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March 3, 2010 > Digital Map Products contracted for CityGIS services

Digital Map Products contracted for CityGIS services

By Shavon Walker

Union City Council approved a contract with Digital Map Products on February 23. Digital Map Products facilitates data-management by training staff who are not Geographic Information System (GIS) specialists. This feature appealed strongly to the GIS workgroup, which reviewed the city's GIS needs as per parameters specified by the City Manager. The product does not require hardware or software installation and is completely Web-based.

The GIS workgroup considered several different services, including contract and in-house versions. To decide which product would be best for the city, there were six criteria - pros and cons of in-house vs. outsource solutions; advantages and disadvantages of single vs. multiple databases; training requirements; how information would be updated and what layers are required by staff; demands on city staff and ease of management; and fiscal impact.

Caltrans uses Digital Map Products' CityGIS which includes aerial photography, parcel, street and hazard data. Data can be layered with access to each one or more groups, such as the public, city staff and other organizations. Layers would include redevelopment areas or special districts, fire stations or fire plug locations, trees, light poles or traffic signals, crime information, zoning and general plan data. CityGIS will also enable the city to create its own filters and aerial photographs. Once these types of data are entered, they can be cross-referenced so that information about the city itself can be seen. For example, a link can be researched between light poles, crime information, and redevelopment areas.

The annual cost for CityGIS is $33,588. This is less than the averaged yearly GIS expenditure of $34,145 paid to the Southern Alameda County geographic Information Systems Authority (SACGISA), Union City's previous GIS system-provider, during the period 2000-2008.

The city's Capital Improvement Projects budget has adequate funds for the GIS Project as a result of appropriations from the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Fund, the Clean Water Fund, the Gas Tax Fund and Measure B Fund. Monies have also been set aside to cover the one-year notice of termination of membership of SACGISA. Product-acquisition and implementation costs of $36,947 will be covered by transfers from the Measure B and RDA Funds.

The focus is to create a Geographical Information System the public can access directly for information without the need to channel enquiries through city staff. This will contain costs and reduce demands on the city's resources.

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