"What is GIS?"


GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. The City of Des Moines utilizes GIS to produce the most current and complete maps available for the Des Moines area. GIS technology enables City staff to view and analyze dynamic maps to enhance their daily operations, improve decision-making, and effectively respond to customer requests and emergency situations. For example, we map emergency service calls in real-time to allow for better routing and response. With GIS, we can represent the vast majority of the City’s services geographically, analyze trends, and improve service delivery and resource management over time. To see examples of how the City uses GIS, visit our Map Center.
Many City departments and regional partners collaborate to produce the quality geographic data that are the core of our GIS. The City’s GIS database includes administrative and service boundaries, zoning and land use, sewer and water utilities, parks and trails, and demographic map layers, for example. Polk County and Warren County provide aerial orthophotography, parcel base map, and real estate data to the City. The City of Des Moines also hosts the Des Moines Area Regional GIS through which Polk County and several municipalities in the Des Moines area help maintain street, address, and structural data to support emergency response throughout the Des Moines metro area.
The Information Technology Department’s GIS Division provides mapping services and GIS support to City staff, regional partners, and residents. Please refer to our information on requesting maps or GIS data.