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The City of Chula Vista GIS - What is GIS?

A Geographic Information System, or GIS, is a computer-based mapping and information system. It combines layers of information about a place to give you a better understanding of that place. What layers of information you combine depends on your purpose-finding the best location for a new business, analyzing habitats, viewing crimes in a city to detect a pattern, and more. A GIS system requires hardware, software, data, trained users, and analysis methods for interpreting the results generated by the GIS.

A GIS enables the City to link information about places, events and facilities to their correct location on a map. This enables the City's massive amounts of data to be stored, accessed, managed, and analyzed in a computer and then viewed geographically on a computer screen in a map format making the information easier to manage, analyze, interpret and disseminate.

The City's GIS System:
The City of Chula Vista GIS system is comprised of hardware, software, applications and staff trained in the use of GIS.  The GIS staff generally uses ESRI (Environmental Systems Research Institute of Redlands, CA) software to develop, maintain and analyze data, produce maps and create applications. Data are stored for City staff use on the network and are accessible through either desktop GIS software or through in-house, customized applications.

Why did the City implement a GIS?
The City of Chula Vista implemented an integrated GIS, accessed and utilized by all City departments that use geographic information. This includes data such as population demographics, facility locations, base mapping, development monitoring and land use data. The GIS enables the City to manage and process a large amount of geographically based information with flexibility, accuracy and efficiency, to automate and streamline the map-making function, and to provide spatial analytical capabilities. As a multi-departmental resource, GIS includes common citywide base maps and related data, as well as specialized departmental thematic maps and data. The system is compatible with other systems for integration and sharing of data, expandable to meet user needs, and readily accessible and user friendly.

Many public and quasi-public agencies, as well as consulting and engineering firms around San Diego County currently use GIS. These include the City of San Diego, County of San Diego, City of Encinitas, City of Escondido, City of Oceanside, SANDAG and SDG&E to name a few. Most of the agencies use the same or compatible GIS software as Chula Vista does.

Why is GIS important to the City?
GIS is a core information-age technology that is assisting the city in achieving its top priorities of increased public safety and economic development while helping create a more customer friendly and efficient municipal government.
How does this benefit me?

City Staff

  • Speeds up work
  • Allows better service to the public
  • Allows more access to information which results in better decisions
  • Allows analysis that would previously have been difficult or impossible

City Business Person/Consultant

  • Allows better access to decision-making information
  • Reduces government costs
  • Allows better access to government services
  • Reduces cost of doing business

City Resident

  • Allows better access to government services
  • Provides improved government services
  • Provides new information available in easy-to-understand format (map)
  • Reduces cost through increased efficiency


Importance of Maintenance:
The City receives monthly downloads from the County Tax Assessor and the City's permitting system. New street centerlines are added as they are addressed. The City receives new parcel and centerline information in digital form from the Developers (Final Maps) and now requires digital submittals for Tentative Maps, Grading and Landscaping Maps, Parcel Maps, and Improvement Plans. The Improvement Plans will be particularly useful for updating several GIS layers. The City considers it crucial to keep the database as up-to-date as possible since many departments rely on our data for their daily functions. If any errors are detected, please notify ITS and it will be researched and corrected.


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