In 1984, the City of San Diego and County of San Diego jointly initiated the Regional Urban Information System (RUIS) project in response to the increasing complexity of delivering efficient and effective municipal services to the citizens of the San Diego area. The mission of the RUIS project was to develop an integrated geographic information system (GIS) to meet the needs of all City and County GIS based activities. RUIS' goals were: to improve productivity; reduce costs; provide access to accurate, timely information for decision making; and to improve service to citizens.
The RUIS program brought together data, software, hardware, and administrative components to create an integrated geographic information system (GIS). Over 200 layers of geographic data were created through RUIS many layers of which are county-wide while others cover only the City of San Diego.
RUIS project helped improve decision making and efficiency in local government by providing more timely information, eliminating redundant activities and by re-engineering and automating manual processes. RUIS was considered one of the most successful multi-agency geographic information systems ever attempted. It was presented the Exemplary System in Government award by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) at its 33rd Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas in July, 1995.
In July 1997, RUIS was replaced by SanGIS which was created as a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) of the City and County of San Diego to formalize their partnership in providing regional GIS information. The focus of the new SanGIS JPA was to provide accurate and accessible geographic data.
The creation of SanGIS is the City and County's recognition that a GIS is never completed. GIS tools and data are now used for decision-making in most departments and in the performance of many government functions. The SanGIS JPA members are also aware of the regional impact an accurate GIS system has on public safety, inter-governmental cooperation, and other jurisdictions. SanGIS actively attempts to expand its partnerships with other regional agencies to create a common source for GIS data sharing. See the section on Partners for more information on SanGIS projects with other government agencies.