Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an exciting new tool for mapping geographic locations of animals. Where is the greatest concentration of feral cats? Where are spay/neuter services most sorely needed? GIS provides a unique overview of many different sets of data that helps you decide where to focus your time and resources, and it also offers a relationship-building block that lets organizations work together to save more lives.
Birdís-Eye View of GIS
- GIS lets you see your community through real data and not through assumptions or generalizations. That means greater efficiency with your limited resources.
- To get that vantage point, you need to look at 85% of the animals who are handled through shelters and rescues in your community. Mapping less than 85% of the communityís intake will not accurately show hot spots in your area.
- What kind of data do you need to pull out? If you choose to look at intake you will pull all the animals that came to you as stray or owner surrender. If you choose to look at outcome you will pull all individual animals that had the outcome type you are interested in.
- Make sure data is entered in a consistent and clean manner, then test it to see if 80% or more is clean. Adjust the process until you reach that total.
Ready to get started? Here are some tools that will help.
Need help finding an analyst?
- These groups are quite diverse in their membersí levels of expertise and backgrounds. Contact the groups via their web page contact information and ask if someone could help with your efforts.
- Often geography or other departments have GIS (or spatial analysis) expertise and/or students interested in learning GIS. Professors and students are commonly looking for projects to support within their community and beyond. Graduate or even undergraduate projects could be focused around analyzing your communityís data. Some schools also have service units that may provide GIS services for a fee.
- Many municipal departments, regional planning councils and councils of government utilize GIS and may be able to provide the services you need to analyze your data.
- Commonly companies that are involved in urban and regional planning, transportation, and infrastructure will be able to provide GIS services for a fee.
- Look closely at your volunteer database. Someone with the expertise to complete GIS analysis may be someone you already know. They would likely be thrilled to work on a GIS project or at least offer great ideas where to look for local assistance.
The ASPCA X Maps Spot project is funded by PetSmart Charities©