Local Government GIS in an “App for That” World

There is a paradigm shift that has already begun in our industry—a shift that can be traced back to the broader mobile technology field and the invention of Apple’s iPhone and their App Store’s “App for That” concept. The iPhone does not have one app with 500,000 features or functions, rather has access to over 500,000 apps that do 1-2 focused tasks. Furthermore, technology trends tell us that mobile is exploding and that we are just starting to scratch the surface. According to Gartner, the sales of mobile devices surpassed PC sales for the first time in 2011—something that wasn’t forecasted until 2013. Global Internet users will literally double over the next few years, but perhaps most interesting is that by 2015 most users (approximately 80%) will be accessing the Internet via a mobile device.  This is clearly a deployment platform that we all need to be planning for and gearing up to support.

Esri is keenly aware of these trends and has created two cost effective and closely related initiatives to support the growing demand, and what will be, the consumer expectation for targeted, focused maps and apps accessible from their mobile devices. Esri’s ArcGIS for Local Government and ArcGIS Online are cost effective initiatives aimed specifically to support local governments in this mobile, “app for that” world.

ArcGIS for Local Government includes a series of targeted, focused maps and apps built on a common information model that is designed to work together across various departments. The concept is “plug and play” for any of the Esri web, mobile, and desktop templates (apps) and the keys to all of this is adopting the local government information model.

ArcGIS Online is a cloud-based, collaborative content management system for maps, apps, data, and other geographic information. It is not a replacement for on-premise GIS implementations, rather works complimentary offering organizations an efficient way to disseminate information across their organization and optionally, to the public. ArcGIS Online has been designed so the maps run on all devices and the apps can be easily configured to support the following environments, iOS, (iPad and iPhone), the android devices, as well as Windows (phone, mobile and desktop). This presents a vast number of deployment strategies aimed to support the ever present and growing demand for mobile.

The paradigm shift is already happening. We see it today in our industry with Esri’s Resource Center and “ArcGIS for…” concept. The days of traditional GIS web viewers that deliver ArcMap on the web will quickly become an artifact of the past. Soon our products and offerings in GIS will be required to support mobile accessibility and designed to solve targeted, focused tasks that make all of our cities and counties operate more efficiently.

This speaks to why we, at GISi, are “all in” on these Esri initiatives where we started as a pilot partner for ArcGIS for Local Government over a year ago and have evolved into one of a few Esri partners that have been designated, by Esri, with the ArcGIS for Local Government partner specialty. Over the last year we have helped over a dozen local governments with implementation and have positioned them to leverage this new paradigm. From our perspective, the time is now to get on board and learn how these initiatives can complement your offerings.

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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 sprice@cityofsouthfield.com.

GISi will soon be deploying AG4LG apps to ArcGIS online, visit: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=881d4967817241db818795135a12ab09

For more information on the GIS HealthCheck, visit http://www.GISHealthCheck.com

For more information on AG4LG, visit: http://resources.arcgis.com/content/local-government/about

For a link to Destination Southfield, visit: http://maps.cityofsouthfield.com/destinationsouthfield/

For more information on the GISi Silverlight Template Viewer, contact sales@gisinc.com and try it live: http://maps.cityofsouthfield.com/GISViewer/

For more information on Elections Polling Place Template, visit: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=14290c7441b34ea984ad9310f4cf6435 and try it live: http://maps.cityofsouthfield.com/Apps/Elections/PollingPlaces/

For more information on the Park and Recreation Finder Template, visit: http://www.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=734512384d3b4b849aba2db0e33a80f2 and try it live: http://maps.cityofsouthfield.com/Apps/Recreation/ParkFinder/

GISi HealthCheck for Local Government

This week at GISi we are excited to launch our GIS HealthCheck campaign!  Our clients are dealing with reduced budgets and need to do more with less!  To help our clients maximize their GIS investments, GISi has sprung into action and built a GIS HealthCheck toolkit and SWAT team of consultants that have worked in the GIS sector of local government for years.

The GIS HealthCheck SWAT team objective is much like a medical health check that includes diagnostics (tests), a lifestyle assessment, and prescriptions or recommendations for improvement.  The GIS HealthCheck has similar components: a technical diagnostic of the GIS, an assessment of the business utilization of the GIS, and finally a prescription, or suggestions for the future.

Most of our GIS HealthCheck clients have been able to obtain budget for a GIS project after a prescription has been presented.  We pride our GIS HealthCheck on its ability to make our clients more relevant within their organization and uncover hidden revenue that can be generated from their existing GIS investments.

For more information on the GIS HealthCheck, visit http://www.GISHealthCheck.com

The GISi HealthCheck SWAT team is looking forward to working with our clients.

GISi ArcGIS for Local Government Initiative

As we finish the final touches of GISi’s State & Local Government Business Plan, I couldn’t help but reveal one of our goals as we are planning to launch a campaign this week at the 2011 Esri International User Conference and we already have a success story (Effingham County, GA). One of our goals is to align with Esri’s ArcGIS for Local Government initiatives.  The strategies we have laid out will help our customers successfully implement GIS in cities, counties, and other local authorities.  This is a relatively new concept; the ArcGIS for Local Government includes a series maps and applications built on a common information model that are designed to work together across various departments.  For more information, visit:http://resources.arcgis.com/content/local-government/about

Our objective is to help cities and counties deliver value to their organizations by applying their geographic information to support daily government activities – that is, to run their operations more efficiently, to communicate more effectively, to save money, to engage with their citizens, and to understand, plan, and make improvements in their communities.

The strategies & actions to accomplish this goal are designed to be focused on the local government industry verticals and work more closely with Esri to build complimentary applications that are based on the ArcGIS System and use the ArcGIS for Local Government information model.  We are also focusing on implementation services of the ArcGIS System, services to install, configure, and extend ArcGIS for Local Government (maps and applications, information model, etc.).

The GISi team is looking forward to being a big part of the Esri ArcGIS for Local Government Initiative.

GIS-based Sign Inventory Solution

We are underway building a repeatable solutions framework that complies with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) retroreflectivity mandated standards.  The solution establishes the means to improve the nighttime visibility of traffic signs to promote safety, enhance traffic operations and facility comfort and convenience for all drivers of all ages and abilities.  Benefits include:

  • Asset management
  • Safety
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Tort liability

The GIS-based Sign Inventory Solution is a mobile and web enabled framework built on ESRI ArcGIS Server-based that is a repeatable framework for other cities and counties looking for a system to support the FHWA retroreflectivity standards.  GISi is using the ArcGIS Mobile SDK to develop a mobile sign inventory application to run on mobile data collection devices.  Field users can make changes to the sign inventory at or near real time if cellular connections are available or when field users return from the field and place the unit into a networked docking station (or gain access to the network via a wireless hotspot).  The GIS-based sign inventory system is managed using a Flex API administrative dashboard.  The GIS-based sign inventory system uses the ESRI ArcGIS Server Enterprise Advanced framework. Read more of this post