Gis as a Tool in Local Policy-Making


Geographic Information Systems combine geodata with other types of information and generate maps for better recognition of local problems and more effective solutions. GIS directly supports variety of local activities (land-use and urban planning, economic development, infrastructure, transportation and emergency management, educational planning, tax assessment, environmental monitoring, public information services). Being an expensive technology, GIS needs proper management and organizational support. Uses of GIS and its management were investigated in 15 biggest Polish cities and several minor. Best practices and obstacles for GIS success were presented. Introduction Although governments use a variety of information technologies, the use of the Internet has become a key component of enhanced service delivery. No wonder, after all, almost fifteen years of Internet’s public exercise is enough to avail it in the comprehensive manner. However, government web sites are only façade. If this façade is to work fluently, it has to be based on firm grounds. Those are back-office applications, well-developed in public administrations with ICT long and deep experience. Where experience is short and shallow, back-office infrastructure might not fit to bold visions of e-government. In Poland, strategies of ICT policy and legal regulations determine the standards of Internet use in public information and public services delivery – they don’t refer or refer in a restricted manner to conditions and standards of back-office automation. In the paper, one of the back-office applications is to be discussed. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are more “sophisticated” and less common tools that MIS (Management Information Systems). Thou, presently they are equally important in public management. GIS can also enrich set of services delivered electronically. Information resources (both data and technology) play double role in public administration. Firstly, they are strategic assets, regularly managed institutional resources. Secondly, information and ICT are important tools to manage other institutional resources (human, financial, substantial) and achieve internal and external goals. The paper distinguishes the double role of information and ICT in respect to GIS. Approximately 80% of information collected at the local level of administration is referenced spatially. Therefore GIS technology is the most effective instrument to “capture, manage, and call upon land-related data for solving complex planning and management problems”. The number of local governments that are interested in acquisition of GIS for their jurisdiction is increasing. However that increase is limited by shortage of financial resources, lack of ICT professionals and sufficient knowledge how to use GIS technology in local decision-making. In the paper GIS is discussed as particular technology in reference to other ICT technologies (Management Information Systems, www technologies) exercised in local public management. Subsequently, organizational aspects of technology – institutional arrangements, cooperation with public and private institutions – will be conferred. The cores of the paper are examples of successful GIS implementation and use in selected Polish municipalities. That is supplemented by some reflections on GIS technology as issue of management. Several obstacles to GIS success are considered. 1 The paper is based on research proceeded by the author in the years 1999-2001, on 15 local administrations in the biggest cities (from 115.000 to 795.000 inhabitants) of Poland. 2 M.M. Brown (1996): “An Empirical Assessment of the Hurdles to Geographic Information System Success in Local Government”, State and Local Government Review, No. 3: 194. 3 Ibidem.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Pawlowska2004GisAA, title={Gis as a Tool in Local Policy-Making}, author={Agnieszka Pawlowska}, year={2004} }