Geography has ascended to an increasingly important role in today’s organizations. Geography enables spatial thinking and establishes the framework that GPS and GIS tools use to mold location into patterns for business critical consumption. The pervasiveness of geographic information however, also allows sticky interaction with core business processes at many organizational levels, as it embeds location into daily operations and workflows.
As a result, simultaneous initiatives to harness the power of GIS surface and can propagate a grassroots approach to an enterprise GIS. This bottoms-up initiative can quickly spin an enterprise GIS’s true evolution into a tangled web, particularly when the ownership and maintenance of now conjoined geographic and enterprise resources are the responsibility of different departments. At this point, classifying the stage of an enterprise GIS can be overwhelming, considering many organizations maintain pockets of scattered GIS resources. However, going back to the basic components can help tremendously.
First reassess the people, data, technology, and the processes. Next, scale them to fit the need. For example, the application supports thousands of people; the data is in the terabytes, in multiple locations and hooked into core business applications. Coupling the aforementioned with a strategic alignment to both internal \ external forces of organizational and technological changes, should give a good indication to general health and current direction of the enterprise GIS. It is important to remember that serving GIS in an enterprise capacity requires heightened governance and fundamental adherence to GIS principles and standards within the context of a spatial data infrastructure.