A GIS Assessment is often conducted to review an organisation’s existing use of geospatial information and technologies in order to:
- Inventory the current estate (data, software licenses, metadata, skills, stakeholders, standards, processes, etc.);
- Assess the value of the existing estate to the organisation, and
- Identify any outstanding needs to be addressed and the anticipated business benefits of introducing improvements to the geospatial Information Technology base.
GIS Assessments can be conducted to varying degrees of detail depending upon key business drivers, for example an Enterprise Architecture based initiative may be conducted at a high level with a focus on strategic benefits and risk; whilst a business process improvement driven assessment may require much greater detail of data element, toolsets and the creation, maintenance and use of each data set. Assessments can also be initiated to respond to external drivers such as changes in legislation, key standards developments or disruptive technologies and trends.
GIS Strategies are often developed to provide a high level view of how geospatial data, tools and skills should fit within an organisation; the roles that they should play; their relationship to other aspects of the IT estate and a roadmap for achieving the desired state.
GIS Strategies may also be developed at numerous scales from that of a specific project, through departmental strategies, to Enterprise strategies. Strategies are never cast in stone and should be revised periodically to maintain a focus on the drivers, opportunities and pitfalls of the future.
A GIS Strategy should answer the questions: ‘what role should geospatial data and tools play in enabling our organisation to achieve it’s goals?’; ‘how should the governance and funding of geospatial data and tools work in conjunction with other aspects of the IT estate?’; ‘how are we going to leverage geospatial data and tools to benefit our organisation?’; ‘what do we need to do to attain that state?’; ‘what would the costs, benefits and risks of pursuing that course be?’, and ‘how are we going to do it?’