GIS: Geographic Information System

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A Geographic Information System is a computer system developed to capture, store, manage, analyze and display data that can be linked to geographic information, generating maps as the end product. GIS has been largely used as a tool to answer questions, to solve problems and to help in the decision making process in numerous fields for example, natural resources, about population census, health issues, fire management, urban planning, natural hazards and so forth.

The Tijuana Estuary is a very important ecosystem. Its variability in topography, tidal influence and streamflow results in a nutrient-rich estuary with a diversity of habitats that are home to a wide range of wildlife, aquatic organisms and plants. It has persisted despite disturbance from urban and agricultural land uses. In order to protect and preserve the Reserve, Research is highly necessary to monitor and study the dynamics of the Tijuana Estuary. The Tijuana Estuary’s research and monitoring programs are responsible for collecting data and the research’s GIS Lab stores and manages the data for future analysis and comparisons. Maps are generated according to the needs of specific projects. GIS is not used only within the Reserve, it is also used in projects that include areas like the Tijuana River Valley, South San Diego Bay Salt Ponds and Los Peñasquitos Lagoon. Currently GIS Lab is working with map products for the Climate Understanding & Resilience in the River Valley (CURRV) project, which studies the Tijuana River Valley vulnerabilities to climate change, sea level rise and flood. Another project we are using GIS for is the South San Diego Bay Salt Ponds restoration, which needs map products to analyze  elevation and vegetation data of the site, for example.

Some of the data we use, such as operational boundaries, roads, and trails can be accessed through the links below: