to find fresh produce. Then you can use that information to create policy incentivizing new grocery stores to open, or provide residents who live in underserved areas with ways to access fresh produce
GIS for Government Master List: 193 Different GIS Government Uses
New GIS government applications crop up every day.
When it comes to how you can use GIS in government work, the bottom line often is: if you can dream it, you can probably build it.
Below is a list of just some of the ways GIS is being used in the important work done by local governments, divided into groups based on the departments in a city that might use each one.
Use the menu below to explore different GIS government applications by department, or scroll through the entire list for inspiration.
One note—some of these applications can be used by multiple departments. To cover these, we’ve created a separate section at the end of the list that includes all the GIS government ideas that could be applied to several different departments.
Here’s the list of departments:
GIS for Government—Code Enforcement
1. Buffer Analysis
Check for compliance with regulations that specify distances (e.g., the distance a liquor store can be from a school) by overlaying GIS data over a map of actual businesses in the city, looking for the distance between specific areas or types of businesses that have mandated buffers.
2. Case Management
Integrate GIS with case management systems, enabling officers to see the status, details, and history of a code violation right on the map.
3. Environmental Protections
Identify and monitor protected areas such as wetlands, floodplains, or conservation zones to ensure there aren’t any code violations, such as illegal dumping, encroachments into protected zones, or violations of watershed regulations.
4. Land Use Compatibility
Use GIS to ensure that businesses and structures are compatible with adjacent land uses.
5. Density Analysis—Identifying and Tracking Patterns
GIS can display spatial distributions of code violations, making it easier for officers to visualize the density of code violations. This data can help identify areas with high concentrations of violations, which may signal larger community or structural issues that need broader interventions.
6. Vacant and Abandoned Properties
Track and analyze vacant or abandoned properties, which often have higher code violation risks, to ensure timely interventions.
7. Zoning Verification
Check properties against zoning layers to ensure that uses and structures comply with local ordinances. Cross-reference reported violations with zoning data to quickly determine if a particular activity or land use is compliant with local zoning ordinances.
8. Integration with Permit Systems
Cross-check GIS data with permit databases to ensure structures, renovations, or other regulated activities have the necessary permissions.
9. Interactive Code Violation Dashboards
Create internal dashboards that update in real-time, allowing staff to view and manage violation reports efficiently.
10. Time-Stamped Imagery
Use GIS to integrate time-stamped imagery into code enforcement, confirming the time and date of a violation or monitoring progress toward its resolution.
11. Property Owner Information Retrieval
In cases of code violations, quickly retrieve property owner information and contact details based on spatial data.
12. Accessibility Analysis
Ensure that public facilities and amenities comply with accessibility standards by using GIS to map and analyze features like ramps, accessible routes, and more.
13. Integration with Cameras and Sensor Systems
In areas with cameras or other sensor systems, integrate real-time feeds with GIS to monitor and quickly respond to potential violations.
14. Lien and Fine Tracking
Geographically track properties with outstanding liens or fines, aiding in recovery efforts and ensuring compliance.
15. Noise Ordinance Monitoring
In cities with noise restrictions, use GIS to map complaints or integrate with noise monitoring systems to identify violation zones.
16. Grading and Erosion Control
Monitor sites for compliance with grading and erosion control ordinances, ensuring construction sites or land modifications aren’t causing environmental damage.
GIS for Government—Economic Development
17. Site Selection Analysis
Identify ideal locations for businesses based on multiple factors such as proximity to transportation hubs, zoning, existing infrastructure, and neighboring businesses.
18. Retail Gap Analysis
Identify areas that lack specific types of businesses or services and may benefit from targeted commercial development.
19. Demographic Analysis
Understand population trends, income levels, age distribution, and other demographic factors in different areas to help identify potential residential service gaps and to help local businesses pinpoint the location of target markets.
20. Tax Incentive Zones
Map out areas where tax incentives or grants are available to attract businesses to underdeveloped or revitalizing areas. Also, use maps of undeveloped neighborhoods and GIS data to identify areas that could benefit from becoming a tax incentive zone.
21. Investment Tracking & Economic Impact Assessments
Visualize where past and current economic development investments have been made to measure impact and guide future CIP efforts. Also, model and visualize the potential impact of major developments or projects on the local economy to anticipate future investment outcomes.
22. Visualize Economic Trends
Map out employment rates, business growth, or decline, and other economic indicators over time.
23. Business Cluster Analysis
Identify and map clusters of similar or complementary businesses to understand the local business ecosystem and promote collaboration.
24. Infrastructure Analysis
Showcase the proximity of available utilities, transportation networks, and other crucial infrastructure to potential development sites to inform infrastructure development decision-making.
25. Real Estate Availability
Highlight available commercial, industrial, and residential real estate listings, complete with property details and contact information for easy reference by potential investors or to assist residents in understanding the available property within your city.
26. Investor Attraction
Provide interactive maps on government websites showcasing the local area’s advantages, from transportation networks to educational institutions, as a tool to attract potential investors and new residents.
27. Tax Revenue Forecasting
Use spatial data to model potential revenue from proposed developments or zoning changes.
28. Tourism Development
Map out tourist attractions, facilities, and accommodations to strategize ways to promote tourism-related economic growth.
29. Economic Resilience Analysis
Assess and map areas of economic vulnerability, such as those overly dependent on a single industry.
30. Workforce Analysis
Analyze spatial patterns related to the workforce, such as areas with higher concentrations of specific skills or education levels, to inform businesses and training institutions about where to advertise jobs or education opportunities.
31. Local Supply Chain Analysis
Map out local suppliers and manufacturers to encourage and enable businesses to source locally.
32. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Analysis
Analyze spatial patterns of FDI to understand which areas or sectors attract more international investments.
33. Business License Analytics
Visually represent where certain business licenses are concentrated to help in policy-making and promotional activities.
34. Brownfield & Redevelopment Sites
Identify and promote underutilized or contaminated sites that could benefit from redevelopment.
GIS for Government—Emergency Response
35. Incident Mapping
GIS can be used for real-time visualization of emergency incidents, which can aid dispatchers and first responders in swiftly identifying the nature and location of the crisis.
36. Hazard Assessment
Analyze and pinpoint areas that are susceptible to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, or wildfires, to support better preparedness and response.
37. Critical Infrastructure Mapping
Locate and monitor crucial infrastructure like hospitals, emergency shelters, fire and police stations, to ensure rapid response and safeguarding during emergency situations.
38. Resource Allocation & Deployment
Based on real-time geospatial data, strategically distribute emergency resources, ensuring the right assets are sent to the right location at the right time.
39. Safe Zones Identification
Determine, map, and communicate shelters or other areas designated as safe during different types of emergency scenarios.
40. Hazardous Material Mapping
For chemical spills or similar incidents, visualize the extent of contamination, forecast potential spread patterns, and guide evacuation or containment.
41. Search & Rescue Coordination
Geolocate areas of interest or challenging terrains where missing or trapped individuals might be, and strategize search patterns accordingly.
42. Damage Assessment Mapping
Post-disaster, quickly survey, catalog, and map the magnitude and type of structural or environmental damage across affected areas.
43. Communication Network Visualization
Highlight emergency communication nodes, towers, or hubs to ensure smooth command and control during crises.
44. Water Source Mapping
For firefighting efforts, especially in wildfires, identify and visualize available water sources to optimize fire suppression strategies.
45. Real-time Emergency Asset Tracking
Monitor the live locations of emergency vehicles, personnel, or equipment to coordinate responses and avoid overlaps.
46. Floodplain & Surge Analysis
In coastal or flood-prone zones, use GIS to forecast potential flood patterns, surge zones, and guide responses in these areas.
47. Emergency Response Simulation & Drilling
Use GIS systems to recreate emergency scenarios for training, allowing responders to practice their roles in a geographically accurate setting.
48. Post-Incident Review
Analyze the spatial data from previous incidents to refine response strategies, locate vulnerabilities, and improve future response times.
49. Radiation & Heat Zone Mapping
In the event of fires or nuclear incidents, determine areas with high heat or radiation levels to protect responders and the public.
50. Landslide & Terrain Stability Analysis
In hilly or mountainous regions, use GIS to predict potential landslide zones after heavy rainfall or seismic activity.
51. Air Quality & Smoke Modeling
During industrial incidents or wildfires, model air quality, smoke dispersion, and potential respiratory hazard zones.
52. Evacuation Planning
Planning evacuation routes that residents can use during disasters.
GIS for Government—Fire Department
53. Forest Fire Management
GIS data combined with historic fire data can assist in predicting fire risks, planning fire breaks, and coordinating firefighting efforts.
54. Incident Location Mapping
Instantly display locations of fires or emergencies to quickly inform and dispatch response teams.
55. Hydrant & Water Source Locator
Highlight the locations of hydrants, reservoirs, and alternative water sources to ensure firefighters have access to water during operations.
56. Building Footprint and Infrastructure Analysis
Access detailed building footprints, understand the structure layouts, and identify potential hazards like gas lines or chemical storage. Building footprints can also be helpful for active firefighting efforts, identifying exits and helping fire responders react more quickly than if they had no knowledge of the building.
57. Fire Spread Modeling
Predict the potential spread patterns of active fires, which is especially crucial for wildfires, to inform containment strategies and evacuation plans.
58. Fire Station Location Optimization
Determine optimal locations for new fire stations based on past incident locations, population density, and response time metrics.
59. Fire Risk Assessment
Analyze regions prone to wildfires or other fire hazards, like industrial zones, based on historical data and environmental factors.
60. Critical Infrastructure Protection
Identify and prioritize key infrastructures that need protection during major fire events, such as hospitals, schools, and power plants.
61. Smoke Dispersion Modeling
Forecast the movement of smoke during large fires, helping communities prepare or evacuate as needed.
62. Hazardous Material Mapping
For fires in industrial areas or involving vehicles, identify and assess potential risks associated with hazardous materials that could make the fire burn stronger or more toxic.
63. Pre-incident Planning
Use building and infrastructure data to plan entry and exit strategies, water source access, and other tactics in advance of potential incidents.
64. Fire History Analysis
Document past fire incidents to study patterns, assess department performance, and refine firefighting strategies.
65. Equipment & Asset Tracking
Real-time monitoring of fire department vehicles and equipment, ensuring resources are effectively utilized during incidents.
66. Firefighter Safety and Accountability
Use GIS tools in combination with personnel tracking to monitor the safety and location of firefighters, especially in large-scale operations.
67. Training & Simulation
Integrate GIS into training exercises, simulating real-world scenarios for firefighters to practice responses in a geographically accurate setting.
68. Post-Fire Analysis
After an incident, use GIS to document and analyze the affected area, resources used, and fire spread, informing efforts to refine future strategies and training.
69. Wildland-Urban Interface Analysis
Especially in areas prone to wildfires, identify and map where urban development and wildland areas overlap, assessing higher risk zones.
70. Fire Code Violation Mapping
Track and visualize areas with repeated fire code violations to focus inspection efforts.
71. Drone Flight Path Planning
If drones are used for surveillance or fire assessment, plan and visualize optimal flight paths using GIS.
72. Fire Evacuation Shelter Mapping
For large-scale fire events requiring evacuations, map out and communicate designated shelter locations for affected residents.
GIS for Government—Health Department
73. Disease Outbreak Monitoring
Use spatial analysis to track the spread of infectious diseases, identify hotspots, and forecast potential outbreak patterns. By mapping outbreaks, local governments can monitor the spread and plan for access to healthcare services.
For example, during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GISCorps built a comprehensive map of all the COVID testing sites in the U.S. The map proved incredibly helpful for local governments in coordinating their testing measures and working to identify and contain outbreaks.
74. Environmental Health Analysis
Map areas with potential environmental health risks, such as zones with high air pollution or water contamination, to guide mitigation strategies and public advisories.
75. Healthcare Facility Locator
Highlight the locations of hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and specialized healthcare centers, allowing for streamlined patient referrals and resource allocation during health crises.
76. Vaccination Campaign Mapping
For public health campaigns, like flu shots or COVID-19 vaccinations, use GIS to determine optimal locations for vaccine distribution centers based on population density and accessibility.
77. Health Demographics Analysis
Visualize demographic data related to health, such as age, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, to understand health disparities and guide policy decisions.
78. Nutritional Deficiency Mapping
Identify areas or populations with specific nutritional deficiencies to guide supplemental nutrition programs.
79. Mental Health Resource Distribution
Map the locations of mental health resources, such as therapists or crisis centers, to ensure equitable distribution and accessibility.
80. Substance Abuse and Addiction Mapping
Monitor and analyze areas with high instances of substance abuse or overdose, guiding the placement of rehabilitation centers or outreach programs.
81. Maternal and Child Health Monitoring
Use GIS to track indicators related to maternal and child health, targeting areas for interventions like prenatal care programs or immunization drives.
82. Public Health Inspection Tracking
Log and visualize the results of health inspections, such as those for restaurants or public pools. Mapping can reveal densities of similar issues, helping determine the need for more frequent monitoring, intervention, or the allocation of resources to provide a more sweeping approach to assist the entire impacted area.
83. Biohazard & Toxic Site Monitoring
Identify and monitor areas with potential biohazards, such as toxic waste sites or chemical spills, guiding public health advisories and interventions.
84. Health Trend Analysis
By aggregating health data over time you can identify and visualize emerging health trends or issues in the community.
85. Injury and Accident Clusters
Pinpoint areas with frequent injuries or accidents, guiding the placement of public health interventions or safety campaigns.
86. Radiation Exposure Zones
Identify and monitor areas exposed to higher levels of radiation, guiding public health recommendations and interventions.
87. Healthcare Workforce Distribution
Ensure equitable distribution of healthcare professionals across the jurisdiction, pinpointing areas that might need additional staffing or training.
88. Medical Supply Chain Monitoring
For logistics within the health department, track the movement and storage of crucial medical supplies, ensuring timely replenishment and distribution.
GIS for Government—Parks & Recreation
89. Park Facility Inventory
Catalog and visualize all park facilities, such as playgrounds, restrooms, picnic areas, and sports courts, to ensure effective maintenance and upgrades.
90. Trail and Pathway Mapping
Create detailed maps of hiking, biking, and walking trails, including their lengths, elevations, and surface types.
91. Ecosystem and Habitat Monitoring
Map and monitor various habitats and ecosystems within park areas, ensuring preservation and minimizing human impact.
92. Land Use and Zoning
Visualize zoning laws and land use regulations specific to recreational areas to guide future park development or expansions.
93. Visitor Usage Analysis
Monitor and analyze park visitation patterns to determine which areas are most frequented and at what times, helping in resource allocation.
94. Green Space Analysis
Identify potential areas for new parks or green spaces based on urban development patterns and population density.
95. Water Body Management
Map and manage lakes, rivers, ponds, and other water bodies within parks, noting water quality, usage, and potential risks.
96. Historical and Cultural Site Mapping
Highlight historical sites, monuments, or culturally significant areas within parks to aid in preservation and educational outreach.
97. Flora and Fauna Inventory
Catalog the various species of plants and animals found within park boundaries, helping in biodiversity conservation efforts.
98. Park Infrastructure Maintenance
Use GIS to track and schedule maintenance for park infrastructure such as benches, lights, pathways, and playground equipment.
99. Recreational Program Locations
Identify and map locations within parks that are used for specific programs or events, ensuring these sites are equipped and maintained.
100. Climatic and Soil Analysis
Monitor and map park areas based on soil type, precipitation, temperature, and other climatic factors, guiding planting or landscaping decisions.
101. Safety and Security Mapping
Identify and mark areas within parks that might need increased surveillance, lighting, or other security measures.
102. Accessibility Analysis
Ensure that park facilities are accessible to all, mapping out wheelchair-friendly paths, accessible restrooms, and other accommodations.
103. Vandalism and Damage Tracking
Use GIS to track areas frequently subjected to vandalism or damage, guiding preventive measures or the need for increased patrolling.
104. Noise and Pollution Buffer Zones
Understand how parks act as buffers for noise or pollution in urban areas, guiding tree planting or green space expansion.
105. Pesticide and Fertilizer Management
Log areas where pesticides or fertilizers are used, ensuring they are applied safely and in compliance with environmental guidelines.
106. Sports Field Scheduling
Using GIS data, optimize the scheduling of sports fields or courts based on their condition, location, and demand.
107. Viewshed Analysis
Determine the visual impact of any new developments or changes within or surrounding the parks.
GIS for Government—Planning & Zoning
108. Community Development
GIS can be used to map community resources, analyze community needs, and plan targeted interventions.
109. Urban Planning
Local governments can use GIS to visualize urban growth patterns, predict future growth, and plan infrastructure accordingly. This includes roads, public transportation, utilities, and other public services.
Also, designate and monitor boundaries for development, identifying areas where urban development may or may not occur to control sprawl and protect natural resources.
110. Land Use Analysis
GIS can help in the visualization and analysis of land use patterns as well as modeling potential future scenarios to inform zoning decisions, developmental planning, and conservation efforts.
111. Historic Preservation Mapping
Identify, catalog, map, and monitor historic structures, districts, and cultural sites within the jurisdiction. Also, use this data to help in preservation planning, creating development guidelines to protect historic sites.
112. Zoning Code Visualization
Display and analyze various zoning categories (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.) to guide development and ensure compliance.
113. Parcel and Property Data Management
Maintain an updated database of parcel boundaries, ownership details, and property attributes, supporting decision-making and public inquiries.
114. Development Review
Assess proposed development projects in the context of existing land uses, infrastructure, and zoning codes to ensure compatibility.
115. Future Infrastructure Planning
Using current land use data, predict future infrastructure needs such as roads, water lines, and sewage systems.
116. Environmental Impact Assessments
Analyze potential environmental impacts of proposed developments, ensuring sustainable growth.
117. Population and Demographics Analysis
Use demographic data to forecast housing, transportation, and infrastructure needs based on population growth or shifts.
118. Viewshed and Aesthetic Analysis
Evaluate how new developments will affect views and the visual character of an area, especially in scenic or historically significant regions.
119. Density and Intensity Analysis
Monitor and manage the density and intensity of development in different zones to ensure balanced growth.
120. Transportation Corridor Analysis
Evaluate the impact of land uses on transportation corridors, ensuring smooth traffic flow and reduced congestion.
121. Public Facility Planning
Based on growth patterns, determine the optimal placement of public facilities like schools, parks, or police stations.
122. Floodplain and Topographic Analysis
Identify flood-prone areas and guide development away from these zones, ensuring safety and compliance with floodplain regulations.
123. Land Value Analysis
Using property and tax data, evaluate the land values in different zones, supporting tax assessments and economic planning.
124. Solar and Wind Analysis
Determine optimal areas for solar panels or wind turbines based on topography, sun angle, or wind patterns.
125. Noise and Light Pollution Mapping
Assess areas impacted by noise or light pollution to inform zoning decisions or mitigation measures.
126. Open Space and Greenbelt Planning
Identify and preserve open spaces or greenbelts within urban areas, supporting environmental conservation and recreation.
GIS for Government—Police Department
127. Crime Analysis
Police departments can use GIS to visualize crime incidents in real time or analyze past crime patterns to identify patterns and trends, and allocate resources more effectively.
128. Gunshot Mapping
Some police departments are experimenting with mapping the areas where gunshots happen most frequently, using new technology like drones and gunshot detectors to respond in less than a minute to the location of shootings.
129. Animal Control
GIS can help track reports of stray or dangerous animals, informing the allocation of animal control resources.
For example, in trying to control populations of feral cats, GIS data can be incredibly useful to reveal trends, evaluate the impact of past measures, and plan for future campaigns to lower the volume of feral cats in a community.
130. Predictive Policing
Using historical data, anticipate areas with a higher likelihood of future criminal activity to deploy resources proactively.
131. Evidence Collection & Analysis
Geotag evidence from crime scenes, ensuring accurate location data for forensic analysis and court presentations.
132. Warrant and Parolee Tracking
Monitor the locations of individuals with outstanding warrants or those on parole to enhance surveillance and ensure compliance.
133. Traffic Accident Analysis
Map and analyze traffic accidents to identify dangerous intersections or roads, guiding traffic safety initiatives.
134. Gang Activity Monitoring
Track and analyze known gang territories, movements, and activities to strategize interventions and reduce gang-related crimes.
135. Narcotics and Drug Activity Mapping
Identify areas with frequent drug-related incidents to direct narcotics enforcement efforts.
136. Officer Deployment Analysis
Assess the effectiveness of current police deployments and optimize officer placement based on crime trends.
137. Asset and Resource Locator
Quickly locate critical assets like patrol cars, SWAT vehicles, or police stations in real time during emergencies.
138. School and Public Facility Safety Analysis & Incident Planning
Map and assess potential threats around schools, public buildings, and other sensitive areas to devise safety protocols and evacuation strategies.
139. Emergency Response Time Modeling
Evaluate response times to various incidents across the jurisdiction to optimize patrol routes and station placements.
140. Special Events Planning
For events like parades or festivals, use GIS to plan security details, crowd control measures, and emergency evacuation routes.
141. Public Notification Systems
In case of threats or incidents like active shooters, use GIS to send location-specific alerts to residents.
142. Sex Offender Registry Mapping
Track registered sex offenders’ residences, ensuring they comply with legal distance restrictions from schools or playgrounds.
143. Digital Evidence Presentation
For court proceedings, present geospatial evidence through maps or 3D visualizations for juries and judges.
144. Undercover Operations Planning
Plan and monitor undercover operations with discrete GIS tools, ensuring officer safety and operation secrecy.
145. Communication Tower Analysis
Ensure that police communication systems have optimal coverage by analyzing and planning for communication tower placements.
146. Tactical Operation Planning
Use detailed spatial data to plan tactical operations, like raids or stakeouts, taking into account terrain, building layouts, and potential escape routes.
147. Neighborhood Watch Integration
Collaborate with neighborhood watch programs by sharing relevant geospatial data while maintaining necessary confidentiality.
148. Body-Worn Camera Data Integration
Sync location data from body-worn cameras to GIS systems, providing a spatial context to recorded incidents.
GIS for Government—Public Works
149. Infrastructure Inventory
Catalog and map critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, tunnels, water mains, sewer lines, and stormwater systems.
150. Asset Management
Use the inventory to manage these assets, setting up routine inspections, maintenance, follow-up work orders, and risk assessments to prolong asset life and help prioritize deferred maintenance.
151. Stormwater Management
Use GIS to monitor and manage stormwater systems, plan drainage, and mitigate flooding risks.
152. Utilities Management & Coordination
Mapping utility lines such as water, sewage, electricity, and gas can help in efficient maintenance and planning of new lines. Also, overlay different utility lines like gas, electric, and telecommunications on public infrastructure maps to coordinate construction or repair efforts and planning timing for work.
For example, if a new sewer line is being put in that will require the road to be dug up, this work should be done before the road gets a scheduled repaving.
153. Water & Sewer Network Analysis
Understand the flow, capacity, and potential chokepoints of water distribution and sewage systems.
154. Water Service Line Management
Identify all the water service lines in your city, including those made of lead or copper.
The EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) require all cities to create a lead service line inventory by October 16, 2024, presenting a crucial GIS government use case.
A map showing the location of service lines in the City of Plano, TX
155. Street Lighting Management
By mapping streetlight locations, GIS can help plan effective lighting strategies and manage maintenance schedules.
156. Tracking Completed Work
View a history of work that’s been completed at previous locations throughout your city in a 3D GIS map, providing insights into past efforts and conditions for a given location or asset.
157. Pavement Management
Evaluate road surface conditions throughout your city, prioritize resurfacing needs, and plan for routine maintenance.
158. Facility Management
Manage municipal facilities, including public works buildings, depots, and storage areas, tracking their usage, condition, and maintenance needs.
159. Environmental Impact Monitoring
Assess the environmental impact of public works projects, ensuring they align with environmental regulations and goals.
160. Waste Management
Track waste collection routes, landfill capacities, and recycling centers to optimize waste management operations.
161. Traffic Signal Management
Map and monitor traffic signal systems, optimizing timing based on traffic patterns and ensuring their maintenance.
162. Bridge and Tunnel Assessments
Maintain detailed spatial records of bridges and tunnels, assisting in structural assessments and repair planning.
163. Cemetery Management
Geospatially manage burial plots, track occupancy, and provide information to assist in navigation within public cemeteries.
164. Energy Management
Monitor and analyze public building energy usage, supporting efforts to make municipal facilities more energy-efficient.
165. Snow Removal Planning
Prioritize and coordinate snow removal routes based on road usage and importance, infrastructure, and historical data.
166. Landscaping and Vegetation Control
Map and manage landscaping projects, tree plantings, and vegetation control efforts along public roads and spaces.
167. Street Cleaning Coordination
Schedule and coordinate street cleaning operations based on need, seasonal factors, and event schedules.
GIS for Government—Public Schools
168. School Boundary Analysis
Define and periodically reassess school attendance boundaries (also called school catchment areas) based on population distribution, school capacities, and growth trends.
169. Site Selection for New Facilities
Analyze demographics, land use, accessibility, and other spatial factors to select optimal locations for new schools or other educational facilities.
170. Campus Safety Analysis
Evaluate potential hazards or threats around school campuses, such as nearby busy roads, factories, or areas with a high crime rate, to enhance student safety.
171. School Facility and Asset Management
Monitor and manage the physical assets of school buildings, playgrounds, sports fields, and other facilities to prioritize maintenance or upgrades.
172. Pedestrian and Traffic Flow
Analyze traffic patterns around schools during start and dismissal times to ensure safe pedestrian crossings and reduce traffic congestion.
173. Student Demographic Studies
Understand student demographics, including factors like income levels, languages spoken, or special needs prevalence, to inform educational strategies and resource allocation.
174. Environmental Studies for Education
Use GIS to teach students about local environmental factors, conservation areas, or land use patterns, enhancing their environmental awareness.
175. Emergency Evacuation Planning
Design and regularly update emergency evacuation plans for each school, considering factors like building layouts, student distribution, and nearby safe zones.
176. Resource Allocation
Analyze the spatial distribution of educational resources, like computers, textbooks, or specialty teachers, ensuring equitable allocation among schools.
177. Integration with Student Information Systems (SIS)
Geographically visualize student data, including academic performance, attendance, or special education needs, aiding in decision-making.
178. Outdoor Education Planning
Plan and manage outdoor educational activities, like field trips or nature studies, based on geospatial data of local areas of interest.
179. Nutrition and Meal Planning
Geographically track student nutrition needs or meal program participation to optimize food distribution and reduce waste.
180. Monitoring Air and Water Quality
Use GIS to monitor air and water quality around school premises, ensuring a healthy environment for students.
181. Integration with School Bus Systems
Use GIS to optimize bus stops and bus route planning, ensuring transportation to and from school is safe and accessible for all students.
182. Special Programs Placement
Determine where specialty programs, like arts magnet programs or STEM academies, should be placed based on student interests and demographic data.
183. Heatmap Analysis for Absenteeism
Visualize areas with high student absenteeism to identify potential underlying community or socio-economic issues.
184. Assessing the Digital Divide
Map out students’ access to digital devices and internet connectivity at home, supporting initiatives to bridge the digital divide and provide greater connectivity at home.
185. Sport and Physical Education Planning
Use GIS to identify appropriate areas for specific sports or physical education activities, ensuring safety and suitability.
186. Historical Studies Integration
Use GIS to teach students about local history, landmarks, or culturally significant areas, enriching their historical perspective.
GIS for Government—General Uses
Here are some GIS for government applications that could be used by multiple departments.
187. Database Integration
Seamlessly integrate GIS with other database systems, streamlining the process of pulling relevant records, past violations, or additional property data during inspections.
188. Route Optimization
Water line servicing, water meter reading, garbage disposal, managing city assets, inspections, law enforcement beats—there are so many types of routes that need to be planned for local government, and GIS can help optimize all of them.
189. Historical Tracking
GIS can be used to track and visualize the history of various types of data, including things like code violations, crime, demographics, permits, and land usage. For almost any type of historical data, GIS can help you map it, letting you look back and understand patterns and changes over time.
190. Public Engagement
GIS can help you create public-facing maps that allow residents to report potential violations or check the status of a reported issue.
These maps could be used to share the effectiveness of code enforcement, to help visualize public feedback on proposed zoning changes or development projects, to gather and manage input on various local issues, or to demonstrate responsiveness to resident work requests.
191. Integration with Other Departments
GIS data can support collaboration between departments in a local government, or between local governments and state or federal agencies when a case or violation involves multiple jurisdictions.
192. Tracking Performance Metrics
Use GIS to track department performance metrics, like response time to reported violations, resolution timeframes, or inspection frequencies.
193. Resource Allocation
Determine where more officers or resources might be needed, where more funds should be allocated, where a new school, mall, or hospital should be located based on the spatial distribution of various types of data.