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This paper outlines the King County GIS (KCGIS) Center’s three funding methods to provide enterprise services for King County, Washington.
Enterprise city or county GIS management usually provides operational efficiency and cost sharing benefits. Maturing local government GIS operations often consolidate core enterprise GIS services in a central organization.
Some local governments fund enterprise GIS operations from a single central source. This approach is simple, with low administrative overhead and strong end-user support.
Many enterprise GIS operations however are expected to obtain funding from the departments they serve. This approach is not simple. End-users may question the value of GIS services and the fairness of the cost allocation model.
KCGIS Center is an internal service fund with three ‘business lines.’ Each business line focuses on the unique value provided and fair cost allocation.
KCGIS Center’s core service is Enterprise Operations, including data and application server management, DBA, metadata, enterprise applications, help-desk, and communications. Service levels, costs, and funding allocations are determined annually, based on a GIS benefits calculation. Because these services are ‘fixed-cost,’ existing users are motivated to encourage other departments to become new GIS users.
Several county departments have individual GIS units. KCGIS Center staffs the GIS operation for one large department. Staff levels and funding are agreed annually on a ‘negotiated level of service’ basis. Resulting operational efficiency and enhanced professional standards provide customer value.
KCGIS Center also provides on-demand GIS Client Services to meet the unique or unanticipated needs of county business units. Services include training, programming, mapping, data development, and short-term staffing. These services are provided on a full cost recovery basis. KCGIS Center staff productivity provides value. Business units control their GIS costs, using as little or as much service needed, without on going staff costs.
The KCGIS approach may benefit other city and county enterprise GIS operations when considering options for long-term funding methods.