October 1, 2008 By Andy Opsahl
GIS Love Fest
San Diego -- Government GIS technicians recently traveled to the San Diego Convention Center for the 28th annual ESRI User Conference. ESRI representatives were eager to clarify the difference between ESRI's "professional-strength GIS" and "consumer viewers of geography," like Google Earth and Virtual Earth.
"Our presentation technologies, though they overlap with the consumer-focused ones, and can be used for consumer types of presentations, also enable people to connect directly to their GIS assets," said Bernie Szukalski, ArcGIS product manager of ESRI.
Those assets would be stores of information about the various locations on the government's map it can use to plan projects.
Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) awards went to several state and local agencies. The California Resources Agency got accolades for its project that lets citizens track where bond money had gone and how it was being used. Westchester County, N.Y., won a SAG award for Green Maps, its Web site directing citizens to the various green public and private projects happening in the county. Examples would be cell phone-recycling drop off locations, retailers focusing on environmentally friendly products and green education centers.
State and Local IT Officials Gather
Denver -- Several state and local government IT officials were on hand for the Center for Digital Government's Executive Summit, an event for agencies to interact with vendors. Vivek Kundra, chief technology officer (CTO) of Washington, D.C., boasted about his "stock portfolio" approach to managing IT projects. Traditional financial managers monitor those projects and report on them the way they would about Wall Street stocks. Kundra and Adrian Fenty, mayor of Washington, D.C., then analyze a stock-like portfolio of those projects, deciding which to keep or dump.
Peter Cooper, CTO of El Paso County, Texas, shared insight on his efforts to combine numerous agencies within El Paso County on one energy-efficient data center.
"Right now we have computer rooms. We do not have data centers. Computer rooms are old closets down in basements and in conference rooms," Cooper said.
The county is still exploring how to consolidate all of the agencies.
Molly Rauzi, city and county CIO of Denver discussed her role in preparing for the August Democratic National Convention in Denver.
"We created a backup 911 center. It was a matter of putting in the computers, telephones and things like that for the new Office of Emergency Management. A lot of these are things the city needed to do anyway," Rauzi said.
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