perform an activity with and without GIS, Dewberry derived a time-savings benefit. The total hours were then multiplied by a standard rate of $33.95 per hour and used for all personnel savings calculations. Additional benefits included cost avoidance by applying GIS technology, and revenue from the license of GIS products, such as the maps, data and services gained through the public access Web site.
The team also compiled a list of individuals to gather information about the activities, which led to a series of interviews conducted by Dewberry. In the interviews, questions were asked to uncover specific business processes and applications for data uses. In addition to the interviews, questionnaires and follow-up phone calls were used to compile data about the GIS infrastructure, comparable industry practices and public-access programs within the county. The information was used to compile agency-specific reports, which Dewberry presented to each agency.
The impact of the GIS Strategic Business Plan is just beginning to be realized by Baltimore County. GIS personnel have been reassigned to streamline operations, and the OIT is developing GIS service-level agreements to better define the GIS infrastructure, product and services. Another benefit has been the increased communication between agencies on GIS activities and database needs. Overall, the study charts a course forward for GIS use and offers agencies the challenge to further integrate GIS into their business processes.
Matt Freeman is a writer with ESRI and contributed this article to Government Technology