Communicating Value of GIS to Policy-Makers

Over the past several years, I have been involved in leading the Indiana Geographic Information Council and developing a statewide spatial data infrastructure, known today as the IndianaMap. Let’s face it, GIS is a complex technology, and that can be intimidating.  A statewide (or national for that matter) spatial data infrastructure requires adherence to data and technology standards, strong collaborations, coordinated funding, and more.

In 2006, the IndianaMap Return on Investment (RIO) Study proved the value of the IndianaMap as an investment in Indiana.

The challenge was, how best to communicate those results? The report was presented in an unconventional “newspaper” format directed at the target audience – primarily legislators and other elected officials. The format provided the advantages of attention-grabbing headlines; topical organization (for example, transportation, economic development, and environment), and photo-documented case studies. The paper was printed on full-sized news-stock and folded like a traditional newspaper, with room for a mailing address on the reverse 1/2 fold.

IndianaMapNews-singlepagelayout

The ROI analysis identified current GIS spending, duplication of effort, needs, benefits, financial and non-financial return. The objective of the project was to substantiate adequate funding (or establish cost sharing mechanisms) to support and enable the operation. The results of the ROI demonstrate that over $1.7 billion in Indiana projects and programs are supported by the IndianaMap, with 90% of respondents indicating that the IndianaMap was essential to their project. A 34:1 ROI in less than three years was documented. The entire study was supplemented by additional qualitative use-benefits, testimonials, and case studies.

The Economic Benefits of the IndianaMap return on investment study was conducted by Saligoe-Simmel, LLC and the Indiana Geographic Information Council (IGIC). The study was supported by a grant from the Federal Geographic Data Committee Cooperative Agreements Program Grant Agreement Number: 07HQAG0042. Download the PDF.

Designed & Illustrated by Matt Kelm

Top 10 Sectors Using GIS in Indiana

This study was conducted to determine how mapping departments within local and state government, education, non-profits and private industry use geographic information systems map data every day. In 2008, 312 respondents told how they use GIS.

Here are the top ten use-areas among the public and private sector:

01 Transportation

For trains, planes and automobiles there are numerous government agencies, surveying and engineering firms, and community organizations who use the IndianaMap for proposed transportation routes, environmental assessments, infrastructure management, airport and roadway improvements, maintenance, accident locations, new facilities, emergency response and evacuation, state and federal reporting requirements, and system-wide transportation management

02 Utilities

Public and private utilities use the IndianaMap in their customer billing systems, routing meter-reading and inspections, load-testing, infrastructure planning and improvement, “call before you dig” locations, and emergency response

03 Natural Resources

Public, private, and non-profit organizations use the IndianaMap on a daily basis to protect endangered species and habitat, manage natural resource exploration and exploitation, protect the public from natural hazards such as flooding and earthquakes, manage wildlife for hunting and fishing, maintain parks and facilities, and manage forests, fish and wildlife for the benefit of all Hoosiers

04 Economic Development

We may not know when the next major corporation is looking at Indiana for their new home, but with the IndianaMap they can quickly see why the Hoosier state stands out; Indiana’s economic developers use the IndianaMap to locate sites for potential development, plan tax incentive zones, clear regulatory requirements, help existing businesses, and attract new business for a growing economy

05 Engineering/Surveying

Whether used for preliminary survey work, evaluating impacts to home owners, or managing construction phases, the IndianaMap saves hundreds of thousands of dollars when new developments are planned, bridges built, levees are constructed, pipelines are routed, and much, much more

06 Planning/Land Use

Communities and planning organizations use the IndianaMap to visualize land use patterns and trends, zoning, plan developments, acquire state and federal grants, and improve quality of life factors as part of “smart growth” initiatives; developers, assessors, and real estate professionals use it to look at current the landscape and changes over time

07 Infrastructure

From bridges to telecommunications, communities use the IndianaMap to assess and maintain their infrastructure, including Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) reporting requirements

08 Environmental

Government agencies entrusted with the responsibility of protecting our environment use the IndianaMap to track and manage regulated facilities and on-the-ground hazards, improve the environment through remediation, conservation, and preservation, and to communicate with citizens; private and non-profit organizations use the same consistent map information for conservation and preservation, and to assure environmental compliance within areas of new development, existing sites, and areas of concern

09 Wastewater/Stormwater

From flooding, to community growth, to modernizing outdated sewer overflows and protecting public health, utilities and communities use the IndianaMap to see where the water goes and manage the impact of that flow

10 Public Safety

The IndianaMap saves lives—it helps quickly get emergency responders to where they need to go; as an interoperable communications tool it is used for community preparedness, examining locations of shelters, warning sirens, population concentrations, critical infrastructure, and local resources; it is used by police, fire, hospital, health departments, Indiana National Guard, homeland security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Civil Air Patrol, the Red Cross, and others for all phases of disaster response and recovery; it is used daily as police patrol our streets and fight crime; it is used by corrections personnel to track geographic-restrictions and compliance of sex and violent offenders.

For more information, view the complete report (3.4MB PDF).

Indiana’s GIS Law

Years in the making, Indiana passes first comprehensive GIS law. It defines data exchange agreements, identifies framework data as essential elements of a statewide base map, emphasizes open access, establishes the first Geographic Information Officer as an appointee of the governor, establishes (but does not fund) a GIS fund, and recognizes the role of state universities and the not-for-profit Indiana Geographic Information Council.

Sponsored by Sen David Ford and Rep. Scott Reske.

SECTION 2. IC 4-23-7.3 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2007]:

 Chapter 7.3. Indiana GIS Mapping Standards

Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, “data exchange agreement” means an agreement concerning the exchange of any GIS data or framework data.

Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, “electronic map” has the meaning set forth in IC 5-14-3-2(d).

Sec. 3. (a) As used in this chapter, “framework data” means common electronic map information for a geographic area.
(b) The term includes the following:

(1) Digital orthophotography.
(2) Digital cadastre.
(3) Public land survey system.
(4) Elevation.
(5) Geodetic control.
(6) Governmental boundary units.
(7) Water features.
(8) Addresses.
(9) Streets.

Sec. 4. As used in this chapter, “fund” refers to the Indiana mapping data and standards fund established by section 19 of this chapter.

Sec. 5. As used in this chapter, “GIS” refers to geographic information systems.

Sec. 6. As used in this chapter, “IGIC” refers to the nonprofit entity known as the Indiana Geographic Information Council, or its successor organization.

Sec. 7. As used in this chapter, “political subdivision” has the meaning set forth in IC 36-1-2-13.

Sec. 8. As used in this chapter, “state agency” has the meaning set forth in IC 4-13-1-1.

Sec. 9. As used in this chapter, “state data center” refers to the state data center established under IC 4-23-7.1.

Sec. 10. As used in this chapter, “state GIS officer” refers to the individual appointed under section 13 of this chapter.

Sec. 11. As used in this chapter, “statewide base map” means an electronic map of Indiana consisting of framework data for Indiana.

Sec. 12. As used in this chapter, “statewide data integration plan” means a plan:

(1) to integrate GIS data and framework data developed and maintained by different units of the federal, state, and local government into statewide coverage of framework data; and
(2) that includes details for:

(A) an inventory of existing data;
(B) stakeholder data requirements;
(C) identification of data stewards;
(D) data standards and schema, costs, work flow, data transfer mechanisms, update frequency, and maintenance; and
(E) identification of appropriate data sharing policies and mechanisms to facilitate intergovernmental data exchange, such as data exchange agreements.

Sec. 13. (a) The governor shall appoint an individual as the state GIS officer.
(b) The individual appointed by the governor must be an experienced geography and mapping professional who has:

(1) extensive knowledge of the principles, practices, terminology, and trends in GIS, spatial data, analysis, and related technology; and
(2) experience in administration, project management, policy development, coordination of services, and planning.

Sec. 14. The state GIS officer shall do the following:

(1) Function as the chief officer for GIS matters for state agencies.
(2) Review and either veto or adopt both the:

(A) state’s GIS data standards; and
(B) statewide data integration plan; as recommended by the IGIC. If either of the recommendations is vetoed, the state GIS officer shall return the recommendation to the IGIC with a message announcing the veto and stating the reasons for the veto. If the IGIC ceases to exist or refuses to make the recommendations listed in this subsection, the state GIS officer may develop and adopt state GIS data standards and a statewide data integration plan. The standards and the plan adopted under this subsection must promote interoperability and open use of data with various GIS software, applications, computer hardware, and computer operating systems.

(3) Act as the administrator of:

(A) the state standards and policies concerning GIS data and framework data; and
(B) the statewide data integration plan.

(4) Enforce the state GIS data standards and execute the statewide data integration plan adopted under subdivision (2) through the use of:

(A) GIS policies developed for state agencies; and
(B) data exchange agreements involving an entity other than a state agency.

(5) Coordinate the state data center’s duties under this chapter.
(6) Act as the state’s representative for:

(A) requesting grants available for the acquisition or enhancement of GIS resources; and
(B) preparing funding proposals for grants to enhance coordination and implementation of GIS.

(7) Review and approve, in accordance with the statewide data integration plan, the procurement of GIS goods and services involving the state data center or a state agency.
(8) Cooperate with the United States Board on Geographic Names established by P.L.80-242 by serving as the chair of a committee formed with the IGIC as the state names authority for Indiana.
(9) Publish a biennial report. The report must include the status and metrics on the progress of the statewide data integration plan.
(10) Represent the state’s interest to federal agencies regarding the National Spatial Data Infrastructure.
(11) Serve as the state’s primary point of contact for communications and discussions with federal agencies regarding framework data, spatial data exchanges, cost leveraging opportunities, spatial data standards, and other GIS related issues.
(12) Facilitate GIS data cooperation between units of the federal, state, and local governments.
(13) Promote the development and maintenance of statewide GIS data and framework data layers associated with a statewide base map.
(14) Approve and maintain data exchange agreements to which the state data center or a state agency is a party to increase the amount and quality of GIS data and framework data available to the state.
(15) Use personnel made available from state educational institutions to provide technical support to the:

(A) state GIS officer in carrying out the officer’s duties under this chapter; and
(B) IGIC.

Sec. 15. The publication and access requirements of this chapter do not apply to data that would otherwise be exempt from public disclosure under IC 5-14-3-4(b)(19).

Sec. 16. With money from the fund, the state GIS officer, through the data center, the IGIC, and the other organizations, shall do the following:

(1) Ensure that there are adequate depositories of all GIS data and framework data obtained by a state agency.
(2) Acquire, publish, store, and distribute GIS data and framework data through the computer gateway administered under IC 4-13.1-2-2(a)(5) by the office of technology and through the state data center. The state GIS officer may also provide access through the IGIC and other entities as directed by the state GIS officer.
(3) Integrate GIS data and framework data developed and maintained by state agencies and political subdivisions into the statewide base map.
(4) Maintain a state historical archive of GIS data, framework data, and electronic maps.
(5) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, provide public access to GIS data and framework data in locations throughout Indiana.
(6) Provide assistance to state agencies and political subdivisions regarding public access to GIS data and framework data so that information is available to the public while confidentiality is protected for certain data from electronic maps.
(7) Develop and maintain statewide framework data layers associated with a statewide base map or electronic map.
(8) Publish and distribute the state GIS data standards and the statewide data integration plan adopted under section 14(2) of this chapter.
(9) Subject to section 20 of this chapter, make GIS data, framework data, and electronic maps available for use by the Indiana Business Research Center.

 

Sec. 17. The state GIS officer shall coordinate with state educational institutions to do the following:

(1) Promote formal GIS education opportunities for full-time and part-time students.
(2) Provide informal GIS learning opportunities through a series of seminars and noncredit concentrated classes provided throughout Indiana.
(3) Coordinate research assets for the benefit of Indiana by maintaining inventories of the universities’ academic and technical GIS experts, data and technology resources as provided by the universities, and research interests for collaboration to pursue research grant opportunities.
(4) Implement an outreach network to Indiana political subdivisions to enhance communication and data sharing among state government, political subdivisions, and the business community.

Sec. 18. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a state educational institution may not bid on contracts to provide photogrametry services or framework layer data conversion services for the benefit of a state agency or political subdivision. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the purchase of any of the following by a state agency or political subdivision from a state educational institution:

(1) GIS data or framework data.
(2) Data previously created by the state educational institution as part of the educational, research, or service mission of the state educational institution.

(b) If there is a lack of qualified bids on contracts referred to in subsection (a) by entities other than state educational institutions, the state agency or political subdivision may, with the advice of the state GIS officer, solicit bids from state educational institutions.

Sec. 19. (a) The Indiana mapping data and standards fund is established for the following purposes:

(1) Funding GIS grants.
(2) Administering this chapter.

(b) The fund consists of the following:

(1) Appropriations made to the fund by the general assembly.
(2) Gifts, grants, or other money received by the state for GIS purposes.

(c) The state GIS officer shall administer the fund.     (d) The expenses of administering the fund shall be paid from money in the fund.     (e) The treasurer of state shall invest the money in the fund not currently needed to meet the obligations of the fund in the same manner as other public money may be invested. Interest that accrues from these investments shall be deposited in the fund.     (f) Money in the fund at the end of a state fiscal year does not revert to the state general fund.

Sec. 20. (a) Except as provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d), a political subdivision maintains the right to control the sale, exchange, and distribution of any GIS data or framework data provided by the political subdivision to the state through a data exchange agreement entered into under this chapter.
(b) A political subdivision may agree, through a provision in a data exchange agreement, to allow the sale, exchange, or distribution of GIS data or framework data provided to the state.
(c) Subsection (a) does not apply to data that is otherwise required by state or federal law to be provided by a political subdivision to the state or federal government.
(d) As a condition in a data exchange agreement for providing state GIS data or framework data to a political subdivision, the state GIS officer may require the political subdivision to follow the state GIS data standards and the statewide data integration plan when the political subdivision makes use of the GIS data or framework data as provided by the state.

Sec. 21. (a) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to permit the IGIC, the state GIS officer, or the state data center to recommend or restrict standards for GIS hardware or software that a proprietary vendor provides to any political subdivision.
(b) It is the intent of the general assembly in enacting this chapter to promote high technology enterprise and employment within Indiana. To the extent practicable, the “Buy Indiana Presumption” required by Executive Order 05-05, shall be observed with respect to all procurement decisions related to this chapter, so long as Executive Order 05-05 is in effect.

Sec. 22. The publication and access requirements of this chapter do not supersede IC 5-14-3.