A GIS (Geographic Information System) is a combination of hardware, software, and data that can be used to analyze and communicate information, (e.g. trends, and boundaries) geographically.  At one time, the only way to maintain and utilize a GIS was to have onsite servers, computers, expensive usage licenses, and a dedicated staff.  Now, it’s possible to enjoy the benefits of a GIS with minimal initial investment through the use of pre-packaged solutions like ESRI’s ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS for Local Government.

What Can a Geographic Information System Do For You?

  • Save Money and Time

    • Create a one-stop-shop for accessing data from multiple sources

    • Identify trends and patterns such as foreclosure rates by neighborhood

    • Optimize delivery and service routes

    • Increase efficiency of fleet maintenance

  • Make Better Decisions

    • Estimate a storm’s impact before it happens

    • Better understand the distribution of your assets

    • Improve real estate site selection

    • Plan disaster aid and evacuation routes

    • Know the location of utilities before digging

  • Improve Communications

    • Embed interactive maps and data into your Microsoft Office documents for easier interpretation across departments and disciplines

    • Keep it portable with stunning mobile-enabled web-based applications

How a GIS Works

  1. Determine your needs

    1. This can be done by formal meeting or informal brainstorming

    2. Your GIS consultant can help frame your problems as questions

  2. Provide solutions

    1. Several solutions will be presented based on needs and cost.

  3. Research, acquire and create data

    1. Use existing data when possible.

    2. Integrate client’s data

    3. Remember “free” data will still need formatting

  4. Examine and analyze data

    1. From “eyeballing” to running sophisticated statistical analysis, interpret data

    2. The question in step one will determine the type of analysis used

  5. Present your results

    1. Share dynamic results via web-based or mobile applications

    2. Print static results as small or large-scale maps and charts
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