strategic plan

Continuing our relationship with Tigard

Continuing our long collaboration with the City of Tigard, we have recently begun a new consultation project focused on helping the City envision and define their next generation GIS architecture. The goal is to equip Tigard for growing geospatial demands while simplifying the upkeep and maintenance of their resources so that they are easily maintainable by current staff.
That’s no small task, when you think about it. Location data is growing in importance for both government and industry, as well as individuals. GIS used to be it’s own separate fiefdom within most organizations. Something that was a secondary concern compared to other IT needs. But now GIS data is being being folded into everyday workflows and applications.

So how do we simplify a process that seems to be ever-growing in complexity? For starters, we do our homework. We look closely at the City’s current architecture and the workflows it supports; we look at the maintenance effort and procedures require to sustain the current system; we review the needs of different stakeholder and end user groups. With information gathered from these activities, we are able to accurately characterize the current state of operations, complete with areas of risk, and areas where changes, expansions, and improvements are most desired. We can then combine some industry research and peer review information with our own experience working with many other organizations to optimize their geospatial systems to develop a responsive set of recommendations for Tigard’s next generation GIS platform.

Some of the factors to be addressed through completion of this project include:

  • overall system resiliency,
  • increasing geospatial capabilities of - and integration with - business systems,
  • expansion of the mobile workforce,
  • expansion of cloud infrastructure and desktop virtualization,
  • simplified design and publishing of focused geospatial applications, and
  • simplified promotion of development resources to production environment.

The time to make a plan is now

emergency-response21-223491Reality: Emergencies happen

Contemplating worst case scenarios and one’s potential responses is clearly a source of amusement for many. But to public servants who shoulder the responsibility of providing critical services to citizens in a time of crisis, considering the ramifications of different types of emergencies can be a very sobering thing indeed.

Earthquakes, hazardous chemicals, disrupted transportation infrastructure, criminal sabotage, housebound staff, islands of isolation…little creativity is required to conjure visions of circumstances within which maintaining basic services and providing vital support to citizens can abruptly change from daily and routine to supremely challenging.

Preparation is key.

Preparing to Prepare

washWe are working with Washington County, Oregon to help assess their needs and optimize their resources so they are better equipped to plan responses to different types of emergencies. The project involves a broad group of stakeholders that extends across many County departments.

We’ll start by examining individual and shared needs and concerns to help define the ideal type of information needed in a variety of emergencies. Next, we’ll explore the best way to provide that information so that stakeholders may individually and collectively improve their planning and preparation for responding in times of crisis.

After we’ve spoken to shareholders, defined the necessary information, and explored options for sharing that information when the resources we take for granted on a daily basis have been compromised, we’ll provide recommended solutions and help the County in implementing them.

Common Functions

The necessary information needed by this particular set of shareholders will certainly be unique, but in our experience with helping organizations prepare for emergencies, we’ve found that the solutions start with many commonalities:

  • They need to address geographic, place-based questions.
  • They must cross functional, operational, and jurisdictional boundaries. Disasters tend not to honor human boundaries!
  • They must be multi-disciplinary.
  • A planning and training module is extremely important. The best way provide a truly coordinated response is continual training. Part of good planning involves assuring that emergency responders have “muscle memory” when it comes to their tools so there are no questions about how to use them.

Preparation Saves Lives!

No one wants a disaster to occur, but when they do happen, preparation can save lives. A solid plan, and useful tools can be the difference between a smooth recovery and a long haul.

If it’s time to assess your emergency preparedness and planning resources, feel free to drop us a line.

Strategic Planning for the City of Portland

Portland, Oregon’s Corporate GIS office (CGIS) is now operating under a new Strategic Plan.  Our team had the pleasure of engaging with a broad number of City staff and partners to lead a process of envisioning and articulating how CGIS will deliver geospatial services and boost the City’s location intelligence over the next several years.

The Gartrell Group performed a detailed assessment of CGIS’s staff capabilities, their data and technologies, and their portfolio of services. We also facilitated a series of workshops to invigorate stakeholder discussion, identify current needs and challenges, and to elicit the highest priorities of the users and beneficiaries of Portland’s geospatial tools and data.  We used findings from these efforts to craft and refine a plan for how the City may best apply resources for the greatest possible impact.

The adopted plan bridges topics of organizational strategy, data management, and technology management. It expresses a renovated vision and mission for CGIS and outlines how these may be realized through a clear and measurable set of objectives.  Importantly, the endeavor of the planning process itself – the workshops, the brainstorming, balloting activities, and collaborative needs discovery – helped to strengthen bonds between the City’s management and stakeholders and to re-open communication channels across department and agency boundaries.

Assisting organizations develop and enhance their location strategy is one of our core services and a keen area of interest among all of our team members. We think the work is important, we enjoy the process, and we take a lot of satisfaction in seeing the acceleration that happens once a customer has spent some time getting (re) acquainted with their location strategy and direction.

We are equipped with a very adaptive toolkit of strategy development know-how, means, and methods, and we can tailor an approach suited to your particular needs and questions. Please contact us if you’d be interested in learning more about how we can help your organization improve location strategy.