One dataset – many uses

On the weekend I was out walking my dog through the local parks in my area. This always gives me a lot of time to think. On Sunday morning – as I was strolling aimlessly through the park – I started thinking about the park dataset that my local council maintains and how many uses that one dataset would have. 

When we talk about Enterprise GIS, we’re talking about having your GIS integrated throughout the entire organisation so that anyone can use spatial data. They can simply visualise this data or they can create their own information products to support their specific workflows. This is most valuable when there are a large number of users that require access to centrally managed data and tools and its surprising how quickly the number of users can grow for any dataset.

Coming back to my ‘park dataset’ – I started thinking about how many use cases there would be for this information – across my local council.

It didn’t take long to come up with quite a list of uses so I’ve broken them down based on the five patterns of GIS.

Each of these use cases – or ideas – is supported by being able to access and use the parks dataset.

Planning and Analysis

  • Contract management. What’s the area of grass that needs cutting across our parks?
  • Equality of access. With the changing population distribution in my local government boundary how do I ensure that everyone has equal access to parks?
  • Rezoning/land use management.
  • Works management. How can we improve productivity and access to open spaces through optimised scheduling between parks?

Field Mobility

  • Works management. Provide a mobile app for maintenance workers showing the location of jobs that need action and to electronically record maintenance issues  in the field.
  • Parks enforcement. Allow park wardens to capture offences showing parks and areas with the most offences.

Operational Awareness

  • Contract management. Reporting on maintenance work undertaken and planned.
  • Park utilisation. Which of the footy ovals or cricket pitches are in demand?
  • Availability. See what events  are planned where and when.

Data Management

  • Capture as-built feedback on the parks dataset from field workers. Remove duplication of effort and increase accuracy of data through allowing data entry from the people actually working in the park.

Constituent Engagement

  • Dog park finder. How can I find the nearest off-leash dog park? (Or even better how can I find a nearby dog park with the best social ratings and coffee?)
  • Footy oval booking system.
  • Healthy and active. Where are the local playgrounds or outdoor fitness equipment stations?
  • Bushfire safer places. Provide a map of designated bushfire safer places.
  • Real estate agents. Provide a report to the home buyer on nearby parks.

For me this really highlights the value of Enterprise GIS – making spatial data available across the organisation increases the value of that data and enables people to do things in new and more productive ways. The ROI quickly builds up as more people are given the ability to use GIS – and to access this location based information

Looking across other industries you can see the same patterns emerge. How many uses are there for a store locations dataset for a retailer? Or how many different parts of a health insurer could use the service providers dataset to improve their workflows?

– Gary.