Case Study: Geographic Information System (GIS) as Client Server System for US Government

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[. . .] As per the size of the data, the system has four servers (An Oracle database server, Two ArcIMS servers, as well as, a general file server). GIS in this case is very big because Vandenberg is spread on an area of 100,000 acres and consists of 42 miles of Pacific Ocean alongside. Apart from that, it harbors 329 different kinds of wildlife, which includes 14 endangered species (as cited in Peters, 2008).

A group of researchers conducted research on GIS implementation in 2006 at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The yearly budget of Vandenberg for GIS was only $599,000. Only four GIS experts provided GIS intelligence and other support services for the entire system. The GIS users were interviewed to give productivity metrics. From these interviews, it was concluded that GIS had productivity of $2,299,000. This was then subtracted from budget and it was established that the associated productivity benefit had been $1,700, 000 (as cited in Peters, 2008).

The benefits were assessed by inquiring the moderate, light as well as heavy users, some seven basic queries ranging from the time they spend daily using the GIS software and how much GIS has increased productivity. There had been 300 daily users at least. The GIS valuation had been calculated for every project with an identical formula (as cited in Peters, 2008):

GIS application valuation (in U.S. dollars)=N (*) T (*) W

Wherein:

N=number of times GOS application had been used (i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, yearly)

T=approximate time saved via GIS usage

W=workforce salary (together with benefits for civilian workers)

The users had been requested to be careful in their calculations. Site plan analysis was one project where GIS was all set to save money. During the fiscal year of 2005, some 240 site plan projects made use of GIS software which valued GIS to $52,694.4. Apart from that, a GIS constructed an emergency response vehicle model worth $7,310.4. One of the biggest valuations was based on a fire occurring in 2004. Vandenberg calculated the cost of cleaning of 282 acres of land amounted nearly $1 million. GIS showed the cause of fire and showed that 73 acres of burned wreckage was on Vandenberg property. The fee for cleaning up was lessened to $200,000 and installation fees of $800,000 were saved. During the last five years, the utilization of GIS had saved tens of thousands of dollars on environmental cleaning (as cited in Peters, 2008).

GIS was kept close with respect to installation restoration program. Vandenberg had made their very own GIS analytical software called VIRPGIS. This software package consists of analysis applications and data viewing which supports installation restoration program. The software takes data from present groundwater monitoring data, environmental restoration information system and common pictures. This single application saved contractors from getting hired and subsequently saved $840,840. These are a number of other GIS programs as well, which saved tens of thousands of dollars on big projects (as cited in Peters, 2008).

Iowa GIS ROI Study

At least $35 million has been spent by the seventy five counties in Iowa for building their GIS programs in the last 20 years and now for maintenance purposes spend $3-$4 million. In August 2008, 13 counties didn't have a GIS system, 11 counties were making inroads with GIS, while 75 had GIS up and running. According to ROI conducted, there had been three levels of benefits. The first level benefited the counties administration and the second benefited GIS usage within counties; while the third was collaboration and cooperation with counties and state agencies (Iowa Giglierano, 2009).

It was noted that the first level had least GIS usage and least benefits in return. The initial costs for counties had been from $200,000 to $500,000 for centerlines, aerial, GPS control and parcel line conversion. The GIS software costs $10,000 to $15,000 and the web mapping server costs $10,000. The salary of a GIS coordinator was also taken in consideration. Apart from that software and hardware maintenance cost $50,000 to $100,000 annually. It was deemed that initial cost of GIS was about $1,384,577 with relevant costs up to $2,423,193 for 2.85% yearly ROI (Iowa Giglierano, 2009).

The county offices were using the second level more productively. GIS was hailed for secondary road maintenance, emergency management, public health, planning and zoning, ambulance service, E911, human services and conservation. For a large county, the benefit exceeds $1 million / year, while for small counties, the benefit exceeds $100,000. This means that investment translates into a highly productive application. Level three was reached as counties were working with federal government, cities, universities and state (Iowa Giglierano, 2009).

Lidar was also flown all over the state and it cost nearly $4.3 million. Lidar is used exclusively for ground modeling purposes. With the help of Lidars, alligators resting in a pond and golfers playing gold can be seen. Now, Lidar is being used by level three counties and working in collaboration with other counties. Lidar is used for surveying and designing, road maintenance, wind farms, floodplain analysis and other applications, which have conserved $20,000 to $140,000 / year (Iowa Giglierano, 2009).

A server is being shared, which saves the counties $10,000 yearly. Counties are also preserving $20,000 a year by taking part in program known as Imagery for the Nation (IFTN) which provides images. The net savings can be anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 a year for these counties. The county must be having a GIS coordinator, county staff and take part in IFTN for $5,000 a year, which gives color imagery once in three years. This results in $5,000 to $6,000 in actual costs for every county each year. At the third level, the annual ROI increases up to 188.13% (Iowa Giglierano, 2009).

This research concludes that companies not making use of GIS won't be reaping the rewards GIS provides. Apart from that, selling GIS data doesn't affect the ROI either. ROI study has concluded that using GIS on a wide basis results in a positive ROI. Sharing costs results in larger ROI benefits. The study also found out that employing GIS for financial stability and economic turnaround worked wonders as well (Iowa Giglierano, 2009).

GIS ROI for the County of Baltimore

In Maryland, the Baltimore County has an enterprise GIS which is used by all county agencies and provides services for a fee to the masses. The county has a large budget for GIS; hence the Office of Information Technology (OIT) as well as Office of Budget and Finance commenced an ROI study which was conducted by Dewberry amid September of 2006 and May of 2007. In this research, Dewberry made use of present GIS layers, current benefits, notable clients, revenue and product values. This reports demonstrated that 119,377 hours had been set aside along with $4,052,895 in cash. Apart from that, an amount of $606,626 was saved by other programs by GIS, including in-house work done rather than by contractors. According to the report, GIS has contributed to some serious return on investment (Freeman, 2008).

The biggest benefactors were the Department of Environmental Protection and Management (DEPRM), Office of Planning (OP) and Department of Public Works (DPW). DEPRM made use of GIS to instigate many environmental endeavors. DEPRM is tightly convoluted by the mandate by which they have to use GIS. In addition, DPW employs GIS for asset management, public complaints and engineering design. Meanwhile, the OP employs GIS for land use zoning, historic preservation and community planning. Reports shows that GIS saved costs, but at the same time it had more recommendations to hone the system even further. The proposal included hiring GIS expert, Program Manager and pooling resources (Sterba, 2007). Lastly, one suggestion was to elevate the country's emphasis on GIS for spatial analysis (Poplin et al., 2007).

In the end

A model for predicting GIS ROI was devised by The Public Technology Institute (PTI). This model consisted of the cost of each component as well as the potential advantages. One advantage is the probability of higher census counts. Population counts can be increased by 5% with a detailed GIS. For now it doesn't look like much, but imagine a place where 100,000 residents receive $200 / capita in federal and state grants, the 5% increase can translate into $1 million yearly. Apart from that, GIS can possibly enhance real estate tax collection. GIS can search through properties and recognize those which have been missed out. This can translate into a rise of real estate tax collection by upto one percent annually (Leidner, 2007).

Another advantage is the faster send-off of crime analysis and emergency services. In case GIS has the right address and routing information, it can send an emergency vehicle in a few minutes. A faster response can certainly reduce deaths by nearly 10% in critical health situations such as a heart attack. Police can become more effective and productive with a more accurate and precise crime analysis report. The city of New York had the highest murder… [END OF PREVIEW]

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