Experts give geography lesson
- By Natasha Haubold
- Apr 19, 2000
In the future all government information will incorporate geographic information
systems, industry experts said during a roundtable discussion at FOSE 2000
in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.
The advancement of technology has enabled GIS technology to be incorporated
in a variety of commercial application products and in turn allowed for
more agencies to use GIS information without implementing advanced GIS infrastructures,
said Jack Dangermond, president of Environmental Systems Research Institute
"This has allowed people to plan, design and better maintain their built-in
environment," Dangermond said. "GIS cuts across all lines. Everyone is interested
in the same geography."
GIS enables people to work more efficiently and can save agencies money,
according to industry experts. By routing shipments and vehicles to avoid
traffic, agencies could save more than 18 percent in transportation costs,
The city of Fairfax, Va., is using GIS technology to combine tax assessment
information, land records, addresses, permits and zoning into an easily
understood format. Customers and residents can view 3-D maps for matters
ranging from trash collection routes to fire and rescue station locations.
If GIS is going to continue to be widely used among government agencies,
several changes will need to take place, experts said. The changes include:
* Standardizing data sets so that maps will contain the same symbols
and so information will be stored in the same format. Standardization will
allow maps and information from various sources to be combined.
* Having a network of providers working together to share information
and in turn produce more accurate data.
* Using a unified framework — such as the Internet — to disseminate
* Providing leadership and organization to combine technology and supervise
* Developing new technology that will allow GIS technology to be easily
incorporated into commercial applications and easily understood and utilized
by those not familiar with GIS technology.
"We need to make it so GIS is understood by not only those who are experts
at analyzing GIS data, but by everyone," Dangermond said.