July 18, 2008 By News Report
Photo: Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker
For the fourth time since its unveiling late last year, Virtual Alabama has won an award.
This week Virtual Alabama earned the state the 2008 Innovations Award for the Southern Region from the Council of State Governments. Previous awards won by Virtual Alabama were presented by the American Council for Technology, the Google Enterprise Award and the National Governors Association.
"Alabama continues being recognized for this very advanced program," Governor Bob Riley said. "I'm very proud that Alabama keeps receiving these top awards and is being recognized as a national leader in technology and government."
Alabama Homeland Security Director Jim Walker said, "Virtual Alabama is a state program that all Alabamians can be proud of. It's an honor to represent Alabama and showcase this program that could revolutionize the way state government collaborates."
Virtual Alabama is a computerized database of information superimposed on satellite imagery and aerial photography of all 67 counties. It is the only comprehensive database of its kind in the country, according to a release from the Governor's Office. The amount of information counties can load on to Virtual Alabama is endless, and the program can help emergency responders, law enforcement, economic developers and more with their planning and response.
The Council of State Governments chose Virtual Alabama because it is a cutting-edge program that can benefit other states. Director Walker has been in contact with several Southern states as they attempt to develop a Virtual Alabama model in their states.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.