Track: Forestry

Chris Frye
U.S. Forest Service
1720 Peachtree Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30367

Telephone: 404-347-2402
Fax: 404-347-7528
E-mail: cfrye2@r8.fs.fed.us

David Paige, Roy Mead

Democratizing GIS: Are We There Yet?  Paper Text

Over the past several years we have used the term "democratization" to describe the point at which a technology has been fully adopted by the people in the organization and used in their day-to-day work. This paper describes the GIS democratization strategy employed in the Southern Region of the U.S. Forest Service. Put simply, our strategy of democratizing GIS is focused on delivering GIS information to our customers to support collaborative problem solving in a timely manner. It is centered on providing GIS information and capability to people who want it, when they want it. In this paper, we describe our strategy of democratizing GIS as illustrated by the development of technology applications. This development uses a common approach where business process knowledge, technology, development guidelines, standards, and user skills are brought together in the proper sequences. After developing a standard GIS database covering over 12 million acres and a suite of user applications, we now present lessons learned in applying our strategy over the past eight years in the Southern Region. This paper is directed toward organizations that have moved beyond typical startup activities of building databases and provides suggestions on how to approach and measure GIS democratization.

Copyright 1997 Environmental Systems Research Institute