WAGIS was created in 2006 to develop a statewide parcel database in support of research being done by the Rural Technology Initiative (RTI), a group at the University of Washington's College of Forest Resources (now the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences). RTI's work focused on understanding the location and number of non-industrial private forest (NIPF) lands in the state. Parcel data provided a way to locate these lands.
Development of the Washington State Parcel Database (WSPD) has been guided by an advisory group, the Parcels Working Group, made up of parcel data producers, and the local, state, and federal government agencies that use parcel data in their lines of business. This group works together to identify core database attributes, address the concerns of county parcel data producers, coordinate licensing agreements, and build a working relationship with the county parcel custodians and key agency framework coordinators.