Support for Data on Local Government Initiatives in France
The Indre-et-Loire Committee Council is an elected body in France known as a departmental council. This local body includes 2,900 agents who support residents in areas such as roadways (transport is under regional supervision), education, economics, regional planning, environmental protection, and social action (which consumes the greater part of the departmental budget). In 2018, the Indre-et-Loire Committee Council accomplished its missions over the territory with a budget of approximately 481.9 million euro (roughly US$542,741,299) in operating expenses and over 79 million euro (roughly US$88,973,983) in capital expenditures.
Data and its analysis are key to departmental council work, allowing the council to support community initiatives with accurate data. The development of a communication dashboard in partnership with Esri France has enabled obtaining more precise and reliable data, which assists local leaders in making strategic and informed decisions that benefit residents.
French elected representatives and leaders needed detailed and pertinent analyses of their areas. Mireille Frebout, GIS manager for the Indre-et-Loire Committee Council, explained that it is increasingly necessary for French institutions to stay within budget while continuing to develop and invest in their territory.
A departmental council must have a good idea of how their territory is organized and consider issues such as how services are distributed to residents and how residents travel from one place to another. The council's main goal is to confirm that departmental actions meet the needs of residents, according to Frebout. In addition, long-term prospective analyses must be carried out to plan for future needs and actions in the territory.
To develop an all-around communication tool, the Indre-et-Loire Departmental Council called on Esri France to create a dashboard that is directly linked to data produced by community services. Frebout pointed out that for this dashboard, the data must remain tied to the commercial tools that produce it, including the geographic information system (GIS).
Empowering decision makers
Mireille Frebout, Indre-et-Loire General Council
Develop an all-around communication tool that directly connected to data produced by community services, including the geographic information system (GIS).
Insights for ArcGIS was chosen as the main tool because it can be used by people other than GIS specialists, allowing them to make advanced analyses, create visual elements, then display the results.
When decision-makers need statistics on how the community works, they no longer need to ask. Decision-makers can use Insights to find the answer and act immediately.
At the start of development, Frebout stated that she wanted to change the GIS perspectives and how GIS is used. Until now, it has been thought of only as an administrative tool. "The goal is to change the perception of experienced GIS users in our institution. I would like to see my department go from being a center of resources for expert users to being a service center for all agents or residents who want to use GIS services," explains Frebout.
Frebout chose Insights for ArcGIS as the main tool for developing the council's communication dashboard because it can be used by people other than GIS specialists. Insights lets users make advanced analyses, create visual elements, then display the results. Insights is implemented by the GIS division. Dashboards are mainly distributed to administrators as a tool to assist in decision-making.
Frebout indicates that once the data has been organized and the analyses prepared, the end user can manipulate data through an easy-to-use interface without the need for formal GIS training, according to Frebout.
GIS tools add a supplementary dimension to information collected by the council. Frebout says that they have a number of maps of the territory with data about the demographic evolution, data on education, and sensitive data from social support projects.
The maps created with Insights for ArcGIS, which provide a full snapshot of an ongoing analysis, have proven to be invaluable to the council. "Today, our directors can no longer do without the added value supplied by the analysis we make. This year, we plan to continue this work and also start on the production of dashboards, which we will design to be interactive and represent the main guidelines we want to adopt," declares Frebout.
Insights for ArcGIS continues to have such an impact on the council that Frebout said she wished to see it more widely available and used more extensively. "This tool is necessary to radically change our way of working, and the GIS tools we use will be able to help us," declares Frebout. "When decision-makers need statistics on how our community works, it will no longer be necessary to ask for these statistics. Decision-makers can use Insights to find the answer and act immediately." She adds that Insights also enabled her to propose that decision-makers make their own analyses, without having to call on third parties. This tool allows participants to manage their own data to justify and give reasons for their choices, which saves time for the GIS department.
In addition, Insights enables participants to work on what they do best, according to Frebout. The geomathematician first compiles data and analyzes it, then makes it available on a simple, well-organized dashboard. Next, decision-makers highlight the results and use the data to support their decisions." Agents will most certainly save time, but, more importantly, they will achieve higher-quality data. Instead of looking for rather unreliable data on the Internet, they will find what they need within this system," declares Frebout. "And if they don't find it, we must give them a way to obtain it. We must become a full-service center."
The main return on investment in Insights for ArcGIS is in analysis operations. The geomathematician manages and organizes data but, end users can [conduct] their own analysis. Configuring dashboards through Insights reinforces [the] user’s power.