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Thread: High tech or paper clips and white out?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    High tech or paper clips and white out?

    I am not sure where to put this one... but here we go.

    As time goes on, more and more communities are getting away from paper files and individual databases and going to a more centralized full property geo-database. Right now we use a program called Equilzer for one part, a dos system called HTE for another part, and several Microsoft Access Databases for other things.

    Does your community have one centralized property geo-database that combines assessors info, building permits and plans, zoning, codes, planning site plans and info, engineering, GIS, utilities, and any other information that you might need.

    Furthermore, do you use any other technology such as wireless laptops, PDAs, or other computer type device in the field to access the database?

    The reason I ask this is because we have several different databases that are needed for my job, and with GIS, we have to get ‘creative’ to get things into map form at times. Our GIS info is uploaded from Eqilizer 5-6 times a year, so that is no more than 3 months old at any one time. But, I have spoken with my supervisor, and mentioned that consolidating our systems into a centralized database with several different modules would save a lot of time and money, and could make things much easier throughout city hall.
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    We use two products that are tightly integrated, Pathway (GEAC) for LIS and Mapit (Infomaster) for GIS. We are also looking at a sleek viewing tool that would probably be needed to give you the clear view you describe. The product we are leaning towards is called MasterPlan, also by Infomaster.

    One problem your bosses will have with your suggestion is that the data planners rely on is also used by many other activity centres in a typical local government organisation. Solving your problem then becomes much bigger when examined from an organoisation wide perspective.

    We don't have a single central database and I think such a thing is not feasible and would create as many new problems as it solves. Your real problem seems to be one of integration, IMO. Is it reasonable or efficient for the information you need for a library card (name and address for example) to be dependant or linked to GIS/LIS information? Do you want your CRM system to be dependant on the same data base as your document registration system? The system inefficiencies would adversely affect all but the smallest organisations.

    My Council is part of a syndicate that undertook an international search for an off the shelf, comprehensive, IT system for local government. It doesn't exist. We have settled for an integrated solution, using best of breed software, cobbled together by a third party, who in turn is our primary contractor. We recently went live with stage 1 of the project - as predicted there are many teething problems, most of which are glossed over in this article. I'm led to believe that this is the closest you can get to an integrated system for all local government services, at present.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Does your community have one centralized property geo-database that combines assessors info, building permits and plans, zoning, codes, planning site plans and info, engineering, GIS, utilities, and any other information that you might need.

    Furthermore, do you use any other technology such as wireless laptops, PDAs, or other computer type device in the field to access the database?
    My county does not have a centralized property geo-database as you describe, although we dream about such things. B-)

    Our GIS is limited to county-wide parcel data (developed by an outside contractor), and any public domain data available from the state or federal governments.

    Wireless gadgets are virtually useless in our county if your work brings you outside of the two major state route corridors that have consistant wireless coverage.
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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Rem

    We don't have a single central database and I think such a thing is not feasible and would create as many new problems as it solves.
    If it is set up correctly, I do not see why it would not be feasible. I might be missing something here, but if it was set up to have one centralized database, and than separate departments and individuals would have editing access to different fields, and instead of a spread sheet format, it would come up in a file/tab format based on each department. For example lets take building plan information, that information is of value to a planner, a zoning officer, a tax assessor, fire and police, utilities, building inspector, and possibly a few others. But each of these people may also need extra information, and some of that information needs to be accessed by others. I am thinking along the lines that much of the information in a city is shared from one department to another, and with a centralized database, things would tend to be updated more often, more accurate, and would ease the workload and data storage requirements of an IT staff.
    Trusting a DC politician with your money is like trusting a hungry dog with a raw steak.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Our county has a lot of the assessor, land use, zoning, geohazars, topographic maps, aerial photos, etc accessible through our ArcMap program. Permits are not since we don't have building or zoning permitting, but do have floodplain and septic permits. Slowly we are moving towards keeping more of our infomation electronically stored, if only because we don't have any more room for filing cabinets. We are also looking into permitting applicants to apply for applications and permits online.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Hee hee hee... Did he really ask that? File cabinets. It's all paper, in file cabinets in different offices and different buildings....
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