How to Justify the Cost of a New GIS

The benefits of implementing a new GIS in your community are vast, but we know that the municipal approval process can be difficult when your team is already constrained by a tight budget.

Here are a few tips to help your municipality justify the cost of a new GIS.

  • Get stakeholders involved early

    A quality GIS will benefit a wide variety of municipal staff, and in order to get the biggest bang for your buck, those staff members should be involved in the GIS selection process early and often. We strongly suggest that you bring them to software demos and make sure their needs and questions are addressed by your potential GIS provider. If you can demonstrate the variety of departments and individuals that will benefit from a GIS, convincing your decision makers to allocate funds for the system will be a much easier task.

  • Cost-share with other departments

    Identifying which departments can benefit from the use of a new GIS will do more than help justify the price of a new system; ideally, several departments (like your water, sewer, and storm enterprise funds, as well as your general fund) can actually share the cost of your new GIS. Distributing the cost burden should help ease your persuasion process.

  • Explore opportunities for grants

    Using grants to help offset the cost is a great way to minimize the financial impact of a new GIS and secure the support of those who are primarily concerned about available funding. Grants are accessible for a variety of municipal projects that can greatly benefit from the use of a GIS. For example, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) can provide grants to municipalities for environmental projects (i.e. storm water, forestry).

  • Explain thE ROI of a GIS

    The right GIS will ultimately help your municipality save time, energy, and money. Accurately outlining the system’s benefits for your community should help decision makers understand that your upfront investment will improve operational efficiencies and save on costs in the long run. Some of these benefits include:

    • Your GIS can act as your spatial filing cabinet. Between paper documents and institutional retention of data, it’s easy to lose track of your most important information (paper gets lost, employees retire). A GIS like AssetAlly allows you to link important documents to your assets and locations so your team can access critical information where and when you need it most. 

    • GIS improves responsiveness to community maintenance. Without a GIS, field technicians can waste a lot of time searching for documents and information, as well as traveling back and forth between the work site and office. GIS enables municipal staff to access and import data on-site, saving themselves time and shortening the duration of day-to-day tasks.

    • GIS improves the municipal decision making process. When working on large projects, a GIS can minimize the time and effort spent on translating project knowledge by providing team members with the same tool to analyze shared information in real-time.

    If you need further assistance in justifying the cost of a GIS in your municipality, please contact one of our experts today!