Drive to Excellence: State Agency GIS Coordination By David Arbeit and Fred Logman, Office of Geographic and Demographic Analysis
Who Coordinates GIS for the State? Did you know that no agency has responsibility for coordinating GIS within State government? This may soon change. On January 10, the State Drive to Excellence Sub-Cabinet voted to make State Government Coordination a Drive to Excellence initiative. This elevates the visibility of both GIS and its coordination to the highest levels within the State’s Executive Branch.
Not a New Idea Since the early 1990s, a number of organizations have actively worked to improve GIS coordination within the state. A Foundation for Coordinated GIS: Minnesota’s Spatial Data Infrastructure, released in 2004, and the Compass Points Retreat held in June 2007, recently emphasized the need to formalize GIS coordination responsibilities, building on the roles that the Land Management Information Center (LMIC) and others have played to fill the void. Minnesota would be in good company. This year, the nation’s organization of state Chief Information Officers ranked GIS as the third most important information technology application in state government. Many states are now working towards formalizing responsibility for GIS coordination.
Project’s Purpose The purpose of this Drive to Excellence project is to develop, recommend and implement an organizational, operational and governance framework to coordinate GIS as an "enterprise" activity of State government. The project focuses on enhancing the capacity for GIS coordination within state government. Activities related to coordination of the broader statewide GIS community are beyond scope of this initiative, but are nevertheless considered important. (See the article on Non-State Agency Stakeholder Input.) Project components include:
An "Organizational Transformation." This focuses on creating an organizational capacity for GIS coordination within state government. Anticipated outcomes include establishing an organization with a state GIS coordination mission, with responsibilities for setting policies, standards, and priorities for enterprise GIS investments, and serving as the state’s point of contact for GIS.
A "Functional Transformation." This concerns operational aspects of GIS within state government. The existing and potential uses of GIS to support the functional programs and activities of state agencies will be analyzed, with the intent of identifying opportunities for improved efficiencies, effectiveness, responsiveness and reliability.
Potential Project Benefits When completed, the Drive to Excellence project can result in important benefits for state government and for the state’s GIS community:
Improved coordination of State government GIS
Identification of opportunities for enterprise investments
Improved standardization of GIS technology
Expanded access to GIS resources across State government
Improved customer service
Improved interactions with State’s partners
Not Just About State Government The GCGI’s Strategic Planning Committee has been working on statewide GIS coordination for the past few years. The Drive to Excellence initiative focuses on the State government component. Yet state government operates within a context that involves partners and customers throughout the state. To complement the Drive project, the Strategic Planning Committee is developing a strategy for ensuring stakeholder involvement. See the accompanying article for details.
Timeline It is the goal of this project to make recommendations about organizational change by June 2008 and other recommendations to the Drive to Excellence Sub-Cabinet by the fall of 2008, in time to inform budget and legislative initiatives for the 2009 legislative session and FY2010/11 biennial budget.