Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an exciting tool for mapping locations of animals. It lets you look at many different sets of data in a way that provides a clearer picture of your community's animals and their needs—and that helps you use resources more efficiently.
How It Began
The ASPCA's research began with a handful of communities across the country utilizing GIS to target animals most at risk and reduce shelter intake.
- In Portland, OR, an alliance of local organizations discovered an area of high intake through GIS mapping. Through a comprehensive outreach program, including free services to clients in the targeted area, intake was reduced.
- In Cleveland, OH, the ASPCA team worked with two local organizations to identify an area of high intake, then launched an intervention to saturate the area with free services and keep animals in their homes.
- The Florida counties of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach identified high intake areas in their communities through the use of GIS, and began targeting their efforts more effectively.
- Sacramento, CA, also identified an area of high intake and completed a one-year intervention project focused on reducing shelter intake of cats and dogs.
The ASPCA team identified a clear pathway shelters can use to see the big picture. By examining data for animals who are handled through shelters and rescues in your community, organizations can accurately show hot spots in your area.
For the GIS program to work effectively, shelters must:
- Enter data in a consistent and accurate (or clean) manner
- Map at least 85% of the community's intake
- Test intake data to see if 80% or more is clean
- Continue refining until your data is at least 80% clean for the data subset you want to examine
Glossary of GIS Terms
The X Maps Spot team has compiled a list of commonly used terms you can refer to as you learn about GIS and how it can help your shelter save more lives.