ESRI Press Book Shows Why Government Sees GIS as a Great Investment

GIS for Decision Support and Public Policy Making Details How the Data Analysis and Mapping Technology Can Answer Complex Questions, Save Money, and Lead to More Informed Decisions

Redlands, California—January 15, 2009—Government officials today face enormous fiscal challenges. They’re trying—often on limited budgets—to provide high-quality public services, repair infrastructure such as streets and sewer systems, and stimulate economic growth while still protecting the environment.

GIS for Decision Support and Public Policy Making, a new book from ESRI Press, describes how geographic information system (GIS) technology can help streamline these operations and deliver smart solutions that save time and money. The book also shows how GIS can be integrated into many other aspects of governing and policy making such as planning for residential development, revitalizing neighborhoods, and updating emergency management plans.

Chapters cover topics such as how to use GIS for making budget-related decisions, reaching compromises, allocating resources, supporting policies, making decisions under pressure and on the fly, and involving the public in the decision-making process.

The book provides 27 examples of how government organizations used GIS software to analyze and map data, collect information from the field, and publish geographic information services on the Web. GIS was used, for example, to help find the best locations for fire stations in Denver, Colorado; prioritize waterline repairs and construction in Houston, Texas; track code compliance problems in Pasadena, California; analyze natural disaster risk areas in British Columbia, Canada; and map immunization data in Utah to improve health care for children.

“Oftentimes, community leaders are recipients of the by-products of GIS such as reports, maps, and analysis,” said the book’s coauthor Christopher Thomas, government industry manager at ESRI. “The book shows how GIS directly supports management and elected officials in developing and implementing decisions and public policy—not as a by-product but rather as an integral part of the process.”

GIS analysts and other professionals representing the government organizations provided the case studies, which Thomas and coauthor Nancy Humenik-Sappington, a writer for ESRI, incorporated into the book. These case studies describe the projects in detail, the GIS software needed, and the return on investment (ROI).

The book also includes screen shots of maps and GIS-enabled Web mapping services to give readers a template of sorts for emulating the success of these 27 projects. Exercises at the end of the chapters underscore the importance of including GIS methodology in the decision-making process. The book’s ROI matrix illustrates how the use of GIS in these projects paid off in terms of
• Saving time and money
• Increasing efficiency, accuracy, and productivity
• Generating additional revenue
• Enhancing communication and collaboration
• Automating workflows
• Improving allocation of resources

“Geography and GIS can provide enormous benefits to an organization including providing the right kind of support to make accurate and informed decisions,” ESRI president Jack Dangermond wrote in the book’s foreword. “Government officials are under increasing pressure to make the right choices while minding the budget and delivering value at the same time. You’ll find many examples in this book about how they are doing just that.”

GIS for Decision Support and Public Policy Making (ISBN: 978-1-58948-231-9, 204 pages, $24.95), is available at online retailers worldwide, at, or by calling 1-800-447-9778. Outside the United States, visit for complete ordering options or contact your local ESRI distributor. For a current distributor list, visit Interested retailers can contact ESRI Press book distributor Ingram Publisher Services.

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