Operating Local Government at the Speed of GIS

Amy Walters is a senior product manager in the Finance & Tax group of Avenu Insights & Analytics. For much of her career she has worked to deliver products leveraging GIS technology. Here she explains the relevance of this to Avenu and its importance and value to customers.

How is GIS data uniquely suited to government?

State and local government operations are often tied to some location – buildings, schools, roads, parks and other infrastructure. Leveraging this data within a Geographic Information System (GIS) is an efficient way to manage day to day tasks, help deliver the services expected, and make better decisions. Users can visualize trends related to payment histories and valuations of residential or commercial buildings within neighborhoods. At the most basic level, a government needs information about a business location in order to issue a license and collect its fee. There are many examples of how using GIS for economic development, infrastructure, planning and other routine functions within a jurisdiction improves efficiency and outcomes.

What’s the status of GIS among governments?

Most governments are making use of GIS in some capacity. I’ve seen research showing that at least 80 percent of data in state and local government has a spatial component.  At Avenu we are helping agencies leverage their geospatial data to help with their workflow and more efficiently support day to day operations.

How significant is the technical barrier?

Not significant at all, really. Governments already have lot of the base data and the majority of them already have some GIS in place. GIS classes are offered starting in high school now, and we are seeing business intelligence and data analytics as hot trends. In parallel we are going to continue to see how geography and GIS are critical components of business intelligence. We all rely on apps like Google Maps to get us to where we need to be daily. It should be just as easy for our customers to leverage our solutions to make it easier to do their jobs.

How is Avenu enabling greater GIS adoption?

Avenu has a partnership with Esri and most of our customers are already Esri users.  Across our business we are working to geo-enable our revenue enhancement and administrative solutions. This will allow our government customers to increase the efficiency of many of their operations and help drive decisions. It is one thing to be able to see property boundaries and property values on a map, and we want it to add value to day-to-day activities. Avenu will help jurisdictions and constituents leverage our revenue and administrative data with geospatial data to better understand things like what is driving the tax rate and how property values compare to your neighbor’s or your neighboring jurisdiction.

What are the benefits to residents?

The beauty of GIS is how it can tell a story and help us see how multiple layers connect all in the context of where you are or an area that you are interested in. With this, governments offer more engagement to citizens and more access to services and data. Residents can call or log on to a government system to report accidents or crimes with pinpoint accuracy and get accurate response times. They can see future development proposals, identify parcel boundaries, track permits, and review tax maps clearly and in context to their neighborhood, school, or workplace. It also allows greater efficiency and engagement at the state and local jurisdiction level.