Geospatial information systems — and the data they rely on — are key parts of how government takes action on data, two state government GIS experts say on a new episode of GIS Addressed.
“If data is the blood of state government, to me GIS is the bones of state government,” Karen Rogers, an enterprise GIS and data visualization coordinator for the state of Wyoming says on the podcast.
Nearly all geospatial information systems tools and applications rely on raw data to function, but it’s the role of mapping experts within government to ensure that executive leaders have the decision-making power that spatial data presents.
“While all data may not be stored spatially, I would argue that all data does have some sort of spatial element because everything happens somewhere,” Rogers says. “By having a good GIS program, and having people have given knowledge of how GIS works, I think it just really enriches understanding of that data and the patterns and relationships.”
Frank Winters, the current president of the National States Geographic Information Council and New York State’s geographic information officer, says that because of the unique role GIS leaders play in government, collaboration is essential.
“Many of us have heard the term ‘data is the new oil,’ right? One of my colleagues has said, ‘yeah, it’s the new oil, but it’s maybe the crude oil.’” Winters says. “It’s messy. It needs to be refined. We clean that data in a way that removes its caveats, removes its impediments for scaling, so that lots of people can go ahead and [use] it.”
On the podcast:
Things to listen for:
This piece is part of StateScoop’s Special Report on Data & Analytics.
GIS Addressed is a podcast from StateScoop and the National States Geographic Information Council about the role of geographic information systems in government. Catch up by listening to Season 1 (2018), Season 2 (2019) and Season 3 (2020).