August 19, 2008 By News Report
The City of Philadelphia was presented with the President's Award in front of 14,800 attendees at the 2008 ESRI International User Conference. Jim Querry, director of enterprise GIS, City of Philadelphia, accepted the award from ESRI president Jack Dangermond. The city received the honor for its leadership and innovation in developing enterprise geographic information system (GIS) deployments that improve numerous government functions and city services.
"We're honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award and thankful to Jack Dangermond and everyone at ESRI for helping to make GIS so successful in Philadelphia," says Querry. "GIS is enabling city leaders to make better decisions and achieve numerous goals as an information framework. We're looking forward to future applications and the benefits it will provide both city employees and the public in carrying out Mayor Nutter's plan to improve public safety, education, economic development, community health and services to citizens."
Since its first foray into GIS in 1990, the city has been a leader in applying the geographic approach to government. It implemented enterprise spatial data access in the mid-1990s that included a complete basemap of aerial photography. The city built a spatial data warehouse in 2000, followed by enterprise geospatial Web services in 2001. More recently, the city created a land records system that links property-specific data among departments using a common address model. The city also began using an advanced online economic development application. The city airport's GIS Services Unit developed a mobile computing system that uses GIS software to manage operations, assets and projects in a real-time digital map environment. GIS provides the city's Streets Department with a geocentric asset and work-order management system. In addition, the Philadelphia Police Department expanded its public Web site to make it faster and easier to see where and what types of crime are occurring throughout the city.
Several new cutting-edge enterprise GIS endeavors are under way. These include the development of a single, easy-to-use geospatial portal for accessing large volumes of diverse spatial data and information stored in numerous locations; a GIS-based customer records management system; and a new approach to accountability and transparency in city government services -- known as PhillyStat -- that grew out of the New York City Police Department's CompStat program.
The President's Award is a special recognition of an organization that is a model for others to follow in implementing GIS successfully as well as making a positive impact on the environment and society. Previous winners include the U.S. Department of the Interior, the City of New York, the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, and the Hong Kong Information Center.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.