Adams County, Colorado, Chooses New Direction

Training Guides Early Adoption of ArcInfo 8

Adams County is a large, rural county in Colorado and also takes a sizable bite out of the northeastern part of the Denver metropolitan area. GIS is now being used in three departments in the County: Assessor, Planning, and Public Works. Although the County's GIS is based on Esri technology, the variety of different software being used had grown. ArcInfo 8 represented an opportunity to consolidate the number of packages being used, increase the effectiveness of training, and promote technical cooperation between the departments.

"What I saw was typical of local government agencies that have gradually gravitated toward GIS," says Daniel Elroi, an Esri authorized consultant, who was hired by Adams County, Colorado, to consolidate their GIS training program. Having worked with ArcInfo 8 for the better part of 1999 as a beta tester, Elroi decided to propose a new direction to the County. "Even though ArcInfo 8 was still in prerelease mode, I could see real benefits to the County in consolidating their GIS software," says Elroi.

"I asked the GIS Coordinator for the County if he would be willing to sign up for the prerelease program," recounts Elroi. Keith Hangland, a GIS specialist with the SCT Corporation, is contracted by Adams County to coordinate their GIS efforts. "Daniel demonstrated ArcInfo 8 to me, and I was enthusiastic," says Hangland, "but I suggested that we leave it up to the GIS staff to decide."

Elroi presented ArcInfo 8 to the GIS staff at the County and clearly explained the pros and cons of being an early adopter of new technology. The decision was unanimous: Go with ArcInfo 8 now.

"What the staff liked best," recalls Elroi, "was the fact that a single software product, even a single user interface, could satisfy their needs now, in almost every case."

Having decided to adopt ArcInfo 8, several opportunities and challenges were presented with regard to training. "Instead of teaching each person a little of this and a little of that in whichever software they were using, I could teach one software package," says Elroi.

Through the adoption of innovative training techniques and HTML-based training materials, the training was designed to provide broad concepts with specific applications for each department. Sharing of technical knowledge and experience was encouraged among the staff by having members of different departments go through exercises together using Adams County data.

For more information, contact Keith Hangland about Adams County (tel.: 303-654-6141, e-mail: or Daniel Elroi (tel.: 303-355-4447, e-mail:, Web:

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