News & Information

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do the land use codes mean or where can I find that information?
  2. How do I get information about a particular parcel?
  3. Can I make a map showing more than 1 parcel?
  4. What information can be shown on a map?
  5. Where are you located and what are your hours?
  6. Do I need to make an appointment?
  7. Do you have FEMA flood plain information for my parcel?
  8. Can you create address labels for all properties within a 300’ radius of my parcel?
  9. Is there a list of all of the layers available on the download site?
  10. How can I use the layers available on the download site, if I do not have ArcMap?
  11. Do you have CADD files for your data?
  12. I need a map showing my parcel with an aerial overview? Can I do this in the interactive mapping area?
  13. Do you have MHPA (Multiple Habitat Planning Areas) or MSCP (Multiple Species Conservation Program) data?
  14. Where can we get parcel owner names?
  15. Do you have aerial photos from years past?
  16. Do you have historical data?
  17. Why do I see multiple parcel numbers (APNs) on one piece of property?
1. What do the land use codes mean or where can I find that information?

County land use codes and information can be found on the County of San Diego's General Plan web site. (Look for "Chapter 3 - Land Use Element")

2. How do I get information about a particular parcel?

You may use the SanGIS Interactive Map to look up a particular parcel and then use the Information icon to click in the parcel to retrieve information. The County of San Diego also has a couple websites that that contain parcel information. See our GIS Links page for descriptions and URLs. However, these sites do not provide owner information. SanGIS can create a map at our office that can provide additional information at a nominal fee.

3. Can I make a map showing more than 1 parcel?

You can make a map that displays more than one parcel boundary on the SanGIS Interactive Map. However, you will need to use the Information icon to click on each parcel to display the information for that parcel. SanGIS can make a map at our office that will display more than one parcel and information for all the parcels on the map at a nominal fee.

4. What information can be shown on a map?

If you come to our office, you have a choice of over 500 layers that can be displayed on a map including aerial photos. Most common layers are parcels, roads, topography, aerial imagery, zoning, land use, MSCP, libraries, schools, fire stations and transit routes to name just a few. You may display many of these same layers on the SanGIS Interactive Map but not nearly the number of layers that are available if you come to our office. At this time aerial imagery is not available on the interactive map due to licensing restrictions.

5. Where are you located and what are your hours?

SanGIS is located at the San Diego County Operations Center at the corner of Overland Avenue and Farnham Street – one block north of Clairemont Mesa Blvd. and one block west of Ruffin Rd. Maps to the office can be found on the Contact Us page. SanGIS is located on the 2nd floor of the building immediately west of the garage. Our office is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. We are closed on County and City holidays. Note that we do not start any new map projects after 4:00 pm.

6. Do I need to make an appointment?

No appointment is necessary. We seldom have customers at 8 or 9 in the morning, so this is a good time to come to our office to insure you don’t have to wait while we finish up another project.

7. Do you have FEMA flood plain information for my parcel?

We do have flood information but we recommend you use FEMA for any official documentation. The FEMA site can be accessed at the FEMA Map Service Center

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8. Can you create address labels for all properties within a 300’ radius of my parcel?

Yes, we can extract properties within a given radius and from this extract create mailing labels. Refer to the price list of our services for the cost.

9. Is there a list of all of the layers available on the download site?

Yes, there is a list of layers that are available for download or use on the interactive map. See either the Download Data or Interactive Map page for either an Excel or PDF version.

10. How can I use the layers available on the download site, if I do not have ArcMap?

ESRI’s ArcExplorer can be downloaded for free from the ESRI Products page. This software can read the shape files that you download from the SanGIS site. It is also possible to open the .dbf file in Excel. This is one of the 7 files in that make up the shape files. Some computer aided design and drafting (CADD) packages such as AutoCAD and Microstation can also read ESRI shape files.

11. Do you have CADD files for your data?

We do not have CADD files but we can convert the shape files to DGN or DWG files. Refer to the price list of our services for costs of doing this.

12. I need a map showing my parcel with an aerial overview? Can I do this in the interactive mapping area?

Due to licensing restrictions we are not currently able to provide aerial imagery through our interactive mapping application. Through a regional partnership with SANDAG, USGS, and others we are in the process of acquiring imagery that does not include these license restrictions. We hope that this will be available for your use by the end of the year.

However, we can create a map in our office that includes the imagery you need. Just give us a call or come by to see how we can help.

13. Do you have MHPA (Multiple Habitat Planning Areas) or MSCP (Multiple Species Conservation Program) data?

Yes, we have MHPA data that covers the City of San Diego and we have MSCP data that covers the unincorporated areas of the County of San Diego. These are available from our Download Data or Interactive Map.

14. Where can we get parcel owner names?

Parcel owner names for a known assessor parcel number (APN) can be obtained from the parcel table file (*.dbf) from the Data Download site. Technical staff can also provide this information either on a map or through our custom services. Please refer to Services page for descriptions and pricing.

15. Do you have aerial photos from years past?

We have limited aerial photos for years as far back as 1999. Older imagery is black and white and only covers the City of San Diego. More current imagery is available from 2008 and generally covers the entire county. Due to licensing restrictions most of the imagery can only be provided as hard copy or PDF maps.

16. Do you have historical data?

With a few exceptions, all of our data reflect current conditions. However, we have some older aerial photos and parcel and road information.

17. Why do I see multiple parcel numbers (APNs) on one piece of property?

The SanGIS parcel layers are “stacked” parcels. That means that for any piece of ground there may be multiple parcels. For example, a condominium building in downtown San Diego may have 200 individual condos. Each condo is a separate taxable parcel. All 200 parcels will be associated with the same physical lot on the ground. When the SanGIS parcel layer is created each individual condo has a polygon representing the physical location of the parent parcel. In this example there will be 200 polygons all stacked on top of each other that represent the taxable parcels and each polygon will have the same physical characteristics (shape, size, area, location) – they are, essentially, copies of each other. However, other associated information (owner, document numbers, etc.) will be different for each. In this case, each condo unit will have its own parcel number and there will be no single parcel representing the lot on the ground.

Besides condominiums there are two other cases where you will see stacked parcels – possessory interests and mobile homes. Possessory interest parcel numbers (APNs) start with 76x. A possessory interest (or PI) parcel represents a taxable interest in the underlying, or parent, parcel but not necessarily ownership. For instance, a private company may have an arrangement with a University to operate a business on campus – a coffee shop or gift shop for example. The private business is taxable and is assigned a 76x APN that is associated with the parent parcel owned by the University. Possessory Interests do not represent ownership on the parcel, only a taxable interest in the underlying parent.

Mobile home parcel APNs start with 77x. In a manner similar to the possessory interests, mobile home owners own their home (coach) but not the underlying property on which the house sits. The actual mobile home is a separate taxable parcel associated with the mobile home park parent parcel. These taxable parcels all have the same polygon as the underlying parent parcel and will show as stacked parcels as well.