What is GIS?

For more information on WDFW maps and data products:

Wildlife GIS

Fish GIS

Habitat GIS




GIS is widely used by many government agencies as a research and management tool. The Department of Fish and Wildlife began using GIS more than 15 years ago, and has invested considerable resources in effective use of GIS. Since animals roam through a physical environment where many individual elements comprise their habitat, and many activities and features may influence their behavior, GIS is a very powerful tool to describe their activity and surroundings. The distribution of habitat factors across the landscape can be captured and represented in the GIS. Locations of fish and wildlife may also be captured and compared to habitat to learn about how species select and use their habitat. Habitat composition and availability may change over time, as may the distribution of fish and wildlife populations. Knowledge of these factors captured in the GIS may be used to formulate management plans and strategies.

WDFW maintains GIS data describing a wide variety of habitats and locations of fish and wildlife species. The Interactive Mapping Services draw data from some of these GIS databases in presenting maps to you. WDFW encourages our partners to use our data and sound science for the benefit of fish and wildlife. The WDFW Priority Habitats and Species Program (PHS) provides a catalog of the agency’s GIS data, management recommendations for key species and habitats, and an outlet for requesting digital data or hard copy maps.