Using GIS in Government Guides

Liam Oakwood


Here are two guides for using GIS in government.

Free Guide for Using GIS in Government

The media team at GovLoop has developed a free GIS guide aimed in particular towards those working in the public sector.  The Mapping Revolution: Incorporating Geographic Information Systems in Government is a free PDF.  

Book cover with a faded map showing blue building foot prints and a faded yellow circle representing a buffer.

The thirty-one page document includes information about:

  • Case studies and applications of GIS in the public sector
  • Lessons learned and best practices for GIS adoption
  • Examples how GIS is creating an open and transparent government
  • Ways GIS is powering civic engagement initiatives
  • Thoughts from Esri President, Jack Dangermond

The guide contains case studies reviewing applications of GIS at the U.S. Census Bureau,, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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The various ArcGIS software and online applications are heavily represented in the guide so it’s more useful for those wanting to understand the application of GIS from a specific vendor viewpoint, i.e. what Esri has to offer.  

Unfortunately, no open source GIS solutions are discussed.

In addition to providing examples of GIS in use, the guide offers pointers sprinkled through the PDF for those wanting to develop GIS in their organizations with sections like “Happy Hour Small Talk Bullet Points” and “GIS 30 Second elevator pitch to your boss or peers”.  

There is also a side section on “Five ways to build your GIS business case”.

GovLoop bills itself as “an online community where more than 60,000 public sector professionals connect to discuss ways to improve government.” GovLoop offers other GIS resources including interviews, infographics, and industry perspectives.

Guide: GIS and strategic management in local government

CRCpress has just released a new GIS book “Strategic GIS Planning and Management in Local Government”. 

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The latest release of GIS professional David Holdstock, this book draws on his twenty-five years of experience in the  GIS industry and offers a comprehensive vision of GIS integration in local governments.

David is the chief executive officer of Geographic Technologies Incorporated, was GIS manager for one of the world’s leading transportation engineering companies in New York, and  has held a position as GIS director for a research institute at North Carolina State University. He has written many articles and delivered hundreds of workshops, seminars, and discussions on the topic.

Book cover showing the outline of a head with pastel covered puzzle pieces

This breadth of knowledge is apparent in the depth and breadth of book.

Steve Hill, from the City of Dayton, Ohio, had the following to say about it: “Throughout the pages of Strategic GIS Planning and Management in Local Government, Holdstock emphasizes the value of strategic planning and offers a straightforward and systematic methodology.

He delivers an ‘A to Z’ manual of sorts, with insider knowledge and a distinctive understanding of the principles required for GIS planning, designing, implementing and sustaining.

This book is a worthy read for every GIS professional, no matter the current state of his or her particular GIS or their level of experience.

The book includes topics as diverse as business plans, GIS strategic Planning Components, Case Studies from local governments around the United States, GIS governance models, a timeline of GIS development, and how to sell the importance of GIS to local government.

It offers a formula for evaluating, benchmarking and implementing enterprise GIS, as well as explaining the challenges, barriers, and pitfalls of GIS implementation.

It discusses strategies for developing a GIS vision, and the importance of GIS governance models in local government. The guide gives a thoughtful approach to quantifying and qualifying the benefits of GIS technology that is useful for knowledge transfer, while also showcasing a practical and understandable of managing and succeeding with GIS setups.

The book also includes a step-by-step guide to building business cases for GIS in local government, including case studies from across the United States.

Strategic GIS Planning and Management in Local Government
by David A. Holdstock
CRC Press (September 28, 2016), 280 pages.
ISBN-13: 978-1466556508 ~ ISBN-10: 1466556501


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About the author
Liam Oakwood
Liam Oakwood is a freelance citizen scientist and blogger, specializing in ecology, geography, and food sovereignty. From Liam: I enjoy photography, music, climbing, forest adventures, and growing things. I'm currently on the cusp of major changes after forming an Irish folk band with friends and getting ready to explore a whole world of possibilities. Some of my previous writing can be found at Wilderness Witness.