to our GIS. Some of our residents have gone online, and because of the clarity of the photos they've been able to zoom in and see who is in whose backyard. So now we have First Amendment issues that our City Attorney's Office is trying to filter through, simply because of how far you can take the GIS.

Toregas: The citizens, the residents, the users of governmental information should be able to use GIS effectively on the Web. In San Carlos, [California], they can find out the impact of a development and visualize it in XY coordinates ending up in three-dimensional figures. The same thing is happening in San Diego. That's an intriguing development that wasn't there five years ago, we weren't thinking at all about how you use geography to present data to a public that may have no idea what they're looking for but know exactly where it is that they want to look. GIS by its very nature is integrative. It forces departments to talk to one another. Climb up the ladder a little and GIS can link city and county data with state and federal data. If the federal government spends money collecting data maybe they could spend it more wisely by giving it to a county to collect the data at far greater resolution and in a way that can integrate up for state and federal needs. So the whole intergovernmental system of crazy and disparate development can be brought to a more reasonable conclusion if we begin to look at GIS as the integration force. We have a group, called the Local Leaders in GIS [that is] pushing NLC, ICMA and NACo to develop a far wider appreciation of GIS. Javier [Gonzolez] mentioned NACo's interest in GIS issues, NLC is beginning to look at it, ICMA has developed a special task force on GIS. It's really beginning to work now.

Romer: Any of us that have that capability [need] to make sure that we are challenging ourselves, that we are putting it out there, on our Web sites, on the Internet and on the intranet so that our own departments know what's out there. One of the best things we did was put it on the intranet with some instructions to departments, telling them "you need to start using it." It can be overlooked, and especially in smaller communities, it should be shared as early as possible.

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government