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New Virtual Campus Course from Dr. Roger Tomlinson

Planning for a GIS Provides a Road Map for Successful Implementations

With the explosive growth of GIS in the last decade, many companies have taken the plunge and invested in the software, hardware, and professional staff needed to implement a GIS in their organizations. Many more are considering it and will go ahead with their plans in the near future. Unfortunately, some organizations that have gone down the GIS road have found the process frustrating and the benefits elusive.

GIS evangelists frequently tout the cost savings, improvements in productivity and service, and market-share increases that GIS can bring Dr. Roger Tomlinsonto an organization. Why, then, have some organizations found it difficult to realize these benefits? One culprit is often to blame—poor planning.

The success of any organization's GIS implementation depends on thoughtful planning. Without this planning, a GIS implementation can easily run over budget and still not provide a measurable benefit to the organization. GIS managers and coordinators face several challenges. Securing support for the project, assessing needs, designing data and technology, creating useful information products, and verifying the benefits derived from the products are only some of the planning issues surrounding GIS.

The Esri Virtual Campus offers a course that "maps" the planning process and provides roadside assistance for those wanting to merge onto the GIS highway. The course, Planning for a GIS, is authored by Dr. Roger Tomlinson, the well-known GIS planning and implementation expert who coined the term "geographic information system."

"My formula for a successful GIS is to focus on strategic Business needs and know, going into it, what you want to get out of your GIS," says Dr. Tomlinson. "This course provides the tools to follow this formula in a flexible environment where busy managers can control when and where they learn."

The skills and methods of GIS planning and management presented in the course are based on Dr. Tomlinson's extensive real-world experience. Widely recognized as "the father of GIS," Dr. Tomlinson originated and directed the development of the Canada Geographic Information System, the first GIS in the world, in the early 1960s. His 35 years of working with GIS worldwide have resulted in a clear understanding of what makes GIS work and how to make implementations successful.

The course teaches a step-by-step planning methodology that will guide organizations from the early stages of preplanning to preparing an implementation strategy. Students learn how to develop a planning proposal and get approval from senior management. They also learn how to determine an organization's GIS requirements, focus on those requirements during the planning process, and use the requirements to assess the size and scope of the system needed.

Since Planning for a GIS takes a generic approach to GIS planning, no specific software is required. The course consists of nine modules and the first module, GIS Planning Basics, is free. Planning for a GIS is appropriate for GIS managers at both large and small organizations.

Learn more about Esri Training and Education.

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