For geospatial information systems leaders in state government, efficiency and empowerment in decision-making is key.
For Cy Smith, Oregon’s geospatial information officer, that authority came from the state CIO and was codified in 2017, after more than a decade of Smith constantly going to the state CIO for approval on projects and decisions.
“Every time I turned around, I had to go back to the state CIO — to my boss — and say ‘OK, will you sign off on this?,'” Smith says on the first episode of GIS Addressed, a new podcast from StateScoop and the National States Geographic Information Council.
That approval process led Smith to ask the CIO for decision-making authority around geospatial information systems in the state.
Much like in the state government chief information officer world where consolidations of information technology operations and infrastructure are leading to a more empowered state CIO role, the geospatial world also needs that decision-maker, Smith says.
“It ended up being a rubber stamp, so it made sense from his perspective to just say ‘these are decisions that you can make, you’re communicating with the community. This makes perfect sense for you to have this delegated authority,'” Smith says.
The key, Smith says, is having the leeway to make decisions around that data.
“That authority, I think, makes the difference between a state GIO and someone who is simply coordinating activities across the community,” Smith says. “A coordinator is really only relying on good will and enlightened self interest to get things done and a GIO has more authority to do that, so I think thats the key difference the GIO is making decisions on behalf of the enterprise related to important geospatial issues.”
In 2017, that authority went one step further in Oregon the state legislature codified the state GIS council and the state GIO role. In addition, the legislature passed a mandate that all public bodies will share geospatial framework data with each other free of charge, Smith says.
Smith says that mandate elevates the prominence of GIS in state government, and moves it another step forward.
On the podcast:
Things to listen for:
GIS Addressed is StateScoop and the National States Geographic Information Councils new podcast about the role of geographic information systems in government.
In addition to listening to this podcast and other StateScoop podcasts on StateScoop.com , you can now subscribe on iTunes and have episodes delivered directly to your podcasts app on your smartphone when new episodes are released.