February 27, 2013 By Sarah Rich
When four states decided to collaborate on a shared GIS storage platform, they turned to Bob Woolley to figure out the details. As a result, Montana, Oregon, Colorado and Utah united in what may be the first multi-state shared services platform.
The platform, awarded through a contract in partnership with the Western States Contracting Alliance and the National Association of State Procurement Officials, lets the states aggregate GIS data through public cloud-based storage. Woolley was instrumental to the collaboration — crafting the original RFP and helping guide the project’s oversight committee toward agreements that help the states benefit from the platform.
Woolley says vision was the key to pulling off the $15 million project. “If we can envision a thing, we probably can execute it,” he said. Woolley, who serves as the resident futurist for Utah’s Department of Technology Services, says cloud computing will have a great impact on government, and projects like the multi-state GIS platform help break down resistance to its broader use.
Woolley also has a strong hand in social media. In 2009, Utah was one of the first states to develop social media policy, and Woolley is a constant presence on multiple social networks.
“You build your own community with social media,” he said. “So if you build a community that has the right players in it, you can get some amazing responses.”
Photo by David Kidd
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