In this portfolio entry, we highlight four recent strategic planning projects completed by AppGeo for four different states: Georgia, Indiana, Montana, and Utah.
More than ever, every state needs a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) strategic plan to meet state needs as diverse as NG911, broadband, environmental planning, public health, economic development, and transportation. Probably most important, a state GIS strategic plan creates alignment among stakeholders – state agencies, county and municipal governments, federal agencies, as well as the private sector. A state GIS strategic plan addresses critical concerns such as sustainable funding, setting priorities, and providing a framework for action.
Since its founding in 1991, AppGeo has been pioneering GIS strategic planning at the municipal and state levels. So far, 30 states have chosen to work with AppGeo on their statewide strategic and business plans. Over the years, AppGeo has helped these states revisit and revise their plans to keep their strategy up to date or to go into more detail on strategic objectives, such as governance or Return on Investment studies for specific data layers. In recognition of its experience, the FGDC hired AppGeo to author state GIS Strategic and Business Planning Guidelines, which were put to use by more than 30 states during the USGS CAP program (Cooperative Agreement Program) from approximately 2005 to 2009.
Some of these strategic planning projects were spurred on by efforts to reinvigorate Geospatial Advisory Councils and leadership. Some strategic planning projects were efforts to remove barriers to progress. In all cases, the states recognized that an outside team with strategic planning expertise could help improve coordination among stakeholders, come up with new ideas for effective communications and strategies for data governance and exchange, establish the ROI of planned investments to justify funding, and most importantly, provide a new perspective and objective recommendations.
In all cases, AppGeo provided targeted strategic planning tailored to the state. In all cases, AppGeo used a variety of strategic planning methods, including: documentation of current conditions, practices, policies, and activity; workshops and facilitated sessions with small and large groups of stakeholders and GIS leaders; Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis; review of legislation and policy; evaluation of data holdings and data programs; and review of GIS program organizational structure, goals and objectives, among other activities.