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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

Indiana Statewide Orthophotography Program

In 2005, Indiana introduced an ambitious Statewide Orthophotography Program provided a “common operating picture” through a seamless, current, accurate photographic base and control network that “ties” all other framework (base map) and critical infrastructure GIS data sets together. It was the foundation of today’s IndianaMap – a statewide, seamless, highly accurate, locally built and publicly available geographic data infrastructure.

Problem: For homeland security, GIS data need to be accurate, seamless statewide, current, and accessible.
  • The scale of the data must meet the demands of its most demanding users – local government.
  • The Access to Public Records law exception for GIS data presents significant challenges for getting and compiling local GIS data.
  • Differing local government business models present severe challenges for getting and compiling local GIS data.
  • High accuracies are required to support mapping of other framework and critical infrastructure data.
  • A lack of standards, consistency and lack of interoperability present significant technical limitations to integrating disparate data sets to gain seamlessness.
Solution

The 2005 Statewide Orthophotography Project modernized a critical component of the state’s information infrastructure through a high accuracy base map that is seamless statewide, current, and accessible.

The project supports the strategy of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (http://www.fgdc.gov/nsdi/nsdi.html). The same framework data are available to cross-cutting applications (homeland security, emergency management, economic development, environmental, e-911, Flood Insurance Rate Map modernization, Census data modernization, GASB-34, etc.).

Jill Saligoe-Simmel provided overall project design and management from conceptualization through delivery.

  • conceptualized and developed detailed program to support the Indiana Spatial Data Infrastructure and requirements of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security
  • maintained commitments as open public domain imagery, while meeting homeland security requirements
  • garnered community and partner support
  • secured cooperative local, state and federal investment of over $5.5 million for project implementation
  • outreach to funders and policy makers through written and oral presentations
  • provided regular communications with a community of over 350 stakeholders, including local, regional, state and federal government, private sector, universities, utilities, and non-profits through email, website, newsletters, presentations and group meetings
  • recruited and coordinated expert technical advisory team to develop specifications and write the request for proposal (RFP)
  • coordinated expert advisory panel / selection committee
  • reviewed and approved contractor work and deliverables in partnership with IMAGIS Program Director, Jim Stout
  • coordinated the “buy-up” to higher resolution data by individual county emergency management directors
  • coordinated team of experts through Indiana University and Purdue University to support mass data storage archival services and public data delivery, including integration through the IndianaMap portal
  • negotiated inclusion and delivery of the IndianaMap as authoritative imagery in GoogleMaps and Microsoft TeraServer

Urban Orienteering Comes to Indianapolis

picture-31I’m really looking forward to participating in the Indiana Geographic Information Council’s first fund-raising event – Urban Orienteering in Downtown Indianapolis on August 15th.  In fact, I’m taking the whole family!  A couple years ago, TrueNorth Team Navigation (with former IGIC board member, Jeff Coats) presented an IGIC seminar and mini-course at the State Library and it was great fun.  This summer’s event will be kept small, and it may be viewed as a “trial run” for a future city-wide annual event.

Orienteering is a popular international recreational sport – and a perfect fit for Indianapolis.  If you are in the neighborhood, you should definately check it out.  Now, to pick out our team colors…. 🙂

This summer, IGIC is presenting a fun-filled afternoon of Orienteering in downtown Indianapolis. The event marks IGIC’s first official fundraiser, and is open to all IGIC members and their families.

Participants will compete in a TrueNorth Team Navigation! (tm) event. Related to the international sport of Orienteering, Team Navigation! (tm) is an outdoor activity where groups hunt down checkpoints using maps and compasses. Teams solve realistic challenges and improve their group decision-making, problem-solving, listening and communication skills. And at the end of the road – a treasure chest!

This event is limited to 50 teams. Teams can consist of 2-3 people, while each family (any size) can be on one team. An entry into a special prize drawing will be given for every $10 in donations the team contributes. Teams are asked to collect $50 in donations to help support IGIC, but any donation will be appreciated!

Registration is free. We hope to see you there!