GIS has become a mature technology. Over the past two decades, most cities in the United States have implemented a GIS program. The City of Boynton Beach, Florida is no exception. They began their GIS program in earnest in the year 2000, by partnering with Geographic Technologies Group (GTG) for a GIS Strategic Plan. Since that time the City has been a leader in GIS in South Florida. They have implemented GIS tools for all departments and their GIS efforts led to notoriety by winning the Florida City and County Manager’s Association Award for Innovation.
Cities throughout the United States are experiencing common challenges in regards to GIS. Many of these programs are on the same trajectory. The first wave of GIS staff are beginning to retire. These GIS professionals were around during the initial implementation. They established a GIS program that revolved around the available technology. The way of doing GIS at their cities has become ingrained. However, over the past few years GIS has changed radically. Ease-of-use, repeatability, and sustainability have become the primary focus of the GIS software vendors. A new generation of GIS platforms has been born. To use these tools, organizations have to change the way they are operating. In many cases the organizations need to take a step back and “re-launch” their GIS in a very deliberate way. John McNally, Boynton Beach ITS Manager, saw the changes taking place in the industry and understood that it was time to establish a strategy to leverage the next generation of tools. Mr. McNally points out, “We have had many years of success with GIS but we began to look around and see the new platforms and tools being released by Esri – tools that included ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS for Local Government, and public facing applications like Story Maps. We saw it as a seismic change in the industry and therefore we felt it was time to take a fresh look at what we were doing.” To define a fresh vision for the City’s GIS, Boynton Beach contracted with GTG to create an update to the GIS Strategic Plan.
GTG’s team of GIS strategic planning experts began working with the City by interviewing each department to find out what was working and what other opportunities existed for further GIS use. David Lyons, GTG GIS Director, states; “It is always great working with a successful organization like Boynton Beach. They understand how and why GIS is such a valuable asset. They are eager to use the new platforms from Esri to make the internal and external use of GIS more effective.” Yury Konnikov, Boynton Beach ITS Support Manager, expressed his vision for the future of GIS at the City as follows; “We want to use GIS to support continuous improvement in providing public services. Integration with existing IT systems, task specific software tools for internal users, and tapping actionable data are key priorities for us. The latest generation of GIS is the platform that will allow us to achieve these goals.”
The strategic plan update detailed current successes and a path forward to fully leverage all of the power of the latest Esri Suite. Curt Hinton, President of GTG, is excited about what is going on at Boynton Beach. He states, ‘Boynton Beach was one of our first clients. They have a long track record of GIS excellence. It is very exciting to work with them on this project. Their ITS team gets it. They understand that the status quo is no longer good enough. They have the foresight and vision to take a step back and evaluate where they are and where they want to be. The most exciting part is where they will be in a few years. The GIS update has identified exciting ways that employees and citizens will be using GIS. We have no doubt that the City’s leadership with GIS in the region is in good hands. We are looking forward to working with them to “relaunch” their GIS. They are on the cusp of great things and leading the way in defining what the second generation of GIS will look like.’
For more information on this project contact Curtis Hinton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-344-2169
About the City of Boynton Beach
Boynton Beach, geographically located in the middle of Palm Beach County, is a coastal community that runs parallel to a four mile stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway. Known as “America’s Gateway to the Gulfstream,” Boynton Beach is a full-service municipality, providing virtually every city service and quality of life opportunities for its residents and visitors. To learn more about the City of Boynton Beach, visit www.boynton-beach.org.