Advanced GeoSpatial Inc.

Launching a Value-Added GIS Program

GIS Program Development

Thinking about a GIS Program for your organization? Then you may be thinking about cost justification for a good program and trying to answer questions about software types and prices, adding extra staff, and expanding computing abilities.

The time between identification of the need for a GIS program and realizing what it takes to actually get there can be a little overwhelming at times. Itís not the same as purchasing a new piece of office equipment or deciding to offer a new product. A lot of effort should go into this planning stage to make sure the right path is selected that makes the most sense for your organization.

AGI professionals are familiar with the steps needed to bring a quality, value-added GIS program to life, and have experience implementing programs in a wide variety of offices and organizations. Implementation of a successful program can involve:

  • GIS Needs Assessment
  • Software/Hardware Acquisition
  • Data Development and Acquisition
  • Staff Training
  • Ongoing GIS Management Plan
  • Implementation Evaluation
    GIS Needs Assessment

The logical and critical first step in the development of a GIS program is the initiation of a GIS Needs Assessment. Similar to a good business plan, implementing a needs assessment prior to launching a GIS program helps ensure that the development of the program is justified, that it will be cost effective, and most importantly, that it becomes a value-added program.

The addition of a GIS program, or the expansion of an existing program, should allow your organization to do something it doesnít now do, increase the value of your services, and/or increase the efficiency of existing business processes. It is wise to launch such a program with a defined plan as to what the GIS will do, what resources it will require, and what the true purpose will be.

A GIS Needs Assessment can consist of a simple one or two page document laying out a basic design for GIS end use, software purchases, data assemblage or development, training and identifying staff or outside support to maintain the GIS program. At the other end of the spectrum, and depending on organization size, the needs assessment can also be a significant effort and involve extensive staff interviews, exploration of office processes and existing data, assessment of data flow, storage, and management, and hardware expansion, the end result of which can be a thorough and detailed document.

    Software/Hardware Acquisition
Software companies are sometimes quick to provide quotes for the upper end package, which will accomplish all sorts of advanced tasks as promised, but if itís not the right package for your organizationís needs, much of that functionality could go unused. Also, adding powerful software without the appropriate hardware platform can be problematic. The Needs Assessment will reveal the best combination of hardware and software expansions which are appropriate to support the GIS program for your organization.

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