GIS: assessing your needs and choosing a system

L. L. Wiggins, S. P. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


A geographic information system (GIS) uses a computer to link a database management system to a number of spatially distributed features that can be represented on a map. The ability of various types of automated systems to handle maps and other geographic information has advanced rapidly in the last decade so that planning agencies can now get the capabilities they need at a cost they can afford. Now that GIS technology has developed to a point where it is cheaper, more powerful, and more widely available, many jurisdictions are in the process of studying or implementing GIS. In the first sections of the report, we discuss the potential benefits of GIS and provide the reader with examples to highlight those benefits specific to planning. Then we discuss the benefits of conducting an assessment of user needs before selecting and implementing a GIS. The last sections of the report detail the steps in designing and conducting the assessment. The final section describes the products that should result from the assessment process. Appendices to the report provide a glossary of terms used in GIS, some sample interview guides, a sample RFP for needs assessment services, and a list of professional organizations that can be of assistance. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReport - American Planning Association, Planning Advisory Service
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development

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