GISi AG4LG Deployment

We at GISi have been very happy with our client successes using GISi HealthCheck and GISi ArcGIS 4 Local Government (AG4LG)  jumpstart toolkit.  Most recently, the GISi & the City of Southfield, MI GIS group has been working diligently to implement Esri’s AG4LG information model into the City’s existing Enterprise GIS infrastructure.  The City has adopted the newly released common information model, core GIS tools, templates, and applications to help the City improve operations and communicate more effectively with the public while saving both time and money.

We are very excited that Southfield has joined our client, Effingham County, GA, to become one of the first communities in the country to truly embrace the new information model, applications and services being provided by GISi & Esri. The work GISi and the City have been doing in the AG4LG space has already generated a wealth of positive word of mouth throughout the region.

The City of Southfield GIS group has deployed the apps and maps gallery template: Destination Southfield and three applications; “GISi Silverlight Template Viewer”, “Polling Places”, “Parks & Rec Finder” and the City plans to have many more apps added in the coming months.

The GISi Silverlight Template Viewer application provides a wealth of geospatial information to its residential and business community, supporting public service delivery 24/7.  The City and GISi migrated its current WebADF application to the ArcGIS Server 10 platform using Microsoft Silverlight™ version 4.  Resources like the City’s Internet Mapping Portal reflect the type of investments Southfield is making to ensure a vibrant business climate exists.  This site helps promote the growth of existing business and attract new investments into the city while providing vital information to its citizens. Residents and nonresidents alike are able to view property ownership, zoning, voting districts, refuse and recycling information and many more commonly used data layers.

The Election Polling Places application helps citizens locate their election polling place and obtain information about current elected officials. This application is typically used by citizens during an election season, but can be used throughout the year to determine which elected official represents the precinct they reside in. To locate a polling place, simply click on the map or enter an address in the search box. The polling place and respective voting precinct will then be highlighted on the map and relevant information about the polling place and elected officials will be presented in two tabs at the bottom of the application. The application will also provide directions from the searched address to the associated polling place location.

The Park and Recreation Finder application helps residents locate a park and obtain information about recreation activities in their community. This application is typically used by residents in a community, but can be used by visitors to locate a park or recreation area near them, or one that offers the activity they are interested in. To locate a park, simply enter an address or activity in the search box. The park(s) or recreation area(s) will then be highlighted on the map and relevant information about available recreation activities are presented to the user.

The City now plans to release new applications on a consistent basis over the upcoming months. Sally Price feels the release of these applications will offer significant value to both City of Southfield staff as well as its citizens.  The City is using the GISi HealthCheck prescription to guide these future apps.

I would like to thank everyone at Esri who made this implementation possible through education and commitment to the success of our clients, to the GISi staff (Steve Gogola, Sean Savage & Christopher Fricke) and Sally Price

GISi will soon be deploying AG4LG apps to ArcGIS online, visit:

For more information on the GIS HealthCheck, visit

For more information on AG4LG, visit:

For a link to Destination Southfield, visit:

For more information on the GISi Silverlight Template Viewer, contact and try it live:

For more information on Elections Polling Place Template, visit: and try it live:

For more information on the Park and Recreation Finder Template, visit: and try it live:

The GIS Paradigm Shift

Call me a GIS sociologist. Or historian. Or whatever. I’ve been around this business long enough to have watched things evolve. If that doesn’t make you feel old, I don’t know what will. At any rate, I like to consider the state of our industry today and discuss some of the ideas that float around on occasion. One of my favorite topics is the paradigm shift in the GIS industry. How GIS professionals have changed over the last 4 decades or so.

In the beginning, there were scientists. Remember we are talking GIS, okay? The scientists were trying to figure out how do analyses with these cool computer things and apply that to maps and spatial questions. Those smart scientists started developing computer applications to help them do their day jobs. GIS was an applied science. One guy could do it all. The GIS guy.

Fast forward a few years and those GIS guys began migrating away from their scientific day jobs, because, well, GIS was just so cool! They began to see how GIS could be applied to a wide variety of problems, not only scientific, but economic, demographic and sociological avenues. It could be used as a real differentiator in understanding and solving business problems.

We started seeing the GIS guy get stretched thin on his ability to know it all, but most of them could still do it, and most of them still started somewhere else before they came to be the GIS professional.

Then, something happened. In conjunction with the rapid development in desktop computing power, application of GIS in scientific and demographic communities, the GIS guy became a specialist who actually went to school to become a GIS guy. We needed it to be that way, and so the paradigm of the GIS professional shifted. It is analogous to what happened in the broader computer science industry 2 decades earlier. The mathematicians and engineers who adopted computers and were the early programmers were replaced by the computer science graduates who specialized in all sorts of areas in the “computer science” industry.

The thing that fascinates me about the paradigm shift is how quickly it seemed to happen. Can we look to the broader computer science landscape and see what is possible with GIS? Are we already there? Have we simply been absorbed into computer science as a niche market or are we something altogether different? The old scientist in me says the latter, but I could be convinced otherwise.