Google for Gov – Solving Problems for Government with the Google Maps Platform
Synopsis: Spatial imaging and data are vital for proper planning and policy making. To get the best data and imagery, governments should work with the Google Map Platform and Google Maps Premier Partner AppGeo. By having the most accurate data available, governments will be better prepared to solve the problems they face.
AppGeo is using our expertise in GIS to analyze and improve how governments function. This webinar (recorded on January 22, 2020) brings together Greg Grube, GIS Elections Specialist for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, and Aaron Doucett, Sales Engineer and GIS analyst from AppGeo to discuss the problem-solving potential of Google Maps Platform.
Why Google Maps Platform?
Doucett: “At Google, they have been investing in their mapping program for 15 years now. They’ve gone to some pretty interesting lengths to add depth to their platform and datasets. This includes street view imagery on 10 million miles of roadway. They’ve gone beyond the road now to underwater and hiking the deserts and mountaintops. At the core they have a strong foundation of people who love this stuff, and that really shows in the end product.”
Google Maps Platform boasts several advantages over comparable products. The main edge is that Google Maps Platform has the backing of Google more broadly; bringing investment, data support, and customer familiarity. This investment from Google makes Google Maps Platform the premier mapping data platform. With a highly scalable server infrastructure, and a massive user base, Google Maps Platform can handle any task. Additionally, the platform is updated millions of times per day to ensure accuracy and reflect real time changes. Just as important but easy to overlook is the familiarity most people have with Google Maps and Google products more broadly. This familiarity reduces training costs and duplicate work, while increasing end-user accessibility.
Use Cases for Google Maps Platform
Doucett: “Let’s think about some of the services that are on-the-go for the public sector. We might have health and environmental services doing inspections of buildings and restaurants all across town. Public housing and assistance which might have at-home check-ins or inspections. The engineering and DPW departments, who are managing assets all over town, and might have a fleet of equipment, say snow plows for example. Mass transit, bussing, or even 3-1-1 services, not to mention police and fire departments. These are all agencies that rely on getting to where they need to be with efficiency and speed, but also keeping track of quite a lot of assets that are on the move on a daily basis. Google is a powerful platform to not only visualize that but have the data to back it up afterward and help in your decision making and planning process.”
Governments are relied upon for a huge variety of services spread across their municipalities. Coordinating these services individually is already a monumental task, never mind managing these different services together. Mapping and the visualization of data plays a huge part in efficient resource allocation. Only with accurate, up-to-date information can governments attempt to provide the services their constituents need when they need them. The planning benefits for government are nearly limitless, with use cases ranging from dynamic bus routing and live traffic conditions, to facility mapping and more.
Additionally, Google Maps Platform contains a host of exclusive tools which help both government employees and constituents get the most out of government services. As part of the broader Google ecosystem, Google Maps Platform has real time language translation, autocomplete APIs, and location services to save time, increase accessibility, and provide the best experience possible for all users.
Polling Place Locator
Grube: “If you’re looking at a paper map there’s a lot more guesswork because you can’t zoom into this kind of level… Us having the Google maps piece integrated into our system has been really helpful because when something goes wrong we can point it out and find out why. It hopefully becomes obvious based on the map…the problems become more obvious than if it was in a spreadsheet or something like that.”
Locating polling places is one of the most important services that governments can provide to their constituents. However, determining what districts a given address fits into is complicated, and simply putting a map out is not always enough for constituents to find their polling place. Google Maps Platform can help solve these problems. By using both Google Maps and satellite views to accurately map where addresses are, governments can be sure that they are districting correctly. Additionally, Google is equipped to handle the information contained within even huge statewide data sets. By providing both spatial and standard data Google Maps Platform both reduces errors and makes mistakes easy to correct. Additionally, with Google Maps Platform, you can provide on the ground visualizations to make finding a specific location or polling place even easier for the end user. As mentioned before, Google Maps Platform also pairs seamlessly with other Google products, such as autocomplete or translation capabilities, increasing accessibility and user comfort.
Getting the most out of Google Maps Platform takes experience and a little bit of familiarity with the platform. Premier partners like AppGeo bring years of experience to the table, allowing clients to get the most out of their applications and web services.