Mirror, Mirror

A self examination for GIS managers

Do you want to ensure your GIS survives any imminent or future reorganization of your organization? Adam Carnow assembled the following questions to help you identify areas for improvement (and perhaps even growth) that can make your GIS an indispensable part of your organization’s operation. Carnow, a GIS professional for more than 21 years, is an account executive in Esri’s southeast regional office in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he helps local governments use GIS more effectively. These questions address not only your processes and goals but also what you and others in the organization think about your GIS program.

What do you think about your GIS program?

Can you justify your GIS budget?

Are you prepared for change?

Are you proactive or reactive?

Are you innovative?

What plans do you have for your GIS?

How do you measure success for your GIS?

Are you proud of your GIS?

What do others think about your GIS program?

Is there a bottleneck in your organization for access to GIS?

Do you have management support?

Is your GIS a mission critical enterprise IT system?

Does your annual GIS budget include funding for software, hardware, training, services, and data?

Are you using the latest technology?

Are you using shapefiles?

Are you using ArcGIS 10.1? Have you made plans to move to 10.2?

Do you have IMS or Web ADF applications in production? If so, when will they be replaced?

Are you using ArcGIS Online?

Do you provide easy-to-use, focused apps available on any device?

Do you prioritize Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) applications over custom solutions?

Do you favor solutions you configure over those you code?

Have you implemented GIS across all five business patterns (e.g., apps that help manage data, transform data into actionable information, get information in and out of the field, disseminate knowledge where and when its needed, and engage constituents?

Are you participating in the Community Maps program?

Are you using ArcGIS for Local Government?

Are you using Community Analyst?

Do you follow IT, GIS and Esri best practices in your implementation of GIS?

How do you run your GIS program?

Do you know your customer’s needs?

Do you run your GIS like it is a private business, eliminating competition, increasing your customer base by exceeding their expectations, and generating a profit?

Is your GIS integrated with enterprise IT systems?

Do you sell your GIS to your management?

To be an effective enterprise-wide GIS, it should be woven into the fabric of daily operations. It should be the core technology of a business. If it’s not, something needs to be fixed. Create a system everyone needs and can use. Make GIS an indispensible technology platform for your organization.

Adam Carnow can be reached at or followed on Twitter at @SpatialAce.