State GIS Centers

Most other states, including those across New England, have a state GIS Center. They contain lessons for Connecticut.

New England State GIS Centers

Name State Agency or University Approximate Budget Full Time Staff
Maine Office of GIS MEGIS State Agency $1,400,000 5
MassGIS (Bureau of Geographic Information) MassGIS State Agency $2,000,000 15.8
New Hampshire GRANIT GRANIT University $350,000 2.75
Rhode Island Geographic Information System RIGIS University $75,000 0.8
Vermont Center for Geographic Information VCGI State Agency $1,000,000 8 + university

Studies and Reports

MassGIS Impacts and Stories

Bottom Line: The extensive webpage contains (1) examples of things made possible by MassGISlike a Transit-Oriented Development Explorer, (2) describes who uses imagery base mapping, who downloads and uses GIS data and when, and (3) describes examples of Action-Impactful Projects.

Sample Uses of Standardized Parcel Data (VT)

Bottom Line: There are many uses of Vermont’s digital parcels including an E911 Viewer, tax mapping, community development, emergency planning and response, regional and municipal planning and more.

Vermont Statewide Digital Parcels Return on Investment (ROI) Study

Bottom Line: Digital parcels are useful for more than taxation including economic development, public safety, stormwater management and others. ROI of parcel investment estimated to be between 1.58 and 4.55.

NY Statewide Digital Orthoimagery Program and Its Return on InvestmentĀ 

Bottom Line: They found that even in a study with limited coverage, the program provides extensive net benefits in the tens of millions of dollars.

Successful GIS Centers

On GIS Day 2020, Molly Schar, Executive Director at the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC) discussed characteristics of states with the strongest GIS coordination. Here is a summary from her presentation.

  • Have a Geographic Information Officer who reports to a Chief Information Officer or Governor and has
    • Influence over state/federal policies
    • Input to budget/financial matters
    • Control over technology at the state enterprise level
    • Control over statewide GIS data standards
    • Coordination of activities across levels of government within state government
  • Have an Enterprise GIS Program
    • Authorized by statute
    • Funded through general funds
    • Has the ability to accept soft money (like grants and fees-for-service)
    • Professional staff
    • Manages a clearinghouse
    • Has a Strategic Plan that is less than 5 years old
    • Office and active GIS coordinating council that involves relevant stakeholders
  • Advocate for statutes that will provide program creation, funding sustainability, and support coordination with local governments
  • Find the Funding through statute and legislation, fee-for-service, chargeback, grants, defined assessment on state agencies
  • Identify and win strong champions and executive management support
  • Create a strong governance structure that is collaborative and statutorily defined
  • Build strong and lasting relationships
  • Be visible and listen to your community to understand their continuously evolving needs and priorities
    • Work with local governments
    • Develop and implement an outreach plan
    • Promote collaboration
    • Focus on relationships with those that are motivated and get the big picture
    • Hire the best staff and share vision