Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are used extensively in Washington to support planning and operation decisions within the commercial sector and all levels of government. Natural resource issues, population growth and budget limitations are having a profound effect on our ability to meet the geographic information needs of our citizenry.
The Washington State Geographic Information Council (WAGIC) will be hosting a two day workshop on October 12 and 13 at Snoqualmie Summit to explore ways to improve our ability to respond to these needs. The WAGIC workshop is intended to bring business leaders and GIS managers together to set a new course of action for GIS in Washington. I would like to personally invite you to participate in this very important event that will help shape GIS policy in Washington for the next five years. You have been identified as an important stakeholder who can make a valuable contribution to the strategic plan.
GIS systems are expensive to operate and maintain because they rely heavily on geographic data from maps and other sources. Special equipment is needed to automate the data and to produce products from the systems. Large amounts of data are transmitted across expensive telecommunication networks. Data acquisition is the most significant cost component of these geographic information systems. Although the technology is expensive, the value of information derived from GIS to support decision making and daily operations is enormous.
This workshop comes at a crucial time in our state. We are challenged to solve some of the most complex issues like water allocation, salmon recovery and growth management. GIS practitioners are learning about forming partnerships and cooperating in data creation and management. Resource managers are creating teams that cross government, citizen, commercial and geographic boundaries to solve problems that affect the very reason we chose to live in this state. In other applications, GIS improves the operational efficiency of organizations.
Regardless of the application, we must work together to improve the quality of data and the use of this important technology. The strategic plan objectives will address:
- Raising awareness of geographic information investments to legislative and executive officials and the relevance of this technology to addressing important policy matters
- The role of geographic information in addressing major quality-of-life issues important to our citizens
- The important governmental business processes at both the local and state level which would benefit from cooperative geographic information system initiatives
- Identification of the benefits that can accrue to government, business and citizens from a more coordinated approach
- The ongoing role and expertise of WAGIC in promoting cost-effective programs of coordination and partnerships for data development and maintenance
The workshop prospectus, preliminary agenda, information survey and registration form are attached for your response. Please email (preferred) or fax the survey response to Bruce Westcott the strategic planning consultant. Bruces email address is email@example.com and his fax number is (802) 223-7402. Bruce can be reached at (802) 223-7074. You may fax (preferred) the registration form to Carol Pendleton, Department of Information Services, at (360) 902-2982 or email the registration information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Carol can be reached at (360) 902-3508. Upon receipt of the registration form, you will be provided with additional information about accommodations.
Please feel free to contact me at (360) 902-1546 if you want to know more about the WAGIC strategic planning workshop on October 12 and 13.
Larry J. Sugarbaker, Chair
Washington State Geographic Information Council