by clicking on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level. Return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider on the top right.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues respectively.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
this publication and page.
displays a table of sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays thumbnails of every page in the issue. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse through every available issue.
GCN : March and April 2016
APIMAGES GIS 34 GCN MARCH/APRIL 2016 • GCN.COM reads the local newspaper to see wheth- er the city has been mentioned, then he turns to his iPad and begins looking at how to adjust.” In smart communities like Rancho Cucamonga, city managers routinely use data to make life better for the peo- ple who live and work in them. It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t happen overnight, said Thomas, who added that IT departments must take an inte- grated approach to GIS to fully exploit it. “You used to have a GIS strategy and an IT strategy,” he said. “They shouldn’t be separate anymore.” Whether your agency is a GIS ama- teur or veteran, you can make the com- munities you serve smarter by following these principles: 1. Start with good data. GIS is chang- ing rapidly, but the need for data is constant. “The first thing is to make sure you have the data you need and that it’s of a quality that’s actually useful,” Clark said. “If I were starting out, I would consider managed ser- vices for some of the data creation and management.” 2. Adopt a platform. Esri is the mar- ket leader with its ArcGIS software, but it’s not the only option. Bilderback uses Community Commons, which provides public access to community health data and visualization tools. Other options include Google’s Fusion Tables and GE’s Smallworld, which is designed for com- munications and utilities. Cloud-based solutions offer maximum flexibility and affordability and include Esri’s ArcGIS Online, MangoMap, GIS Cloud, Map- box, CartoDB and OpenGeo Suite. 3. Train analysts. If GIS is in the hands of IT practitioners who lack geospatial expertise, it’s wise to connect them with experts who can help them think like a geospatial analyst. “Too often, an agen- cy throws data at [IT people] and asks them to produce a map, but producing a map isn’t the same as understanding GIS,” Bradley said. “When we run into that, the first thing we do is find the local [GIS software] account rep and get them introduced. Because the more educated they can get on GIS, the more they’ll be able to actually use it.” 4. Find GIS advocates. IT departments can’t build GIS in a vacuum. They need satisfied customers to be evangelists, said Alan Shark, executive director and CEO of the Public Technology Institute. “If you’re frustrated by people not ap- preciating all that can happen with GIS, you need to build champions,” he said. “The way to do that is to show and tell. Don’t wait for people to ask; show them what can be done.” 5. Prioritize. “There are so many op- portunities,” Sander said. “Picking things that are really valuable and that people care about — not just things that government thinks is cool — is a first step toward building support.” 6. Be agile. “You’re never going to check all the boxes or identify all the re- quirements upfront,” Bradley said. “But if you can stand something up, show value and educate folks on what can be done, then the ideas will come and you can evolve.” 7. Compare notes. “There are pockets of innovation around the country — cit- ies, counties and states that may be the first to address a need and exploit it,” Sander said. “And governments are usu- ally really good about sharing with each other. GIS has come a long way; nobody needs to feel like they’re starting from scratch.” 8. Reuse and recycle. Mapping appli- cations’ many data layers makes build- ing them uniquely time- and resource- intensive. The best strategy, therefore, is one that embraces efficiency. Clark rec- ommends a “build it once, use it every- where” approach to GIS development. “The goal is to reduce custom coding, which takes so much longer than reus- ing or recycling other apps,” he said. Thanks to challenges like budget con- straints, stakeholder resistance and data silos, the path to GIS success is rarely easy. But “the value is there,” Thomas said. “Whenever you’re able to make data-based decisions in real time, as you can with GIS, it changes the dynamics of cost savings, efficiencies, produc- tivities and public engagement.... And that’s really exciting.” • Framingham, Mass., officials overhauled their snow removal strategy by dividing the town into snow management zones based on geography and resources. 0416gcn_030-034.indd 34 3/3/16 9:51 AM
January and February 2016