VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 3 CATEGORY: Computers POSTED ON: 6/18/2010
Government agencies are using geographic information system (GIS) solutions in combination with other applications to consolidate information and help reduce stovepiping. Those solutions have proven to be highly effective at visualizing information to make data-driven decisions. The use of GIS technology in government ranges from natural resource management to homeland security. The GIS program in Oregon has been nearly a decade in the making. From a clearinghouse of information accumulated for many small GIS projects, the program has grown into a coordinated enterprise effort that benefits government agencies throughout the state. The Memphis Police Department is using predictive analytics in conjunction with GIS technology to analyze crime patterns and deploy its resources more efficiently, thereby reducing crime rates. The MPD partnered with the University of Memphis to develop Blue CRUSH (Crime Reduction Utilizing Statistical History) as a way to improve the quality of life for citizens impacted by street crime.
GIS helps government chart a forward course By Judith Lamont, KMWorld senior writer overnment agencies are using business activities. The Oregon GIS “The other participants are moti- integration and fewer layers of G geographic information system (GIS) solutions in combination with other applications to consolidate Web site notes that at least 80 percent of information collected and managed by government is geographic, contain- vated to get the data to ODOT,” Smith explains, “because it’s in their interest to have the information cen- bureaucracy. For example, each of Oregon’s 36 counties maintains its own data for identifying land parcels. information and help reduce stovepip- ing information either about a location trally available.” Standards were developed to enable ing. Those solutions have proven to be or about an event at a particular The state selected ESRI (esri.com) the Department of Revenue to roll up highly effective at visualizing informa- location. Nevertheless, to some degree, as its GIS platform. ESRI’s ArcGIS is counties’ data into a statewide parcel tion to make data-driven decisions. the broad approach to GIS went a desktop GIS application that many map. A team of just four individuals Awareness of GIS capabilities in against the prevailing mindset of state and local agencies use to main- in the GIS office coordinates the general has been heightened by the pro- government tasking. tain base mapping layers such as data, which feeds directly into the liferation of consumer-oriented map- “The structure of government is roads, addresses and water features, public-facing Web site. Without that ping applications, such as Google based on silos,” says Cy Smith, and business-specific map data layers site, many government agencies, pri- (google.com) Maps, which are often statewide GIS coordinator in Ore- such as surplus land, vacant facilities vate citizens and businesses would used in mashups to present real estate gon. “Money is pushed down silos to and pavement conditions. ArcGIS have to make separate arrangements listings or other information that has a do a task. We wanted to create a for- Server is the GIS application server for use of the information. geographic component. The use of GIS malized structure to connect the silos that enables integration of data from Processes that might otherwise be technology in government ranges from for particular business processes.” numerous agencies and different sys- difficult to complete are facilitated natural resource management to home- One of the first steps in developing tems, including enterprise resource by the use of GIS. For example, land land security. the program was to establish a data planning (ERP) systems. Many of use permits may be evaluated at the The GIS program in Oregon framework. “Many agencies require Oregon’s major agencies use ArcGIS city, county, state and federal levels. (gis.oregon.gov) has been nearly a the same data, and we did not want to Server to host their own business-spe- “Landowners who want to develop decade in the making. From a clear- develop it over and over,” continues cific map data layers, which can then property need to apply for a permit inghouse of information accumu- Smith. “We defined 14 themes, such be shared with other agencies or pub- and make sure the property is not lated for many small GIS projects, as roads, elevation and surface water, lic-facing applications. within an area that has a high-value the program has grown into a coor- which each contain specified data The technology enables the fusion soil, forest or wetland,” says Smith. dinated enterprise effort that benefits sets.” The themes represented the of business-specific layers into a “The map overlays contain quantita- government agencies throughout the information most frequently required single reporting and analytics tier tive information that provides these state. One of the most recent initia- by government agencies. using just the underlying geospatial analyses at a glance.” tives is a system for tracking the In addition, stewards were sought data to integrate the systems. Data contained in the GIS data- stimulus funds (see KMWorld, to have primary responsibility for “Data layers can be drawn from bases is used in environmental July/August 2009). That effort was each data set. In some cases, there is any system and then brought into the impact statements for road building greatly facilitated by the existing a clear connection between the data map,” says Rob McDougald, account and other development. “The Water- GIS infrastructure, which includes and steward, such as road data pro- manager at ESRI. “An enterprise- shed Enhancement Board and the databases for managing geospatial vided by the Oregon Department of scope GIS deployment like Oregon’s Department of Fish & Wildlife have information, a user interface, analyt- Transportation (ODOT). In others, a growing system is a very effective an ongoing program to eliminate fish ical tools and one or more delivery group’s responsibility is extended to way to provide information across passage barriers, so they are remov- platforms including desktop, laptop serve the common good. For exam- many government agencies and to ing culverts that interfere with or mobile devices. ple, ODOT does not use addresses, the public.” migration of salmon and other fish,” Part of the motivation for develop- relying instead on mileposts as its An enterprise approach to GIS Smith says. “The state has a much ing the GIS program was the recogni- point of reference, but it was the technology, spatial data management easier time managing this project tion of the central role that geographic most logical agency to maintain and GIS-based Web analytics serv- because the database contains the data plays in both public and private the addresses. ices provides greatly enhanced data locations of over 30,000 culverts.” 10 KMWorld September 2009 www.kmworld.com The GIS data also helps the state efficient approach to reducing crime, meet federal mandates for reporting according to Christopher Vaden, how many road miles are maintained intel/analyst officer at the MPD. GIS market size and growth by city, county and state entities. Fifty people in the department were Daratech (daratech.com), a market research firm specializing in “These figures are important because trained to use Blue CRUSH, provid
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