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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

Redwood City Joins Cities and States Nationwide in Recognizing November 19, 2003 as "Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Day"

Redwood City, CA - October 30, 2003 - As part of a national effort to recognize the value and use of geographic information systems (GIS), the City Council of Redwood City will consider a proclamation at its November 3rd meeting recognizing November 19th, 2003 as National GIS Day. Each year, the week of November 16th is the National Geographic Society’s “Geography Awareness Week,” and GIS Day falls on the Wednesday of that week. The purpose is to promote geographic literacy and knowledge among the public.

GIS is an innovative computer-based mapping tool that takes information from a database about a location – such as streets, buildings, water features, vegetation, and terrain – and turns it into visual layers. The ability to view these features on a map gives users a better understanding of a particular location, enabling planners, analysts, and others to make informed decisions about their communities. One key use of GIS is to view U.S. Census data superimposed on a map, thus providing a graphic, visual representation of demographic information in an understandable map form. National GIS Day serves to make people aware of GIS technology and the important contributions it’s making in the fields of science, technology, information, and the humanities.

GIS is used throughout the world to address issues and compile information related to the environment, health care, land use, business efficiency, education, and public safety. The power supply directed to homes, the patrol cars and fire trucks that keep neighborhoods safe, and the delivery trucks on the road all function more efficiently because of GIS. This technology can also help businesses determine optimum locations, allow people to pull maps off the Internet, and help farmers grow more crops with less chemicals. Most recently we have seen how GIS technology can be used to aid homeland security initiatives, map the debris field following the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, and monitor the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

In Redwood City, the Planning Division of the Community Development Services Department is working to bring GIS into all aspects of the planning and development of our community, and it is already becoming essential to City employees. In the near future the public will be able to access parts of the City’s GIS application directly, to obtain planning and zoning information, learn the street sweeping schedule for their neighborhood, find out the location of nearby schools or other facilities, and more. GIS is fast becoming a crucial communications, information, and customer service tool, and its use will only continue to expand as people realize its potential.

The Community Development Services Department helps our community create a vision, plan for that vision, and review and process developments with that vision in mind. This Department’s website is located at Visit Redwood City’s website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and City government.

Tom Passanisi
Principal Planner

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