Enterprise GIS for Municipalities - An Integrated Approach
Subash S. & Arjun Padaki
Magnasoft Consulting India Pvt.Ltd., # 33/1, Third Floor, Lalbagh Road, Bangalore 560027.
Tel: (080)2227579/81-84, Fax: (080)2227580, E mail: email@example.com
Geographical Information System (GIS) technology provides municipal governments with extraordinary quantitative and qualitative benefits. In fact, the technology can be the basis for revolutionizing how government processes work. Some of these benefits and changes can be achieved fairly early in the GIS development process; while others take much longer to realize. A GIS may take several months to develop and the full benefits are experienced after many years. The time requirement is only partly what is required to build a database and procure a system. Technology transfer and capacity building for effective utilisation of the system, and perhaps more importantly, synergising existing work processes can be as complicated as the development of the system itself.
A comprehensive municipal GIS should provide a common platform for data collection, storage, authorized and secure access to spatial and aspatial data, harmonize the work flow of respective departments and disseminate information for the benefit of public at large. Municipal GIS will largely address the needs of various local government departments such as Local Administration, Public Works & Engineering department, Public Health Department, Water supply, Town and Country planning Department, Public Safety, Land records, Tourism Department etc.
The subsequent sections enumerate the need for a municipal GIS solution for various departments, suggested approach for implementing a system, Enterprise GIS approach to municipal GIS, successful case studies implemented by Magnasoft for municipal GIS, hurdles for making municipal GIS a success and the future road map for municipal GIS in India
Municipal GIS - A Structured Approach
This section touches upon the specific needs that need to be addressed by a Municipal GIS system. Each department at the municipal or panchayat level have specific requirements for spatial and aspatial data and often, there is an overlap of information crucial to these departments. An Enterprise approach enables access to information across multiple departments apart from bringing in greater efficiency, speedy decision-making and transparency in the functioning. The needs of each department are hereby explained in brief. The requirements, from a department and enterprise perspective, are only indicative and not exhaustive (which is outside the scope of this document).
User Needs Assessment
A needs assessment is the first step in implementing a successful GIS within any municipal organisation. A needs assessment is a systematic look at how departments function and what spatial they need to complete work. In addition to the final needs assessment report that is generated, intangible benefits are realised by going through the process. Conducting a GIS needs assessment fosters cooperation and communication among departments by working together on a common technology and new set of tools. In addition, the needs assessment activity itself serves as a learning tool, because potential users in each participating section gain understanding about GIS concepts and how the technology can best serve the various departments.