The Geographic Information System (GIS) Team of Alachua County’s Growth Management Department recently received an honorable mention for their “Built In-House Project” in the contest for the Innovation in Communications & Technology Award which is conducted by the Florida City and County Management Association (FCCMA). The award recognizes Florida cities and counties for demonstrating leadership in the area of communications and technology. The award is designed to help spread awareness of the need for innovation, to spark creativity and to showcase innovative ideas. Honorable mentions are rarely given.
The GIS Team received the honorable mention for the state-of-the-art Geographic Information System they built entirely “in house” in less than five years, with a staff of four, starting from nothing and with zero additional budgets. Growth Management's GIS system serves multiple County departments, the County’s eight smaller municipalities, the School Board, the University of Florida, and the community at large. Its monthly e-visits exceed 15,000, and all of its components are non-proprietary and can be shared with other local governments.
The system was built by utilizing Free and Open Source Software (FOSS); by pioneering initiatives in inter-governmental cooperation and resource sharing; and by setting up original partnerships with academic institutions and professional associations. This system would have cost taxpayers over $1 million had it been approached with conventional means such as outside consultants, commercial software, etc.
The award will be presented during a luncheon on May 26 in Panama City Beach, FL. Additionally, the project will be recognized in the FCCMA newsletter and will be shared with other public administration groups and publications geared towards public administration.
For more information about the County’s GIS system, citizens can visit http://gis.alachua.fl.us or call the department of Growth Management at (352) 374-5249.