Plan a Successful Geographic Information System Using a Method Developed by the "Father of GIS"

Dr. Roger Tomlinson Reveals His Time-Tested Wisdom in Third Edition of Popular Book

Redlands, California—Experience taught Dr. Roger Tomlinson that the best geographic information system (GIS) starts with good planning. He shares the planning techniques he honed working as a GIS consultant in Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, which ESRI Press will publish in its third edition this month.

Widely recognized as the father of GIS for his pioneering work developing the Canada Geographic Information System in the early 1960s, Tomlinson also spent more than 30 years consulting on GIS projects for clients including government agencies in Canada, the United States, and Australia; the World Bank; and many private companies. In this updated edition of Thinking About GIS, Tomlinson walks readers through his meticulous methodology, from the first step of defining the organization’s purpose and what mission GIS can fulfill to the last step of developing a detailed strategy to launch the system.

The other eight steps include one Tomlinson considers critical: describing the information products the GIS will need to produce. "What do you need to keep track of? What information do you need on your desk?” Tomlinson asks. "This is what must come out of the GIS."

Besides focusing the project on what the organization’s employees truly need to do their job well, clearly defining the information products will help planners make better decisions later when they buy the GIS hardware and software, Tomlinson says.

Thoroughly updated, revised, and redesigned in color, this latest edition contains added content, especially in chapter 10. The expanded chapter includes the latest computer performance numbers and hardware pricing models as well as a new approach to calculating data handling loads and the network bandwidth and platform sizing required to support them.

Dr. Michael Goodchild, professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, calls Thinking About GIS "the definitive guide to GIS planning." "Tomlinson shows how much of the value of planning lies in the process itself," Goodchild says.

ESRI president Jack Dangermond also praises Tomlinson’s rigorous planning method, saying the book helps clear the way for senior managers and GIS planners—whose areas of expertise often differ—to work together in identifying what’s needed to accomplish their goals and develop a successful GIS.

Thinking About GIS: Geographic Information System Planning for Managers, Third Edition (ISBN 978-1-58948-158-9, 238 pages, $24.95) is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447- 9778. Outside the United States, contact your local ESRI distributor. Visit for a current distributor list. Retailers can contact Ingram Publisher Services for distribution information about ESRI Press books.

About ESRI Press
ESRI Press publishes books on GIS, cartography, and the application of spatial analysis to many areas of public and private endeavor including land-use planning, health care, education, business, government, and science. The complete selection of GIS titles from ESRI Press can be found on the Web at

About ESRI
Since 1969, ESRI has been giving customers around the world the power to think and plan geographically. The market leader in GIS, ESRI software is used in more than 300,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities. ESRI applications, running on more than one million desktops and thousands of Web and enterprise servers, provide the backbone for the world’s mapping and spatial analysis. ESRI is the only vendor that provides complete technical solutions for desktop, mobile, server, and Internet platforms. Visit us at