Local and State Government

Does Anyone Care That There is ROI for Using GIS?

Is there a quantifiable return on investment (ROI) for using GIS in state and local government?

It’s a question GIS professionals and professionals that use GIS are asked at budget time. It’s at this time we tend to get asked the most for examples. There are similar statements made by government executives and elected officials who approach Esri staff at professional association events. It usually goes something like this…

“I know we could be doing more with GIS.”

Or “Do you know of anyone else who is really innovating using GIS?”

And our personal favorite, “How can I get my GIS people to do more?”

Conversely, GIS practitioners will ask…

“How can I get my elected officials and management to pay more attention to GIS?”

Sometimes you wonder if anyone is really communicating to one another. To overcome this, our colleagues at the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) and our team set out to pull together a collection of quantified, non-anecdotal success stories on the ROI we see from implementing GIS. The result is our new book Measuring Up: The Business Case for GIS, Volume 3. This collection of all-new, updated, real-world stories covers how GIS helps organizations in saving time, saving money, avoiding cost, increasing accuracy, improving productivity, increasing efficiency, automating workflows, managing resources, and aiding in budgeting. The governments highlighted demonstrate innovative approaches achieved when GIS is viewed as mission critical.

Get inspired today.

About the authors

Christopher Thomas, Director of Government Markets on the Industry Solutions team at Esri team focused on state and local disciplines. He has over 30 years of experience working in and with national, state and local governments implementing technology. As a strategist and subject matter expert, Christopher works to identify emerging trends GIS can support.


Shannon Valdizon is the Marketing Lead for the State and Local Government Industry Solutions team at Esri. She has worked at Esri for the past decade with a team of subject matter experts and government strategists to identify emerging trends in government across the globe. These trends are translated into best practices for using geographic information systems (GIS) to help governments move towards a digital transformation. Shannon’s work has supported major initiatives with professional associations including National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, International City/County Management Association, National Governors Association, and more. Her most recent work includes initiatives like Smart Communities, Esri Maps for Public Policy, and addressing social equity which are all efforts dedicated to improving government efficiencies and more importantly the lives of citizens.

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