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ESRI book highlights role of GIS in governance

Redlands, California, USA—January 15, 2009—‘GIS for Decision Support and Public Policy Making’, a new book from ESRI Press, describes how GIS technology can help streamline these operations and deliver smart solutions that save time and money. The book also shows how GIS can be integrated into many other aspects of governing and policy making such as planning for residential development, revitalising neighborhoods, and updating emergency management plans.

Chapters cover topics such as how to use GIS for making budget-related decisions, reaching compromises, allocating resources, supporting policies, making decisions under pressure and on the fly, and involving the public in the decision-making process.

The book provides 27 examples of how government organisations used GIS software to analyse and map data, collect information from the field, and publish geographic information services on the Web. GIS was used, for example, to help find the best locations for fire stations in Denver, Colorado; prioritize waterline repairs and construction in Houston, Texas; track code compliance problems in Pasadena, California; analyze natural disaster risk areas in British Columbia, Canada; and map immunization data in Utah to improve health care for children.

“Oftentimes, community leaders are recipients of the by-products of GIS such as reports, maps, and analysis,” said the book’s coauthor Christopher Thomas, government industry manager at ESRI. “The book shows how GIS directly supports management and elected officials in developing and implementing decisions and public policy—not as a by-product but rather as an integral part of the process.”

GIS analysts and other professionals representing the government organizations provided the case studies, which Thomas and coauthor Nancy Humenik-Sappington, a writer for ESRI, incorporated into the book. These case studies describe the projects in detail, the GIS software needed, and the return on investment (ROI).