What is GIS?

imageGISGeographic Information Systems (GIS) is a technology utilized by Lacombe County to gather, store, update, manipulate, display, query, analyze and map all forms of geographically referenced information. A typical GIS includes computer software, computer hardware, geographic data, technical staff to manage and process the data, and a number of end users who utilize the data.

Data is a critical component of a functional GIS, and typically exists in either a vector format (points, lines, annotation or polygons) or in a raster/image format. The geographic datasets commonly used and maintained by Lacombe County include:


  • Land ownership polygons
  • Digital airphoto/orthophoto images
  • Road network lines
  • Township boundary polygons
  • Section boundary polygons
  • County boundary polygons
  • Urban municipality polygons
  • Emergency response polygons
  • Land use zoning polygons
  • Electoral division polygons
  • Hydrological polygons and lines
  • Watershed boundary polygons
  • Farmland polygons
  • Soil polygons
  • Residence location points
  • Contour elevation lines
  • Administrative location points (Waste transfer stations, churches, schools, halls and golf courses)
  • Recreational District polygons
  • School division ward polygons
  • Cadastral linework and text (Cadastral data displays block lines, lot numbers, road limits, right of way limits, and other information found on plans of survey from Land Titles)


GIS can help visualize trends, patterns and locations that help the decision making process. The power of GIS lies in its ability to overlay multiple datasets for analysis, identify the spatial relationships between features, and produce intelligent maps and reports to make more informed decisions. Lacombe County uses GIS and related technologies to more effectively and efficiently address problems that arise, to aid in the development of management plans, and to monitor the natural, cultural, economic, and physical resources of the County.