Geospatial Program Office

World with Geospatial Program text

The Washington State Geospatial Program Office provides open data leadership, guidance, policy direction, and oversight within the Washington State government. The office works closely with GIS departments throughout Washington to ensure that all agencies can use and access geographic information when making business decisions.

Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, function as highly advanced maps. Picture a digital map on your computer where you can overlay various types of information. For example, one layer could display all the libraries in your town, another might show areas prone to flooding during heavy rains, and another could detail the distribution of parks across different neighborhoods.

GIS let you see all these different layers on a single map, enabling you to combine them in different ways to explore questions such as, "Which areas need more emergency shelters for big storms?" or "Where is the nearest food bank?" GIS aids in making informed decisions by visualizing the geographic relationships and impacts of different factors within the same area. It’s like playing detective with a map!

To build these maps and better understand the communities our residents live in, agencies gather data on diverse topics like imagery, salmon habitats, broadband access, and school bus routes. By centralizing this data at WaTech, we avoid duplicating efforts across individual agencies and ensure that decision-making affecting our residents and their communities is based on unified, comprehensive information. This approach isn’t just about working more efficiently—it embodies connected and effective governance.

Striving to Harness the Power of Where, the GPO provides:


Between Two Nerds: Joanne Markert on the Power of Where

In this episode, Nick discusses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and its role in connecting government with Joanne Markert, Senior Geospatial Program Officer for the State of Washington.