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Keeping Spatial Data Meaningful
Continued...

Minimizing the Total Cost of Ownership

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), a familiar concept in t he field of information technology, was developed by the GartnerGroup in the 1980s to identify the complete and realistic costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of a computer system over its useful life. GartnerGroup suggested that the initial cost of hardware and software accounts for only about 20 percent of the amount typically spent over the life of the machine. Indirect costs—updates, support, and related system downtime—make up the remaining 80 percent.

This principle can also be applied to maintaining spatial data. Careful design and planning for the data maintenance portion of a GIS system have enormous potential for saving money in the long term. Well-maintained data will be used, will earn the trust of those who use it, and will be used more frequently as time goes by. Accurately maintained data will ensure that the investment in both application software and data continues to pay off. After all, the world's best looking map is only as good as the data behind it.

For more information, contact

Mark Harley
Geographic Data Technology, Inc.
11 Lafayette Street
Lebanon, New Hampshire 03766-1445
Tel.: 800-331-7881
E-mail: mark_harley@gdt1.com
Web: www.gartner.com

About the Author

Mark Harley received a degree in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. He is the principal engineer and director of consultative services for Geographic Data Technology, Inc., in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He has worked in the GIS field for more than 10 years and currently specializes in the design, installation, tuning, and long-term maintenance of enterprise ArcSDE databases.

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