SLO Regional GIS Collaborative


The mission of the San Luis Obispo Regional GIS Collaborative is “to foster the collaborative acquisition and dissemination of geospatial information and technology to best serve our community.”

The goals of the collaborative include:

  • Development of geospatial information and tools that are available, accessible and routinely used;

  • Fostering efficient geospatial data management that supports the region’s economic vitality; and  

  • Development of a geospatial infrastructure supported by sustained and equitable cost-sharing among partners.

How we formed

In October 2011, GIS staff from member jurisdictions; regional and state agencies with interests or assets in San Luis Obispo County held discussions regarding the formation of a regional GIS collaborative that would coordinate GIS-related efforts and seek grant funding opportunities for the development or procurement of geospatial datasets and other related products. These datasets include a shared countywide parcel base; periodic updates of countywide aerial photography; and other GIS and data products that provide information for use by agencies within the region. The ad hoc regional GIS committee identified the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments (SLOCOG) as the best organization to convene organizations for the collaborative -- the San Luis Obispo Regional GIS Collaborative (SLORGC). SLORGC includes local government agencies and the local divisions of federal and state government agencies in the region and other interested parties. SLORGC would seek budgetary approval from the SLOCOG Board for major expenditures and grant proposals.

Why we formed

One of the primary benefits of the formation of a GIS collaborative is to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The effort is intended to improve coordination among area jurisdictions and agencies in the development and procurement of geospatial datasets and other mapping products of utility across jurisdictional boundaries. Coordination of GIS services across the region is intended to improve consistency in mapping products across all jurisdictions and agencies in the region; lead to the development of a consistent base map; and reduce or remove duplicative efforts to acquire and/or develop the geospatial datasets for commonly-used base maps. All of this will: (a) reduce duplicative efforts across a number of agencies, (b) reduce overall costs, and (c) provide better geospatial resources and better mapping products for end-users.

What are our plans?

The following list of tasks provides an outline of a work plan for the SLORGC, as organized into three phases: Planning, Implementation, and Maintenance.


  1. Survey public agencies and non-profit organizations in region to assess current utilization or planned future utilization of GIS (GIS needs assessment survey). *In process*

  2. Identify current and future GIS data and resource needs by public agencies (and non-profit organizations) across the region. *In process*

  3. Develop a regional GIS inventory. *In process*

  4. Develop a list of desired layers and datasets to develop or procure for use by stakeholders across the region. *In process*

  5. Coordinate with County’s GIS Program Manager to update the County’s GIS Strategic Plan (as included in the County’s IT Strategic Plan).


  1. Coordinate and facilitate the procurement of a countywide parcel base.

  2. Coordinate and facilitate the timely procurement of countywide aerial photography, on a three- or four-year cycle.

  3. Coordinate the development of a regional base map.

  4. Coordinate the development of a countywide regional survey control system or method to provide GIS data in an approved coordinate system.

  5. Provide a forum for agencies and private sector to identify projects that require the use of existing GIS data or the development of new GIS data.

  6. Development of region-wide GIS database design/development standards so when agencies undertake development of GIS data for their community they can use a common schema, which in turn would make the data more accessible for regional-use. Set a standard so that data is more interchangeable and can be maintained/updated more efficiently by many users.


  1. Maintenance of the region-wide geospatial datasets once developed.

  2. Development of a regional GIS data warehouse for members of the collaborative.

  3. Improve the public’s access to geospatial data.

Next steps

SLOCOG staff and others have initiated Task 1 of the Planning phase by developing and distributing a survey to all public agencies in the San Luis Obispo region to assess current and future planned utilization of GIS data and resources. The survey was also distributed to a number of non-profit organizations in the area. As part of the survey, SLOCOG staff requested an inventory of GIS data maintained by each agency, as available, in order to develop a region-wide inventory of currently-maintained geospatial datasets and layers. The results of the survey and request for an inventory will inform and support the completion of Tasks 2, 3, and 4 of the Planning phase.

Major datasets

Major datasets that may be of utility to many public agencies and non-profit organizations across the region include the following:

  • Parcel base

  • Street centerline

  • Aerial photography (3- or 4-year procurement cycle)

  • Address points

  • Building footprints

  • Administrative boundaries (single, authoritative version)

Other datasets that may be desirable to have available with regional coverage include:

  • Water features (single, authoritative version)

  • Environmental and natural resources

  • Contour lines

  • Public lands and public facilities

  • Employment/business data (proprietary dataset)

  • Socio-economic data (Census data)

  • Land use information data (housing and employment)

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