Using the URISA GIS Capability Maturity Model

At the Gartrell Group, we are all about helping organizations make the most of locational information. Our work can be organized into three major categories:

  • Strategy - helping organizations assess needs and develop or refine their strategies for effectively serving the geospatial needs of their customers.
  • Development - designing, developing, and supporting clients in the roll out of web and mobile software tools tailored to their unique requirements and workflows.
  • Hosting - our cloud-hosting options are home to many organizations’ geospatial data and apps.

A recent strategy consulting engagement has been with Hennepin County, Minnesota.  We are working on a multi-faceted project that is focused on increasing executive sponsorship for the County’s GIS program and on helping to enhance collaboration among the many lines of business served by the County’s GIS office.

Introducing the URISA GISCMM

One tool that we’ve utilized in this effort is a brand new assessment survey by the folks at Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) called the GIS Capability Maturity Model (GISCMM). The GISCMM is a comprehensive survey that aims to provide metrics to “enable GIS managers and organizations to gain understanding and insights about how GIS is implemented and operated in their organization.” It is made up of two parts; the Execution Ability Assessment and the Enabling Capability Assessment.

Enabling Capability Assessment Results Chart2The Enabling Capability Assessment focuses on assessing the status of an organization’s data, technology, and geospatial infrastructure, while the Execution Ability Assessment focuses on the ability of an organization’s staff to leverage data and technical resources to serve particular goals and functions.

The URISA GISCMM was developed by some of the most influential and experienced members of the GIS Community. The result is an extremely comprehensive look at an organization’s geospatial capabilities informed by metrics that range across topics of personnel, technology, data, governance, and coordination among stakeholders. The survey is designed to facilitate easy comparison with a developing industry standard in each major category of measurement.

One of the interesting elements of the assessment is a radar chart infographic that is used to depict the relative “maturity level” of an organization for each metric. A chart with circular results will show a fully robust organization without any need for improvement (let’s be clear, a fully robust organization without any need for improvement is purely theoretical), while a chart with valleys cut into it will identify areas in need of improvement.

Establishing a Baseline Metric

If used properly, the results of the survey can help an organization identify areas in need of improvement, and can be used as a metric going forward. Not only can the survey be used as a tool to measure individual organizations, but once many organizations have participated, their results can be combined to give a decent picture of the current state of GIS.

The URISA GISCMM is a brand new tool and the folks at Hennepin County are among the very first in the nation to participate in the process. The results will help their (already healthy) GIS program zero in on the areas that need improvement, and will give them a metric on which to measure that improvement.

We are excited to add this tool to our quiver!

Give us a shout if you’d be interested in having us assess – and assist in strengthening – your organization’s location intelligence.