Government Technology

GIS: City IT Leaders Discuss Geospatial Data's Growing Role




June 28, 2011 By

For decades, GIS has been an indispensable tool in many state and local government agencies, and now that it’s being more widely adopted, governments are finding new, unexpected uses. Even with reduced budgets, leaders are discovering that an investment in GIS is not just a means to reach short-term project goals and reap budgetary benefits, it also can be a stepping stone toward the future of public-sector technology infrastructure.

Emerging technologies like cloud computing and next-generation 911 will be most readily utilized by those who have thoroughly prepared their GIS. And other technologies teetering on the horizon, like real-time sensor data integration, will also require a well equipped GIS. A reservoir of GIS data will be crucial for governments that don’t want to be crushed by the incoming technology waves.

Perhaps what’s most important, experts say, is the need to educate officials on how they think of data. Foremost, GIS shouldn’t be thought of as a mapping tool. Rather, it’s the starting point for a data-sharing platform that can flatten government silos and bring information to life.

New Uses For an Old Tool

There has been a move over the last seven or eight years toward [data] centralization, said Jeff Vining, vice president of research at IT research company Gartner. What was once a cumbersome tool, used only occasionally by a handful of agencies, is now being used in a more sophisticated way and shared across most agencies, Vining said.

“It’s a recognition that GIS is an enterprisewide application. In my opinion, having a GIS data clearinghouse, that’s kind of the holy grail or objective,” he said.

Christian Carlson, director of state and local government for GIS vendor Esri, agreed that a well established GIS will ready cities for new technology, particularly cloud computing. Still, despite the widespread use, most cities have a long way to go, Carlson said. “For a lot of people, GIS is simply a technology that’s used to map their infrastructure. GIS is really about the analytical capability of the technology. Maps have become the context to manage the entire workflow,” Carlson said.
View Full Story


| More

You May Also Like

Comments

Barry Wellar    |    Commented June 29, 2011

The Urban and Regional Information Systems Assciation (URISA)has been championing the GIS agenda for decades, and it is very rewarding indeed to see that investment of time, energy, and brains beginning to pay off, big-time, with even more significant benefits to be realized in the the next several years.

Rebecca Harned    |    Commented June 29, 2011

It is very exciting to see the growing momentum for GIS in the local public sector. All information and data can be geospatially-enabled. Its time we equip local government, public safety agencies included, with intelligent data & information via GIS to enhance local government decision making. GIS can give way to true intelligent governance that will build the real community resilience we need in the 21st Century. It is not an easy process but it is feasible if we foster effective collaboration. Thank you Government Technology for putting some light on this issue!


Add Your Comment

You are solely responsible for the content of your comments. We reserve the right to remove comments that are considered profane, vulgar, obscene, factually inaccurate, off-topic, or considered a personal attack.

In Our Library

White Papers | Exclusives Reports | Webinar Archives | Best Practices and Case Studies
Better security. Better government.
Powering security at all levels of government with simpler, more connected IT.
Cybersecurity in an "All-IP World" Are You Prepared?
In a recent survey conducted by Public CIO, over 125 respondents shared how they protect their environments from cyber threats and the challenges they see in an all-IP world. Read how your cybersecurity strategies and attitudes compare with your peers.
Maintain Your IT Budget with Consistent Compliance Practices
Between the demands of meeting federal IT compliance mandates, increasing cybersecurity threats, and ever-shrinking budgets, it’s not uncommon for routine maintenance tasks to slip among state and local government IT departments. If it’s been months, or even only days, since you have maintained your systems, your agency may not be prepared for a compliance audit—and that could have severe financial consequences. Regardless of your mission, consistent systems keep your data secure, your age
View All

Featured Papers