Skip to main content
King County logo
 December 17, 2010

Two King County GIS Center training instructors, Mary Ullrich and Cheryl Wilder, are now Certified Technical Trainers (CTT+) through CompTIA! CompTIA certification is recognized worldwide as a trusted indicator of qualified and competent professionals in the IT industry.

CompTIA CTT+ (external link) is an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication, facilitation and evaluation in both classroom and virtual classroom environments. Adobe, Dell, Microsoft, Novell and Ricoh recommend that their trainers be CompTIA CTT+ certified. Esri now requires this certification for all Certified Training Program instructors.

For more information about the KCGIS Training Program, including courses taught by Cheryl Wilder and Mary Ullrich, see:

November 12, 2010

The King County GIS Center has launched a GIS data download service: This new FTP site, the King County GIS Data Portal, allows users to download more than 90 GIS layers in three different file formats. Data can be downloaded in Esri shapefile and file geodatabase format, and in Keyhole Markup Language (KML/KMZ) format. Additional options are to download individual layers, a set of layers grouped by thematic category, or the entire set in one zipped file. We use the open-source 7-Zip file-compression format to store data files on the data portal site, so you will need to use this utility to unzip the files after download. See (external link). The data portal will be refreshed weekly and we will be gradually adding more layers from our extensive King County GIS data library.

The KCGIS Center is also participating in the county’s open data initiative ( and a nearly identical set of GIS data is available on that site.

We are excited about King County GIS Data Portal and we welcome feedback on this new service. Please contact us at with your comments.

November 10, 2010

The third edition of Sound Transit's award-winning "Regional Transit Map Book" is now being distributed by transit agencies throughout the Puget Sound region. Created and first published in 2006, this 28-page collection of regional and local transit maps, service information, and provider contacts functions as both a high-level regional overview of public transportation options, and a convenient starting point for transit trip planning within the Sound Transit service area. A coordinated set of maps at a variety of scales shows Sound Transit's entire regional system of ST Express buses, Link light rail, and Sounder commuter trains which connects cities in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. Included on the maps are regional and local connecting services provided by other transit agencies, such as, King County Metro, Pierce Transit, and Community Transit.

As with earlier editions of the map book, King County GIS Center Client Services performed custom cartography and graphic layout and production. The latest challenge was to incorporate new types of express bus service offered by Community Transit (Swift) and King County Metro (RapidRide), and Sound Transit's Central Link light rail system which started service after the last edition was published. Due to the ongoing popularity of this unique resource, Sound Transit ordered the largest press run of any of the editions, 100,000 copies.

The "Regional Transit Map Book" is available at many locations throughout the region where printed bus schedules and other transit publications are distributed. See more information about the map book and view it online here in the KCGIS Center Virtual Map Counter.

September 3, 2010

The King County GIS Center, with funding assistance from the State of Oregon, has embarked on a study of the ‘return on investment’ (ROI) from the implementation and use of GIS (geographic information systems) within King County government agencies.

GIS has been in use within King County government for more than 15 years and the current consolidated KCGIS is completing its ninth year of operation. The county has invested millions of dollars in GIS development and operation and its current use is very broad, spanning at least 35 distinct county agencies.

King County developed an ROI estimate when the original KCGIS development was initiated in the mid-1990’s. A typical GIS ROI study estimates the costs to develop a GIS and estimates the financial benefits from the use of the system. In simple terms the ROI is the cumulative benefits, minus the costs. However, we are unaware of any agency anywhere that has ever gone back after GIS has been implemented to study the actual ROI. This is a groundbreaking study which has created international interest within the GIS community.

The KCGIS ROI study is a 2010 KCGIS ‘Priority Initiative’ approved by the county’s GIS Technical Committee and GIS Oversight Committee. The study's consultant team is lead by Professor Richard Zerbe of the University of Washington's Evans School of Public Affairs, Benefit-Cost Analysis Center.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Greg Babinski, 206-263-3753, or George Horning, 206-263-4801.

September 3, 2010

The King County GIS Center is conducting a Climate Preparedness and Response project (CPR) with cost-share grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. The CPR project is one of ten in the country that were awarded Federal Urban and Community Forestry grants by the USDA Forest Service in October 2009. In announcing the grants, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "Today, over eighty percent of the population lives in urban settings and our challenge is to reconnect urban and suburban Americans with forests where they live and focus on the many environmental, economic and social benefits that forests provide."

Through the CPR project the King County GIS Center is creating improved online GIS-based tools and guidance for best climate change-related urban and community forestry management practices. The project will develop a model to incentivize climate change mitigation and adaptation of urban and community forests and disseminate the tools and model program across the United States. The King County GIS Center is working with scientific and forestry staff from King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks, and partnering with the National Wildlife Federation for policy, technical, and scientific input, as well as to promote the CPR tools and practices across the country.

August 10, 2010

With the release of Arc10, the King County GIS Center’s popular GIS Academy is being re-written and improved. With its roll-out in January 2011, the New GIS Academy will prepare you with enhanced skills and productivity to go along with the newest version of ArcGIS.

You have the tools: You've worked with ArcGIS and you have access to good data, but now you need to really deliver...

It's time to refine your techniques: Spend a week with skilled King County GIS Center practitioners and learn how to get the most out of your GIS software and data. Our instructors will share their knowledge and help build your skills in a small-class-size, hands-on environment. GIS Academy is not just a collection of classes, but an integrated work-problem-based curriculum designed to help you develop your ability while you apply your skills to a week-long class project. By Friday, you will have gone well beyond the basics, with new confidence to tackle more challenging assignments with enhanced productivity.

For more information and to register visit:

New Software, A New Year, A New GIS Academy (and we listen to your feedback – we also have new chairs and a new HVAC system to enhance your learning environment!)

Hope to see you in Seattle in January…

June 14, 2010

The King County GIS Center’s GIS Training Program has been approved for the enrollment of veterans and dependents eligible to receive GI Bill education benefits under Title 38 and Title 10, USC. Approval was granted by the State of Washington Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board State Approving Agency.

It is believed that the King County GIS Training Program is the first GIS technical training program anywhere approved for use of GI Bill education benefits.

Specific courses approved for GI Bill benefits include:

  • ArcGIS Desktop 1
  • ArcGIS Desktop 2
  • ArcGIS Desktop 3
  • GIS Academy

ArcGIS Desktop 1, 2 and 3 teach students how to use ESRI ArcGIS software. These classes are taught by King County GIS Center staff members who are ESRI authorized instructors. The GIS Academy is a week-long program of custom classes designed and taught by King County GIS Center instructors who are working GIS professionals.

A geographic information system – GIS – integrates hardware, software and data for capturing, managing, analyzing and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. The KCGIS Training Program is King County's multi-faceted approach to providing tailored training options to meet the learning needs of geographic information systems users and professionals

GIS training classes are taught in King County’s GIS computer training center in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. For more information about KCGIS training, visit; for information about GI Bill education benefits, visit

The King County GIS Center is an agency of King County government, chartered as an internal service fund to provide GIS services to county agencies and external customers. The King County GIS Center operates King County’s enterprise GIS and provides data, services, and training to help put GIS to work. Learn more at

For more information, contact Greg Babinski, 206-263-3753,; or Cheryl Wilder, 206-263-5220,

January 26, 2010

King County links with Urban and Regional Information Systems Association

Geographic Information Systems users and professionals from across western Washington will benefit from a new partnership that’s been formed to establish an education center featuring a series of workshops in Seattle.

The King County GIS Center and the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) are partnering to launch a new Pacific Northwest Education Center with a week of URISA-certified workshops, May 3-7. Workshop topics for the first week include:

  • An Overview of Open Source GIS Software
  • Addresses and IS/GIS Implementation: Key to GIS Success
  • Cartography and Map Design
  • GIS Program Management
  • Building Quality Spatial Data

The education center will be run by the King County GIS Center staff, as part of its GIS training program, GIS Training ExpressTM.

The five classes were selected from URISA’s portfolio of 24 day-long, GIS-related workshops. URISA-certified workshops are developed, reviewed and maintained by subject matter experts and provide vendor-independent education for GIS professionals and users.

Workshop instructors for the first week include: Andrew Baranowski, CDM, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Carl Anderson, Fulton County, Ga.; and Patrick Jankanish, Cheryl Wilder, and Greg Babinski of the King County GIS Center.

URISA – The association for GIS professionals – is a non-profit professional and educational association that promotes the effective and ethical use of spatial information and information technologies for the understanding and management of urban and regional systems. It is a multidisciplinary association where professionals from all parts of the spatial data community can come together and share concerns and ideas. More information is available at

The King County GIS Center is a part of King County chartered as an internal service fund to provide GIS services to county agencies and external customers. The King County GIS Center operates King County’s enterprise GIS and provides data, services, and training to help put GIS to work. More information is available at

For more information, contact Babinski at the King County GIS Center, 206-263-3753,; or Wendy Nelson of URISA, 847-824-6300,

Related information

King County GIS Training Program

King County Geographic Information Systems