3 The Formula for Success

Authored by: David A. Holdstock

Strategic GIS Planning and Management in Local Government

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781466556508
eBook ISBN: 9781315374437
Adobe ISBN:




The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people.

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3 The Formula for Success

The most important single ingredient in the formula for success is knowing how to get along with people.

Theodore Roosevelt

3.1  Introduction to the Formula for Success

The bedrock of my formula is a thorough understanding of one’s audience and one’s organization. It is the people in an organization who will determine its success or failure. Not the technology. Not the funding. The people. It goes without saying that the human factor is the single most important component in GIS implementation.

Local government professionals bring a diversity of perspectives to the table. Every one of these professionals carries a different technical, social, or managerial DNA. More often than not, each professional has a completely different take on the adoption and management of GIS technology. Understanding these perspectives will significantly influence the success of your organization and its relationship with geospatial technology.

If people are the absolute key to success, a close second is the detailed planning process for implementing and maintaining a successful GIS enterprise. This planning process has many moving parts: (a) six strategic challenges, (b) a phased approach to implementation, and (c) a formula that allows your organization to see itself holistically and benchmark itself against other organizations.

Figure 3.1 provides six graphics that are rolled into one. It illustrates a step-by-step outline to develop an enterprise GIS strategic, sustainable, and business-oriented implementation plan. The linear phases include the following:

  • Understanding the history of GIS adoption and the barriers to success
  • Recognizing organizational issues and challenges
  • Survey, teach, listen, explain, and sell

Heuristic view of GIS strategic planning.

Figure 3.1   Heuristic view of GIS strategic planning.

  • Alternatives, options, and benefits
  • Business alignment and value proposition
  • Phased multiyear implementation plan

3.2  Different Perspectives on GIS

What are people thinking, and why? Though we can never know for sure, a sincere understanding of personalities and backgrounds is as important to success as any technology. When dealing with people in your organization, try to remember the words that were uttered by that famous philosopher Popeye the Sailor Man: “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”

I would explain GIS to upper management in a far different way from how I would explain it to a class of fourth graders. Presenting geospatial technology in Wyoming or Alaska is different from presenting it in the Bahamas, Abu Dhabi, or Canada. Your message must resonate with your audience, just as the technologies resonate with the landscape.

It is important to understand that adopting GIS as a new standard is one thing, but implementing the technology is a completely different kettle of fish. It may require new practices in the workplace and ongoing activities that are related to implementation. Some would say that, by its multifaceted nature, GIS implementation is a problematic, or at least problem-prone, process. Thus, understanding the perspectives of the decision makers in a local government organization is crucial to a successful implementation.

We can agree that government officials want one thing from any project: measurable results. While everyone in the organization may have different day-to-day concerns, this is a shared ultimate goal. Here is a breakdown of the areas of concern for various levels of government officials:

  • Elected officials may have little concern for GIS functionality, but they do want to know how the GIS can deliver a return on taxpayers’ money, how investing in GIS technology can make their communities a safer place to live, and how GIS can increase government transparency. How GIS aligns with the organization overall vision is critical to elected ofiicials.
  • Government administrators must not only oversee the adoption and management of GIS but also understand ways to invest resources that will benefit all of the stakeholders. Clear lines of responsibility, accountability, alignment, and measurable results are their chief concerns.
  • Information technology (IT) directors and GIS coordinators concentrate on the challenges of bringing the technology to the users: designing GIS architecture, managing bandwidth demands, budgeting for software acquisition, and training personnel. Let us not forget the actual decision support, analysis, and predictive modeling routines that a GIS coordinator deals with on a day-to-day basis.

3.3  A Layman’s Discussion of Campbell and Masser’s Book GIS and Organizations

Authors who have all-around exceptional qualities and produce page-turners like Heather Campbell and Ian Masser have offered us an incredible insight into the psychology of local government professionals. After reading Campbell and Masser’s book, GIS and Organizations (1995), I was able to categorize and describe my own observations about the local government perspectives on GIS and relate them to the process of successful GIS implementation using the approach that Campbell and Masser articulate.

The following section represents information about the different perspectives on technology. I like to think of it as a layperson’s adaptation of Campbell and Masser’s perspectives on implementation that I have tied to real-world examples. Campbell and Masser describe three groups of GIS perspectives: (1) technological determinism, (2) managerial rationalism, and (3) social interactionism. The following section explains the ways that I have seen these perspectives interact with GIS, first, by outlining their goals and mind-set and second, by explaining the pitfalls of allowing a homogenous group of said individuals to implement GIS.

3.3.1  Technological Determinism: The IT Guru or Tech Geek Perspective

The technical expert or IT guru is a character type who is generally found in the IT department of local government. He or she has an attitude that says, “The GIS is so easily understood,” and he or she tends to regard systemic implementation as a purely technical process.

Throughout my 25 years in the industry, I have never witnessed an IT guru regard GIS implementation as anything other than a technological problem and one that can be solved fairly quickly. These individuals are, as Campbell articulates, “guided purely by the inherent value of the technological innovation.” The technical guru in your organization is purely focused on the technological advantages of geospatial technology. Generally speaking, this group has a specific mind-set that values the following:

  • New and innovative technology as the most important factor.
  • Technological advantages are regarded as valuable, in and of themselves.
  • Implementation is a technological issue, much like a programming problem.
  • GIS technology can be deployed to solve an operational problem.
  • The barrier to GIS implementation will be the ignorance of the users. It will never be the technology.
  • They will support immediate utilization and new working practices (mostly for other departments).
  • They believe that GIS implementation should reside in the hands of the technical experts and that the individuals who possess these skills are essential to the initiative.
  • Undisciplined or ill-educated staff will be a barrier to success.
  • They generally lack a picture of the broader enterprise.
  • Personal goals are extremely important to these individuals.

As a result of their overwhelming understanding of technology as an end unto itself, the tech gurus often overlook the human factor that is crucial to the successful implementation of GIS. Thus, results like those in the list above often manifest when these individuals manage implementation. There are many examples within local government where it gurus have stiffled GIS growth.

3.3.2  Managerial Rationalism: The Local Government Management Perspective

It has been my pleasure to work with many senior management professionals over the years. This group understands their core position in successful government operations and views GIS implementation through the lens of management principles and techniques. They understand the language of management and use it to describe the GIS implementation process as they see it: an intersection of new technology and a strategy that is developed by a proven process within their organization.

Do not expect senior management to implement GIS as a result of its potential value, but rather as a tool that is empirically proven to bring their managerial strategy to life in an organization. Management officials bring the following mind-set to the table:

  • Management techniques will drive their organization’s implementation of a GIS strategic plan.
  • Implementation will only occur if management embrace the solution.
  • Poor management will prevent GIS from being successful. This is an Achilles heel for GIS implementation.
  • Managers act rationally, weighing marginal costs and marginal benefits.
  • Their personal goals are secondary to the goals of the organization, or rather, their personal goal is often the success of the organization as a whole.
  • Strategic activities and good decision making by management will drive home a successful GIS implementation.

3.3.3  Social Interactionism: The Local Government Individual Perspective

The local government individual’s perspective on GIS tends to embody the idea behind Campbell and Masser’s category of social interactionism. I use the term local government official to describe the members of local government who do not fit into the technical guru or management categories. This category comprises the majority of staff in local government. They believe that successful GIS implementation is based on their support for GIS, in conjunction with effective social interaction and cooperation.

Change management is the art of responsibly managing change within an organization. It is crucial to the perspective of local government individuals. Additionally, these folks understand that cooperation plays a significant role in implementing GIS. These are factors that cannot be ignored when dealing with local government officials. Their mind-set tends to be built around the following:

  • The style of GIS implementation is influenced by the individuals within an organization more than anything else. These individuals are metered not only by their formal qualifications but also in their ability to adapt and change.
  • GIS adoption and implementation can be influenced by social trends, particularly among this group.
  • This group focuses heavily on the symbolic status of power.
  • The environment or culture among an organization’s employees factors heavily into GIS implementation.
  • Organizational and user acceptance of GIS technology plays a key role.
  • The personnel implications of GIS are important.
  • The intangible benefits of GIS are important.

3.4  The Truth of the Matter

Understanding the various perspectives on the adoption and implementation of GIS is a critical ingredient to the project’s success. There will always be the technical, managerial, and individual aspect of GIS within local government, and understanding the multiplicity and nuance of these perspectives provides a solid foundation for success.

3.5  The Formula for Success—A Checklist

Perhaps the most rewarding part of GIS strategic planning is the ability to effectively and efficiently evaluate the existing GIS conditions of an organization and then, in turn, use this information to develop an understandable action plan for the future.

It was in 2010 when I realized that the long-drawn-out process of the GIS strategic planning process needed to be organized and streamlined. So, about five years ago, I decided to keep notes on the most important factors that went into being a great GIS coordinator or manager. These factors ultimately became a comprehensive checklist of tasks that, if followed and implemented, would make for a very successful and enterprise GIS. Essentially it became my playbook for all GIS coordinators. After a few years of roaming around the United States developing GIS plans, I had a list of enough essential tasks that I was forced into incorporating them into six understandable categories. These six categories, supported by the tasks that make up the formula for success, allowed me to rapidly evaluate an organization and (more by luck than planning) benchmark that organization against other organizations with similar characteristics. What I am saying is that if you can grade yourself on each of the following tasks, you should be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. Let us take a look at my foundation for the formula for success. The idea is to grade an organization on how successful it has been at meeting or exceeding the essential goals of a successful enterprise GIS, listed below. Remember that we are presupposing that my categories and tasks are the formula for success or the essential ingredients in building an enterprise GIS. For example, some questions are answerable by a yes or a no. The first question below is “Do you have a GIS strategic plan?” If the answer is yes, you should award the organization 100%. I tend to deduct 10% points for the age of the plan, one year equals 10%. A GIS strategic plan that is six years old would get a 40% rating as I deducted 60% for each of the six years. Some of the subcategories listed below are actually questions and require a judgment call. For example, “Does the organization embrace regionalization of GIS?” The grade is based on how we define regionalization. Let us look at each essential goal.

3.5.1  Category One: GIS Governance

Category one: GIS governance is described by the following tasks. Figure 3.2 illustrates all of the key governance components of an enterprise, sustainable, and enduring GIS solution in local government.

  • A GIS strategic plan Whether you are hosting a dinner party, organizing a business retreat, or taking your family on vacation, a plan of action is crucial to the success of your endeavor. GIS technology is no different. A sound GIS strategic implementation plan (GIS SIP) provides the game plan for an organization’s development of a successful relationship with geospatial technology. The GIS SIP integrates the varying levels of organizational concerns into a formalized architecture for the implementation of GIS technology. Let us make that a little clearer with a simple example. We could say that a municipal government organization’s overall goal is to improve life for its citizens. The GIS SIP takes this overall vision and breaks it down into concrete goals.
    Governance components.

    Figure 3.2   Governance components.

    These goals could be something such as a more efficient deployment of parks and recreation department resources or improved response times for municipal emergency services. Both of these goals serve the larger vision of making the citizenry happier and healthier. In this sense, the GIS SIP makes the abstract concrete. Furthermore, the GIS SIP provides a framework for an organization to achieve these goals. During the planning process, an organization identifies the areas in need of improvement and then develops metrics that rate the process of improvement. Drawing from our earlier example, the metric may be average EMS unit response time. The GIS SIP then details the tactics and strategies that are necessary for the deployment of GIS technologies and how these tactics and strategies will improve the average response time. Juxtaposed against this presentation of benefits will be a cost projection and overall value analysis.
  • Annual update to the strategic plan The strategic plan should be updated annually. Organizations are organic. Their roles, vision, and functions constantly evolve. The strategic plan should be updated to stay relevant to the organization’s vision and the practical aspects of implementation.
  • A GIS vision, goals, and objectives As previously mentioned above, the larger vision (higher quality of life for citizenry) of an organization must be broken down into concrete goals (improved emergency response time). The vision, goals, and objectives of GIS technology must align with the organization’s vision and have measurable objectives.
  • A formalized governance model The term governance model refers to the constellation of relationships between individuals and departments within an organization. A governance model lays out lines of responsibility and the hierarchy of decision making power within an organization. These lines connect executives, managers, and staff, or more broadly the stakeholders. A stakeholder is any individual directly affected by an organization’s activities. Formalizing a governance model allows an organization to maximize accountability and efficiency. It designates the tasks each organizational entity must accomplish.
  • Job classifications The various positions within an organization should be classified according to the formalized governance model. These job classifications denote the skill set, financial worth, decision-making power, hierarchical standing, and overall responsibilities of a given position within the organization. Chief executive officer, marketing manager, and recreation worker exemplify standard job classifications. Keep in mind that these job classifications may need adjustment during the GIS implementation process. A recreation worker who formerly signed patrons in at a municipal swimming pool on a clipboard, may, following implementation, enter patron data into a GIS technology application. The increase in technological skills and problem-solving skills may warrant a reevaluation of the recreation worker’s job classification.
  • Coordinated GIS enterprise A coordinated GIS enterprise refers to a situation where an organization’s GIS governance model allows for a GIS coordinator to oversee and coordinate all GIS projects as if they were part of the enterprise. That is to say, all GIS projects are managed to a lesser or greater extent by a centralized group. Though they interact with other divisions on a daily basis, the GIS coordination’s division holds the ultimate responsibility for administering, monitoring, and developing the larger organization’s geospatial technologies.
  • GIS steering committee A GIS steering committee is a group that is composed of top-level organizational leaders and GIS specialists. This group often includes all departmental directors of an organization, along with top financial and administrative officers and the GIS coordinator. The steering committee allocates resources for the organization’s GIS needs and determines the schedule, priority, and policy issues that are related to implementation. A coherent GIS steering committee is crucial for a smooth implementation process, as it allows direct interfacing between executive decision makers and GIS experts.
  • GIS sponsor team The GIS sponsor team is composed of executive leadership or an executive leader. This person(s) is responsible for championing the GIS cause, resource acquirement, and budgeting that is related to the GIS implementation process. The sponsor team also mediates the relationship between GIS directives and the organization’s larger vision.
  • GIS technical committee As the name implies, the GIS technical committee oversees all of the technical challenges of deploying an enterprise GIS. It sets standards for ways that GIS data are gathered, managed, and shared in an organization. Most of what this committee does is related to systems architecture and IT infrastructure.
  • GIS functional groups GIS functional groups are specialized teams within an organization responsible for discussing and overseeing key focus areas, including public safety, land management, administration, and utilities. Functional groups are created usually when the organization is large and complex. These groups essentially divide the task of the GIS steering committee up into management components. They are, by their nature, narrow in focus and require some degree of expertise from their members.
  • GIS user group A GIS user group is a cohort of stakeholders who share information and compare experiences with GIS technology for the benefit of all members. A GIS user group is managed by the GIS coordinator and meets frequently, often every month or each quarter.
  • Regionalization of GIS Regionalization is a formalized agreement between parties or entities to cooperate. In relation to geospatial technologies, regionalization is the sharing of data, resources, applications, training, and education and more between disparate groups of GIS users in the region seeking to pool their resources and achieve similar goals. Often, memorandums of understanding (MoUs) guide the regionalization of GIS technologies, where multiple organizations, grouped by geography, share data with one another.
  • GIS policy and mandates Policies refer to procedural codes of conduct that are ratified and enforced by organizational authorities. These policies are internally imposed and guide everything from data and resource sharing within the GIS initiative, to personal and financial concerns for the organization at large. Mandates are externally imposed (often by larger governmental bodies or organizations) guidelines that an organization must follow.
  • User sensitivity User sensitivity refers to the capabilities of a particular GIS technology to fluidly respond to a user’s request for information. User sensitivity is an important measure of the relative benefits of implementing GIS technology. User sensitivity can be managed by using questionnaires, one-on-one interviews, GIS user group feedback, and more.
  • GIS collaboration GIS collaboration refers to the productive cooperation between individuals and entities facilitated by the implementation of GIS technology. High levels of GIS collaboration let an organization, or organizations, derive maximal benefits from enterprise GIS technologies. It is both a by-product and end goal of geospatial technology.
  • Measure quality of service Measuring quality of service refers to an organization’s capacity to gather feedback data about the efficacy of its geospatial technologies. The quality of service can be examined through questionnaires and interviews or metrics that are related to user interface and objective goals.
  • GIS authority and clear lines of responsibility A line of responsibility describes the vertical chain of liability and authority in an organization. In common-sense terms, a line of responsibility formally lays out who is responsible for what and to whom.
  • A GIS budget or funding model A funding model is a methodical and institutionalized approach to building a reliable revenue base to support an organization’s core programs and services. In our context, an organization’s funding model explains, in formal financial terms, how the geospatial technology initiative will be funded.
  • Chargeback model Instead of paying for an initiative from a centralized GIS budget, in a chargeback model, individual departments pay for the GIS services that they utilize. Instead of a centralized GIS budget that covers all the costs that are associated with organization-wide geospatial technology, each user essentially pays for software, services, and support. A chargeback model can often stifle growth and is not seen as an optimum solution.
  • Grants and funding initiatives A funding initiative allows a government organization to diversify the funding for its GIS initiative. Grants are sums of money that are distributed by governmental entities for specific project-related purposes. A local government organization should review all opportunities for grant funding to support the GIS initiative. Also, many local government organizations have what is called enterprise funds that can be used for a GIS initiative.
  • An annual detailed GIS work plan A work plan proposes the schedule and budgeting for a specific project. It not only offers a step-by-step description of the ways that a plan will be enacted but also projects a timeline and explains how funding will be deployed within the plan’s framework. The work plan associated with a GIS initiative should be updated on an annual basis to reflect the evolving needs and priorities of a GIS enterprise organization. Essentially, it lays out a work plan for the GIS team as it relates to the priorities of the GIS steering committee and each department.
  • GIS coordination tasks The GIS coordinator must coordinate and participate in all the GIS tasks within the organization. Objective-driven assignments are given to each department or individual within an organization. The GIS coordinator supports and manages each GIS project.
  • Key performance measures or indicators Key performance measures or key performance indicators (KPIs) are organizationally ratified metrics that gauge whether and how specific goals are met by an organization. These objectives, numeric representations of success or failure are crucial when comparing the costs and benefits of the GIS initiative.
  • GIS blog or newsletter A GIS blog or digital newsletter is produced by an organization in order to increase communications around a GIS initiative. It provides transparency and accountability by keeping stakeholders and citizens in the loop through easily accessible media.
  • A GIS culture of collaboration A culture of collaboration refers to an attitude that is expressed by stakeholders in their relationships to one another, as it pertains to an enterprise GIS. It is an unquantifiable web of positive interpersonal interactions that facilitates creative problem-solving and resource sharing among individuals and departments to achieve commonly held goals.
  • Alignment with organization’s vision, goals, and objectives The enterprise GIS needs to be aligned with the organization’s vision, goals, and objectives; otherwise, it serves no purpose. This is necessary from the ground up. Simplistically, the vision of an organization may be to improve life for its citizenry. Enterprise GIS supports this vision by identifying areas that need improvement and giving decision makers the capacity to set realistic, data-backed goals (such as the improved emergency service response time). These goals would then be broken down into objectives to be measured by KPIs.
  • Service level agreement Service level agreements (SLAs) are formal, legally binding agreements that outline what stakeholders can expect from enterprise GIS. The parameters of an SLA are defined by the KPIs that are relevant to the technologies in question. Essentially, an SLA can be created to document how the GIS group will support each department.
  • Cost recovery Cost recovery is exactly as the name implies. A cost recovery policy within an organization mandates that the organization will recover the costs for the act of responding to citizen and business requests for data. It may include staff and computer time, as well as hardware expenses including thumb drives or compact discs. Essentially, the organization is not charging for data; it is recovering the cost to make it available.
  • Revenue generation Revenue generation is a policy whereby an organization can actually charge for GIS data and services. Essentially, this is when an organization charges a fee above and beyond just cost recovery. The philosophy is that a price can be set for GIS services to essentially pay for the entire cost of implementing and maintaining its GIS program.
Governance self-assessment.

Figure 3.3   Governance self-assessment.

Figure 3.3 illustrates the end product after a self-assessment of the existing governance conditions of the organization. This figure graphically illustrates the end graphic after a self evaluation of all governance components required in local government.

3.5.2  Category Two: GIS Digital Data and Databases

Category two: GIS digital data and databases is described by the following tasks. Figure 3.4 illustrates all of the key data and database components of an enterprise, sustainable, and enduring GIS solution in local government.

  • A digital data assessment and review A digital data assessment examines the completion and breadth of an organization’s existing data layers. It evaluates the accuracy, completeness, and overall health of the existing digital data layers within an organization. Once the data are assembled, gaps and weaknesses are identified and subsequently improved.
  • Master data list The master data list (MDL) enumerates all of the data sets that an organization needs for enterprise GIS implementation. The various data sets should be detailed by type and source, and assessed in terms of their quantities, accessibility, and formats.
  • Metadata Metadata describe the collective characteristics of data. In short, metadata are data about data. Metadata details how, when, and where data has created or collected its documents scale, accuracy, resolution and other properties.
    Data and database components.

    Figure 3.4   Data and database components.

  • Critical data layers In the context of geospatial technology, a data layer is the visual expression of accumulated data of a particular type. Elevation, city limits, or railway lines are all examples of data layers. Critical data layers refer to the data layers that are central to the GIS initiative.
    • Parcels A parcel is a legally defined area of land. A legal description of parcels of land for tax purposes.
    • Address points An address point is a location that is marked by its position relative to a physical structure. An address point is not necessarily the same as a street address. It is a data point that is assigned to a mapped location according to parameters that may or may not coincide with a street address.
    • Street centerline The street centerline is a linear data layer that correlates to the center of the roadway.
    • Aerial photography Aerial photography describes a bird’s-eye-view style of photographic data that are gathered from a plane-, drone-, or helicopter-mounted camera. Because aerial photography produces an actual image of the mapped terrain, it improves the comprehensibility of practical details.
    • Department-specific layers Department-specific layers are mapped representations of data that correlate to the goals and objectives of a single department. For example, the position of every firehouse in a municipality would be departmentally specific to the city’s emergency response services. Often, there are hundreds of digital data layers within an organization. Each layer can often be very specific to a department.
  • Enterprise database design Enterprise database design refers to the way that an organization crafts a data repository in order to meet objectives and further the goals of the organization. Enterprise database design usually includes focusing on the data, the use of data models (Esri’s Local Government Information Model [LGIM]), and integration strategies. The design specifies how an organization will collect, share, and act upon the various data to produce the desired information products.
  • Review of database design This is the task of reviewing an organizational current database design and considering a migration to standardized models. The review should examine the breadth and efficacy of current technology.
  • Data creation procedures Data creation procedures are the standardizing guidelines by which an organization’s data are collected, cataloged, and turned into information products. This is an important set of procedures, as it protects against redundancy and needless work, both of which reduce overall cost-effectiveness.
  • Central repository A central repository is an organization’s aggregated collection of new and existing GIS data, gathered from all information resources. Pooling data in this manner allows for ease of maintenance, monitoring, and collection of metadata. A central repository of GIS data is a characteristic of an enterprise solution.
  • Custodianship (data stewards) Data stewards are responsible for the administration and upkeep of specific digital data layers. They are custodians in that they monitor the accuracy as well as the security of departmental data.
  • Mobile solutions Mobile solutions refer to GIS applications that are made available to users via a mobile device. In this day and age, mobile solutions are generally geared toward tablet and smartphone users.
  • Open data/open government Open data and open government describe an increasingly prevalent policy that allows citizens, stakeholders, and nonstakeholders access to an organization’s GIS-based data and data layers. Taxpaying citizens can see the results of a GIS initiative. Thus, a more transparent, open government is the end goal of this policy.

Figure 3.5 illustrates the end product after a self-assessment of the existing data and database conditions of the organization.

3.5.3  Category Three: GIS Procedures, Workflow, and Integration

Category three: GIS procedures, workflow, and integration is described by the following tasks. Figure 3.6 illustrates all of the key procedures, workflow, and integration components of an enterprise, sustainable, and enduring GIS solution in local government.

Data and database self-assessment.

Figure 3.5   Data and database self-assessment.

Three phases and seven steps.

Figure 3.6   Three phases and seven steps.

What do we mean by GIS procedures, workflow, and integration? Procedures denote a standardized method for accomplishing a designated task. Workflow describes the sequence of motions that a work item must undergo, from ideation to inception to completion. Workflows can encompass processes that span all levels of a department, from field collection to executive approval. Integration refers to the process of taking disparate systems, and seamlessly integrating them into a single unit.

  • Enterprise integration Enterprise integration describes the process whereby smaller disparate systems are integrated into the corporate initiative. In a geospatial context, enterprise integration encompasses not only the ways that information move from departmental systems to the central data repository, but also the ways that the new and larger system will alter stakeholder relationships and responsibilities.
  • Opportunities and gaps Gaps in the enterprise and integrated GIS solution need to be identified and documented. It could include public safety data, permitting data, work order data, or crowdsourcing information. Opportunities are those databases that can effectively be incorporated into the enterprise GIS initiative.
  • Departmental access to critical data layers Critical departmental data layers are crucial to the GIS enterprise. Departmental access refers to the ease with which various organizational departments may access these layers. Departmental accessibility is a critical component for success.
  • GIS standard operating procedures Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are an organization’s formally ratified blueprint for actions to be taken in pursuit of a desired objective. They are step by step, formulaic, and repeatable. In the geospatial context, SOPs prevent redundancy in data compilation and unnecessary effort. Adoption of SOPs also decreases organizational liability.
    • Data maintenance procedures Data maintenance procedures are a subset of SOPs that designate how to monitor and keep current the massive amounts of data that are collected in an enterprise GIS.
  • GIS application acquisition/development procedures A GIS application simply refers to the deployment of GIS technologies to generate an information product. GIS application acquisition/ development procedures are a subset of SOPs detailing the ways in which GIS technologies are to be manipulated in order to meet user needs. How does a local government manage software acquisition and or custom software development? Do these procedures exist? Are they well documented? Does the organization understand the pros and cons of software development?
  • Metadata standards defined It is critically important to define metadata standards. Metadata raise political as well as practical issues for enterprise GIS. Clear lines of accountability and quality control for the gathering, storage, and application of metadata should be ratified by an organization.
  • Data duplication between systems Data duplication is the actual duplication of data layers. The most common GIS data layers that are duplicated in local government are street centerlines, address points, parcels, and, to a lesser extent, boundary layers. Some data layers existed in the databases of three separate departments; however, with the implementation of enterprise GIS, those duplicate data layers would be reduced to a single data layer within the central GIS database.
  • Level of integration and interoperability The level of integration and interoperability measures how easily technological systems can share, interpret, and present data. An effective and enterprise GIS should integrate all databases and offer extensive interoperability. Interoperability means the ability of the GIS to work with other systems within and across organizational boundaries. This includes local, state, and federal data sources. The following is a list of key local government enterprise software solutions that require GIS integration:
    • Work order solutions As the name indicates, work order solutions manage, process, and maintain data about work orders and work that is performed. Work order solutions embrace asset management and GIS-centric solutions.
    • Enterprise resource planning solutions (permitting) Enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are integrative software applications that automate various functions that are related to planning, permitting, finance, and administration.
    • Public safety solutions Public safety solutions is the software application that is used in computer-aided dispatch, records management system, and other database and analysis tools.
  • Enterprise rather than departmental silos Departmental silos are databases that are exclusively maintained by a single department. They are full of information and, like actual silos, vertically orientated but spread out over the terrain of an organization. For example, in a situation with departmental silos, the department of public safety may be the only department that keeps data on crime statistics. In an enterprise situation, however, all organizational departments have access to crime statistics via the central database that integrates all departmental data into a single master database.
  • GIS technical support (ticketing/help desk) Like users of any IT, GIS users often need help or encounter problems while navigating GIS technologies. The team responsible for an organization’s GIS technical support will walk users through issues and provides readily available troubleshooting information.
  • Departmental use of GIS This is the actual utilization of GIS within all departments of local government. In the context of geospatial technology, departmental use implies a decentralized implementation of GIS technologies. This component should examine how effectively the departments are deploying the technology for different ends.

Figure 3.7 illustrates the end product after a self-assessment of the existing procedures, workflow, and integration conditions of the organization.

3.5.4  Category Four: GIS Software

GIS software refers to the network of programs and applications housed on mainframes, servers, and the cloud that are deployed to analyze, present, and draw conclusions from geospatial data. The end user interfaces with GIS technology via this software.

Figure 3.8 illustrates all of the key GIS software components of an enterprise, sustainable, and enduring GIS solution in local government.

  • Enterprise license agreement A license agreement is a legal agreement that is entered into by the organization and a GIS software vendor that stipulates the limitations, liabilities, and appropriate applications of the vendor’s technology. An enterprise license agreement (ELA) permits the deployment of a software program that is both organization-wide and ceiling-less in terms of user, data, or hardware restrictions. The objective here is to measure how available and pervasive GIS software is throughout the organization and create an optimum and cost-effective software deployment strategy.
  • Level of GIS commercial off-the-shelf versus custom code GIS COTS is a GIS software that is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software. It would seem that Esri is the de-facto local government standard and offers a comprehensive tool set for towns, cities, and counties. The objective is to evaluate how effective a local government organization is in using COTS versus developing custom GIS code. Open source code is, as the name implies, a code that can be used to create applications for and by local government. This would be a custom code strategy. However, GIS consultants use open source code to develop solutions that are essentially COTS. It is important to know how the extent of COTS versus custom code.
    Procedures, workflow, and integration self-assessment.

    Figure 3.7   Procedures, workflow, and integration self-assessment.

    GIS software components.

    Figure 3.8   GIS software components.

    • Widget development A widget is a term for a small software program that augments the functionality of a larger software program. GIS widgets provide a way to customize applications in accordance with the specific needs and circumstances of an organization.
  • Access to software In a geospatial context, access to software describes who can interact with what software, and to what extent. The objective is to evaluate how much access there is to GIS software within the organization.
  • Intranet solution An Intranet is a web-based GIS solution that is accessible only to an organization’s employees. A GIS Intranet solution is housed on a local government private network, accessible only to an organization’s staff. Deploying Intranet GIS technologies also makes managing the software easier.
  • Public access portal A public access portal is a Website where members of the public are able to interact with GIS information. Public web portal inform and enable citizens.
  • Online initiative An online initiative is a program that is established to plan, design, and deploy cloud-based GIS solutions. Esri’s ArcGIS Online is a leading solution for local government and offers cloud-based alternatives.
  • Simple and effective GIS communication (story maps) Simple and effective Web-based maps that tell a story of an event, history, or occasion within local government can have a powerful effect on the community.
  • Crowdsourcing applications Crowdsourcing is a twenty-first-century process of obtaining resources through an online community. Crowdsourcing applications are software programs that facilitate the interaction between organizations and the online community.
  • City council GIS City council GIS refers to the use of GIS technology by elected officials to view geographic information about the various issues that are related to the organization.
  • Modeling extensions A modeling extension is similar to a widget, in that it is a specialized software that helps organizations with specific business and operational needs. A modeling extension is larger in scale than a widget and enhances the overall representative capabilities of a program. An example would be a routing and scheduling algorithm modeling extension.
  • Mobile software Mobile software refers to GIS applications that are designed for mobile use on a tablet or a smartphone. The mobility of GIS is a critical component of any successful enterprise GIS.
  • Global Positioning System technology Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is a navigational system that is enabled by a network of satellites orbiting the earth. The satellites are constantly broadcasting their positions in the sky so that a GPS receiver on earth can pick up these signals and self-triangulate according to the information that is received. Though people often get the GIS and GPS confused, GPS is a single, though important, tool on the belt of GIS technology. GPS can be used for gathering and monitoring geospatial data.

Figure 3.9 illustrates the end product after a self-assessment of the existing GIS software conditions of the organization.

3.5.5  Category Five: GIS Training, Education, and Knowledge Transfer

GIS training is the action of teaching a particular skill or a new type of behavior. Training tends to be more formal and often includes computer technology. GIS education is the enlightened experience that follows systematic instruction and usually occurs in an academic setting. Education is less formal than GIS training and does not include anything but the student’s presence. GIS knowledge transfer is the art of transferring knowledge from one part of the organization to another. This is usually accomplished in a very relaxed atmosphere.

Figure 3.10 illustrates all of the key GIS training, education, and knowledge transfer components of an enterprise, sustainable, and enduring GIS solution in local government.

GIS software self-assessment.

Figure 3.9   GIS software self-assessment.

Training, education, and knowledge transfer components.

Figure 3.10   Training, education, and knowledge transfer components.

The following list details the GIS training, education, and knowledge transfer components of an enterprise GIS:

  • Formal ongoing GIS training plan A formal ongoing GIS training plan is a ratified outline of steps, schedules, and costs for continuing to train an organization’s employees. It is important to have an ongoing training plan, considering that GIS is a rapidly evolving technology, and organizational needs are ever changing.
  • Multitiered GIS software training Multitiered GIS software training refers to a standardized process for training employees in the use of GIS technology. Multitiered training is defined by four distinct types of GIS users, as described in Chapter 7.
  • Mobile software training Mobile software training is the process of teaching users how to engage with GIS technology on their mobile device.
  • Departmental-specific education Departmental-specific education provides specialized training procedures according to a department’s specific needs. See Chapter 7 for departmental-specific training.
  • RoI workshops RoI workshops are specific workshops that are related to the value and RoI that GIS offers the enterprise. Each department is an important component in the success of an enterprise GIS.
  • Knowledge transfer Knowledge transfer refers to the process of communicating the GIS know-how and knowledge among different entities in an organization. Knowledge transfer is the art of transferring knowledge from one part of the organization to another.
  • Conferences Conferences are gatherings of the GIS community that provide a smorgasbord of opportunities for furthering employee GIS education. Talks, lectures, lessons, and socialization with other industry professionals are ways to advance an understanding of geospatial technologies and keep abreast of new developments.
  • Online seminars and workshops Online seminars and workshops are online programs that are implemented by a variety of organizations that further GIS education among employees.
  • Brown bag lunches Brown bag lunches are as informal as they sound. This term refers to a free-and-easy meeting, generally held over a meal, where employees can discuss concerns with GIS in a social setting.
  • GIS succession planning Succession planning refers to an organization’s strategy for filling essential but vacant positions with experienced employees.

Figure 3.11 illustrates the end product after a self-assessment of the existing GIS training, education, and knowledge transfer conditions of the organization.

Training, education, and knowledge transfer self-assessment.

Figure 3.11   Training, education, and knowledge transfer self-assessment.

3.5.6  Category Six: GIS Infrastructure

Infrastructure refers to the network of structures, both physical and systemic, that support an organization’s GIS activity. Figure 3.12 illustrates all of the key GIS infrastructure components of an enterprise, sustainable, and enduring GIS solution in local government.

The following details the GIS infrastructure components of an enterprise GIS:

  • Strategic technology plan A strategic technology plan describes an organization’s current and future relationship with technology and outlines how this technology will further the goals of the organization.
    GIS infrastructure components.

    Figure 3.12   GIS infrastructure components.

  • GIS architectural design GIS architectural design is the plan that addresses GIS software technology, capacity performance, and IT infrastructure including hardware, network communications, software architecture, enter prise security, backup, platform performance, and data administration.
  • IT infrastructure IT infrastructure refers to a dynamic web of processes, networks, hardware, and software resources that support the activities of an integrated IT department.
  • IT replacement plan An IT replacement plan is a formal plan for updating hardware and software resources in the future. Budgetary concerns, goals, and long-term objectives are taken into account.
  • GIS training for IT professionals In order for IT professionals to assist an organization with many GIS activities including but not limited to crowdsourcing or tech support, they need a proficiency in GIS technologies.
  • 24/7 availability The term 24/7 availability refers to the availability of IT infrastructure and GIS technology at all hours of the day, every day of the week.
  • Enterprise backup Enterprise backups are a protective measure that preserves an organization’s centralized data through off-site cloud-based daily backup procedures.
  • Data storage Data storage refers to the digital information storage locally and on the enterprise network and in the cloud.
  • IT, hardware, and mobile standards IT, hardware, and mobile standards refer to the formalized set of guidelines and requirements that are required by the organization to support an enterprise GIS.
  • GIS mobile action plan A mobile action plan is an outline of the tactics that an organization will deploy in order to increase GIS accessibility on tablets and smartphones.
  • GIS staging and development zone A development zone is a site where newly developed GIS applications are tested and tweaked. A staging zone is a site where GIS applications are given full-trial runs.

GIS infrastructure self-assessment.

Figure 3.13   GIS infrastructure self-assessment.

Figure 3.13 illustrates the end product after a self-assessment of the existing IT infrastructure conditions of the organization.

3.6  The Formula for Success

Sections 3.5.1 through 3.5.6 illustrate my idea of a simple and understandable checklist of all the critical components and tasks that are required for a successful and enterprise GIS. If we are going to assign a value of completeness for each of the categories that are listed in Sections 3.5.1 through 3.5.6, it is important to have the utmost clarity on the meaning of that task. The information should help you understand what each component means. This will help you grade yourself on your organization’s achievement level. The objective is to literally create a heartbeat of your organization.

Figure 3.14 presents an entire GIS strategy on the back of an envelope and represents the outcome of completing the self-evaluation by using an online questionnaire that I developed in 2016.

This online questionnaire offers the following to local government professionals:

  • Statistical summary of findings
  • GIS strengths
  • GIS weaknesses
  • GIS threats
  • GIS opportunities
  • A possible GIS road map for the future
  • Estimated budget in dollars and person hours

The following represent the documented findings and recommendations after using the formula for success. We were able to create a vision, goals, and objectives for these organizations; identify weaknesses; and essentially create a road map for improvement.

3.6.1  Governance Recommendations

  • Vision: Implement an optimum GIS governance model that centralizes technology and decentralizes users.
  • Goal: Provide management with understandable strategies for the effective utilization of GIS technology. In addition to improving overall governance, this strategy should include clear lines of responsibility and facilitate stakeholder’s decision making.
    • Task 1: Adopt the GIS SIP
      • Adopt and fund the GIS SIP. Remember, this is the GIS SIP that is developed according to the steps that are laid out in Chapter 2.
    • Task 2: Annual updates to the GIS SIP
      • Update the GIS SIP on an annual basis. Modified versions of the online questionnaires and departmental interviews should be deployed, and the organization should benchmark its successes using the methodology that is laid out in the GIS SIP.
    • Task 3: GIS vision, goals, and objectives
      • Adopt and formally ratify the visions, goals, and objectives that are laid out in the GIS SIP to ensure organization-wide commitment and understanding.
    • Task 4: A formalized governance model
      • Adopt and ratify an enterprise governance model that supports a sustainable GIS.
    • Task 5: Job classifications
      • Modify the job descriptions and titles for staff who are involved with the implementation of GIS technology. Job titles are important designators for staff, and deploying the correct label can have a positive effect on personal accountability and technological engagement.
    • Task 6: Enterprise GIS project management
      • Emphasize a governance model and staffing structure that centers on GIS technology management and support.
    • Task 7: Coordinated GIS enterprise
      • Emphasize a governance model and staffing structure that centers on the coordination of the GIS enterprise.
    • Task 8: GIS steering committee
      • Continue to support its GIS steering committee as it manages and maintains the GIS technologies. The steering committee will also serve in the role of a GIS technical committee.
    • Task 9: GIS sponsor team
      • Have a team of sponsors for the initiative, headed by the GIS planning department director, and the senior management and the steering committee.
    • Task 10: GIS technical committee
      • Establish the responsibilities of the technical committee among members of the steering committee.
    • Task 11: GIS functional groups
      • Consider GIS functional teams in the third year of the initiative. These functional teams may be in the public safety, land administration, and utility departments.
    • Task 12: GIS user group
      • Formalize, promote, and organize a GIS user group that will meet on a monthly or quarterly basis to discuss user-specific issues.
    • Task 13: Regionalization of GIS
      • Work closely with external entities, regional consortiums, and adjacent organizations in order to promote coordination, save resources, and foster cooperative attitudes.
    • Task 14: GIS policy and mandates
      • Formalize a GIS data-sharing and dissemination policy that includes disclaimers on data quality.
    • Task 15: User sensitivity
      • Conduct an annual survey via online questionnaire in regard to cross-departmental GIS user needs. This survey should be planned through the leadership of the GIS initiative.
    • Task 16: GIS collaboration
      • Coordinate and administer meetings, workshops, seminars, and project-specific discussions to maximize interdepartmental collaboration and opportunities for data integration.
    • Task 17: Measure quality of service
      • Distribute an online questionnaire inquiring about the quality of the services as outlined in the departmental SLA.
    • Task 18: GIS authority and clear lines of responsibility
      • Support ratified governance model with clear and concise lines of responsibility, accountability, authority, and custodianship of the digital data layers.
    • Task 19: A GIS budget or funding model
      • Fund and sustain the future enterprise GIS using annual operating funds.
    • Task 20: Chargeback model
      • Replace the existing chargeback model with unified government operating funds.
    • Task 21: Grants and funding initiatives
      • Investigate and identify all research and funding opportunities at the local, state, and federal levels.
    • Task 22: An annual detailed GIS work plan and SLA
      • Develop a detailed work plan based upon the SLA that is endorsed by the GIS steering committee.
    • Task 23: GIS coordination tasks
      • Coordinate and manage all interdepartmental and regional GIS projects.
    • Task 24: KPIs
      • Monitor and grade the performance of the enterprise GIS initiative by benchmarking its achievement of the annual KPIs that are indicated in the GIS SIP. The lead GIS person will be ultimately responsible for presenting the success of the GIS initiative, as well as detailing challenges, barriers, and pitfalls.
    • Task 25: GIS blog or newsletter
      • Develop a quarterly GIS blog and newsletter, and link it to other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
    • Task 26: A GIS culture of collaboration
      • Create a culture of collaboration throughout the unified government organization and all external entities. Accomplish this by improving communication and branding of the GIS enterprise initiative while also promoting activities that foster collaboration between departments, or divisions within departments.
    • Task 27: Alignment with organization’s vision, goals, and objectives
      • Align all the GIS activities that are stated in the three-year GIS SIP, SLA, and action plan with the overall mission and vision of the organization.

3.6.2  Data and Databases

  • Vision: Design, build, update, collect, and maintain reliable and sustainable GIS digital and data layers.
  • Goal: Use Esri’s LGIM as the standardized data model for future growth. A modified LGIM should be used to build and maintain accurate, consistent, and reliable geographic data.
    • Task 1: Digital data assessment
      • Perform a comprehensive assessment of the quality, quantity, and completion of all digital data layers. The organization needs to supplement their existing digital data repository with new local, state, and federal data.
    • Task 2: Master data list
      • Create, update, and maintain a master digital data list.
    • Task 3: Metadata
      • Establish and enforce SOPs for metadata-related activities.
    • Task 4: Parcels (critical data layer)
      • Improve the accuracy and reliability of the digital parcel layer, based on the digital data assessment.
    • Task 5: Address points (critical data layer)
      • Improve the accuracy and reliability of the digital address point layer, based on the digital data assessment.
    • Task 6: Street centerlines (critical data layer)
      • Improve the accuracy and reliability of the digital street centerline layer, based on the digital data assessment.
    • Task 7: Aerial photography (critical data layer)
      • Improve the accuracy and reliability of the digital aerial photography layer, based on the digital data assessment.
    • Task 8: Enterprise database design (LGIM)
      • Migrate their existing enterprise digital repository to Esri’s LGIM and thus allow opportunities for customization.
    • Task 9: Review of database design
      • Review the newly proposed LGIM database design. All organizational stakeholders should complete this task.
    • Task 10: Data creation procedures
      • Develop uniform standards for the creation of all new digital GIS data. Essentially, this implies a new formal SOP and may include multiple methods for new data creation.
    • Task 11: Central repository
      • Create a central repository for all enterprise digital GIS data layers. Security and permission settings will allow the departmental ownership and custodianship of each and every digital data layer. The organization should anticipate using Esri’s ArcSDE environment to house all GIS data. Exceptions to this rule will be documented, detailed, and authorized by the lead GIS person.
    • Task 12: Custodianship
      • Clearly define departmental data custodianship roles within the enterprise governance model. Include an agreement between all departments regarding the lines of responsibility for every digital data layer.
    • Task 13: Mobile solutions for viewing and maintaining data
      • Plan, design, and deploy Esri’s ArcGIS Online as the organization’s mobile software solution. Supplement this technology with continuing efforts to identify advanced, convenient, and easy-to-use mobile GIS and GPS field tools to collect, update, and maintain the organization’s GIS data repository. A uniform approach to using ArcGIS would benefit the organization.
    • Task 14: Open data government
      • Develop an open data initiative based on the best business practices from other organizations. This initiative is focused on the responsible sharing of information with citizens and other organizations.

3.6.3  Procedures and Workflow

  • Vision: Promote the interoperability of GIS with existing business systems.
  • Goal: Integrate GIS functionality with existing database systems, business processes, and workflow.
    • Task 1: Enterprise integration
      • Integrate GIS with the organization’s existing business systems.
    • Task 2: Opportunities and gaps
      • Identify existing gaps and opportunities for GIS integration, and continue to do so on a regular basis.
    • Task 3: Departmental access to critical data layers
      • Monitor stakeholder access to all critical digital data layers. Accomplish this task through the monitoring of software use and communication with all stakeholders. These steps will allow improved feedback on the completion and accuracy of digital data.
    • Task 4: Develop enterprise SOPs
      • Establish a set of standards and procedures for managing, maintaining, and updating geospatial data. These standards could include, but are not limited to, the following:
        • – Office-to-field/field-to-office procedures
        • – GPS quality standards
        • – GIS versioning
        • – Computer aided design (CAD) standards
        • – Digital submission standards
        • – Cartographic standards
        • – Metadata standards
        • – Standard naming conventions
        • – GIS business integration
        • – Parcel fabric maintenance
    • Task 5: Data maintenance procedures
      • Develop all procedures and protocols for the maintenance of digital data by each departmental custodian. This will include multiple techniques for data maintenance.
    • Task 6: GIS application development
      • Develop policies on and standards for any new application development projects including custom browsers, widgets, and any business productivity-enhancing tools that are developed in-house.
    • Task 7: Define metadata standards
      • Develop and define what is expected from the metadata. This is the responsibility of the GIS steering/technical committee.
    • Task 8: Data duplication between systems
      • Avoid data duplication between the various systems. The organization’s lead GIS person should develop procedures and protocols to achieve this.
    • Task 9: Work order solutions
      • Evaluate and determine the efficacy of GIS integration with the organization’s work order solution.
    • Task 10: ERP solutions
      • Evaluate and determine the efficacy of GIS integration with the organization’s ERP solution.
    • Task 11: Permitting
      • Evaluate and determine the efficacy of GIS integration with the organization’s permitting solution.
    • Task 12: Public safety
      • Evaluate and determine the efficacy of GIS integration with the organization’s public safety solution.
    • Task 13: Enterprise rather than departmental silos
      • Develop a true enterprise solution rather than constraining its efforts in departmental silos. The organization’s lead GIS person should constantly evaluate the enterprise versus silo balance within the organization.
    • Task 14: GIS technical support
      • Manage and maintain technical support to all departments. Include a ticketing system to monitor the quality of GIS technical support.
    • Task 15: Departmental GIS
      • Monitor the effective use of GIS by each department. The organization’s lead GIS person will be responsible for presentations on the GIS-related increases in efficiency. Anticipate each department becoming less reliant on the central GIS staff for map production, analysis, and decision support.

3.6.4  GIS Software

  • Vision: Make GIS software accessible throughout the organization and to the public.
  • Goal: Deploy a full suite of Esri GIS software solutions (desktop, Intranet, Internet, and mobile) across the enterprise.
    • Task 1: ELA
      • Evaluate ELA versus a single seat license. Maximize the efficacy of Esri’s software by deploying the right tools to the right people.
    • Task 2: Level of GIS code versus custom code
      • Monitor the use of custom applications versus the Esri suite of software products. Anticipate that the organization will utilize Esri’s suite of solutions for the enterprise, which will ultimately limit the development or purchase of custom software solutions.
    • Task 3: Access to software
      • Make GIS solutions available to all stakeholders and citizens within the enterprise.
    • Task 4: Intranet solution
      • Utilize Esri’s ArcGIS online (AGOL) Map Viewer as the Intranet portal of choice. This includes the planning, design, and customization of Esri’s HTML5 browser template.
    • Task 5: Public access portal
      • The organization should continue to use the existing solution as their access portal. Furthermore, the organization should take advantage of Esri’s AGOL Internet Map Viewer to consider alternative solutions in the future. Specific departmental opportunities for the development of Esri-based public access portals will present themselves.
    • Task 6: Online initiative
      • Plan, design, and deploy AGOL. Include the setup, configuration, and effective use of the tools and applications that are made available in the Esri licensing agreement.
    • Task 7: Simple and effective GIS communication (story maps)
      • Develop a sequence of story maps according to the following five-step process:
        1. Storyboard
        2. Gather data
        3. Design
        4. Build and refine
        5. Publish and maintain
    • Task 8: Crowdsourcing applications
      • Consider a crowdsourcing application. This should be the responsibility of the steering/technical committee.
    • Task 9: Organizational GIS
      • Enable the organization with GIS technology and utilize real-time GIS software in meetings.
    • Task 10: Modeling extensions
      • Take advantage of Esri’s modeling extensions for the desktop.
    • Task 11: Mobile software
      • Plan, design, and deploy Esri’s AGOL as the organization’s mobile software solution. Use this solution with a continued effort for new, advanced, and convenient mobile GIS and GPS field tools to collect, update, and maintain the organization’s GIS data repository.
    • Task 12: GPS technology
      • Continue to evaluate when and where GPS technology should be used.

3.6.5  GIS Training, Education, and Knowledge Transfer

  • Vision: Train, educate, and promote knowledge transfer among all staff members.
  • Goal: Improve the GIS knowledge base within organizational departments. Develop a training plan that promotes effective knowledge transfer. Encourage the effective utilization of GIS technology.
    • Task 1: Formal ongoing training plan
      • Implement a formal, sustainable GIS training plan.
    • Task 2: Multitiered GIS software training
      • Provide GIS training to staff on a regular basis. Utilize Esri’s online education and training services and provide formal classroom training for identified departmental staff. Include desktop, Intranet, Internet, mobile, GPS, ArcGIS Online, collector application, operations dashboard, automated vehicle location story maps, ArcGIS Pro, and extensions in the training procedures.
    • Task 3: Mobile software training
      • Develop a strategy for effective training on mobile field devices as part of the formal training plan.
    • Task 4: Departmentally specific education
      • Offer training and education workshops on a monthly basis during year one of the GIS initiative. Include the following:
        1. Introduction Series
          • Introduction to GIS
          • GIS strategic planning
        2. Software Series
          • Esri software suite
          • Local government business applications
          • Mobility of GIS
          • Public safety and emergency operations center
          • Parks, lands, and natural resources
        3. Management Series
          • Business case for GIS (RoI)
          • GIS architecture/hardware/software/communication
          • GIS manager’s workshop—best business practices for GIS
          • GIS challenges
          • The future of GIS
          • GIS implementation plan/status report
    • Task 5: RoI workshops
      • Conduct an RoI workshop for all departments.
    • Task 6: Knowledge transfer
      • Establish the GIS user group network as a knowledge transfer opportunity.
    • Task 7: Conferences
      • Attend workshops and preconference seminars at the Esri International User Conference and regional Esri conferences, such as South East Region Users Group (SERUG).
    • Task 8: Online seminars and workshops
      • Utilize all available online training, education, and knowledge transfer workshops.
    • Task 9: Brown bag meetings
      • Offer seminars and workshops that are tailored to the specific departmental applications of GIS.
    • Task 10: Succession planning
      • Develop a strong GIS user base via training, hiring practices, and proactive succession planning.

3.6.6  Infrastructure

  • Vision: Continue to utilize the IT infrastructure to support an enterprise, scalable, and sustainable GIS.
  • Goal: Continually evaluate the organization’s architecture initiative so that it will sustain enterprise growth and change.
    • Task 1: Develop a strategic technology plan
      • Participate in the multiyear IT strategic plan. The purpose of this plan is to document the existing and future IT conditions. IT is essential to understand this strategy as it relates to GIS and GIS implementation.
    • Task 2: Develop a GIS architectural system design
      • The GIS architectural assessment and system design should include the following:
        1. Executive summary
          • Central server and service-oriented infrastructure approach
        2. Methods, constraints, and acknowledgments
          • Purpose and methodology
          • Assumptions and constraints
          • Acknowledgments
        3. Architecture vision
        4. Business architecture
          • Business requirements
          • IT standards and policies
        5. Technology architecture
          • Applications
            • Server
            • Desktop
            • Mobile
          • Hardware
            • Server
            • Desktop
            • Mobile
          • Network communications
        6. System architecture design
          • Platform sizing
          • Server software performance
            • Process configuration
            • Cached map services
            • Memory configuration
          • GIS data administration
            • ArcSDE geodatabase
            • Local Government Information Model
            • GIS imagery data architecture
            • Storage architecture options
          • Network communications
            • Capacity and performance
            • Suitability analysis
          • Platform performance
        7. GIS architecture recommendations
          • GIS server platform
          • Desktop platform
          • Mobile platform
          • Network communications
          • Best practices
          • Standard operating procedures
    • Task 3: IT infrastructure
      • It is important to understand your organization’s IT infrastructure. It includes hardware, software, network resources, and the services required for the existence, operation, and management of an enterprise IT and GIS environment.
    • Task 4: Infrastructure technology replacement plan
      • Understand the IT replacement strategy within your organizations. Integrate it into the multiyear GIS implementation strategy.
    • Task 5: GIS training for IT professionals
      • GIS training for the IT department is an important component of any GIS initiative. Training and educating IT staff will play an important role in your GIS deployment.
    • Task 6: Confirm 24/7 availability
      • The GIS needs to be available 24/7. Connect with the IT staff, and make sure that your organization has the IT infrastructure to support 24/7 availability.
    • Task 7: Enterprise GIS backup
      • Enterprise GIS backup is a prerequisite for any enterprise GIS deployment.
    • Task 8: GIS data storage
      • GIS has historically been a space hog. Confirm that your organization has the procedures and protocols and infrastructure for all the required data storage.
    • Task 9: IT, hardware, and mobile standard
      • Standards are a key component of any GIS initiative. Participate in your organization’s IT standards.
    • Task 10: GIS mobile action plan
      • Develop a mobile action plan for GIS.
    • Task 11: GIS staging and development zone
      • Develop an area for the testing and staging of GIS solutions and services. Testing system components, database development, and maintenance activities are important.

Figure 3.14 illustrates your entire GIS road map on the back of an envelope.

Your entire strategy on the back of an envelope.

Figure 3.4   Your entire strategy on the back of an envelope.

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