Intergovernmental Information Systems Advisory Council


A good example of an organizational structure for GIS implementation can be found in Washington County's GIS plan (Appendix A). It assigns the tasks of implementation to three groups: a policy team, a technical team, and a user group. Each group tackles a set of issues and tasks that must be addressed. For purposes of illustration we will adopt this structure here.

  1. Policy
    A Policy Team provides policy direction and makes organizational and cost allocation recommendations. It also seeks cooperation and participation from all departments and external stakeholders. It provides liaison with those outside of the governmental unit, such as other cities and counties, public utilities, private industry, and regional organizations. It explores possibilities for data, staff, and cost sharing with these organizations and among departments within the unit of government. It makes arrangements for data acquisition. It also plans for the allocation of GIS services among the various interested parties, determining services offered, service policies, priorities, prices, and related issues. Expenditures and contracting issues are also the responsibility of the Policy Team. This group would make final determinations about needs and terms, compose RFPs, select vendors and contractors, and provide contract oversight and approvals. Finally, they should consider the legal aspects of data sharing.

  2. Technical
    A Technical Team addresses the technical aspects of the implementation. It is concerned with GIS design, including hardware and software configurations, staffing, data layers, database design, data access, and data security procedures. Other technical issues considered by the Policy Team include standards for accuracy, precision, and control.

  3. Users
    A User Committee, comprised of all interested parties, identifies user issues and makes recommendations to the Policy and Technical teams. It disseminates information about the GIS implementation and increases potential users' knowledge about GIS.

    Over time the initial GIS Committee would likely resolve itself into policy and technical wings based on the interests, knowledge, and organizational roles of its participants. These wings could be formalized as the Policy and Technical teams. The User Committee would likely be composed of those with whom the GIS Committee has been working successfully to build political support.

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