MetroGIS Quantify Public Value (QPV) Study

(May 2010)

Does this situation found familiar?  You are a GIS program manager.  Your intuition tells you that sharing geospatial data produced by your organization would likely result in substantive efficiency improvements for your organization but without hard numbers to prove your case, sharing remains a novel thought.  If so, MetroGIS’s Quantify Public Value (QPV) Study, summarized below, will hopefully provide a means to act on your intuition.  Our goal is to create a replicable methodology capable of quantifying value (direct and indirect) to both the taxpayer and participating government organizations attributable to data sharing, specifically parcel data.

David Claypool, a visionary active in the early Twin Cities (Minnesota) geospatial community, asserted that “organizations that are using GIS on their own are not getting the full benefit of the technology”.  Subsequently, MetroGIS was created to foster knowledge sharing and sharing of resources to accomplish collaborative solutions to shared geospatial needs.  The mission being “to expand stakeholders' capacity to address shared geographic information technology needs and maximize investments in existing resources through widespread collaboration of organizations that serve the Twin Cities metropolitan area”. The culture of the geospatial profession that serves the Twin Cities has enthusiastically embraced the notion of using the natural intra-organizational integrating capacities of geospatial technology to improve organizational effectiveness and, in so doing, create public value. 

Over the past decade, MetroGIS completed eleven stakeholder testimonials to document public value created through its efforts.  Substantive organizational efficiency improvements have been described.  These testimonials, or qualitative measures of value created, provide insight and value but leadership acknowledged, in adopting MetroGIS’s second performance measurement plan, that quantitative measures are needed to fully realize MetroGIS’s mission wherein more complex, cross-sector solutions are desired than the current structure is capable of accomplishing.

Acting on this need, a proposal for a 2010 NSDI CAP Grant was submitted.  Our awarded project calls for development of a methodology capable of quantitatively measuring public value created when organizations actively participate in a geospatial commons.  The lead proposers represent major stakeholders in the Twin Cities geospatial community – 1000 Friends of Minnesota, Hennepin County, Metropolitan Council, and MetroGIS.  This study is entitled “Measuring Public Value of Geospatial Commons: A MetroGIS Case Study”, “QPV Study” for short.  W4Sight has been retained to assist with major components of the study.  The study officially launched on May 10, 2010. Task 1 focuses on costs and value internal to Hennepin County.  Task 2, which is anticipated to begin in September 2010, initiates the outward looking QPV analysis.  Experts specializing in spatial data infrastructure (SDI) development will be invited to participate beginning with Task 2.  Due to limited resources, the scope of this prototyping effort has been limited to parcel data, in particular, that which adheres to MetroGIS standards that support interoperability.

The 300 local and regional organizations that serve the seven-county, Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area - the MetroGIS community - comprise the study domain. The territorial focus of the study is Hennepin County, a study sponsor, and the 32nd largest county in the United States by population. The proposed QPV methodology extends the ROI methodology developed by the Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA) to account for multiple uses and reuse chains. Understanding the public value of data sharing is a key issue in discussions surrounding SDI development and continued support. QPV takes into account value chains and reuse benefits over a longer-term perspective. The study involves participation by representatives from multiple government, non-profit, utility, industry, and academic interests.

Contact Information:

-Study Administrative Matters: Randall Johnson, MetroGIS Staff Coordinator, randy.johnson@metc.state.mn.us

-Study Research Matters: Francis Harvey, University of Minnesota, francis.harvey@gmail.com

-MetroGIS's website is http://www.metrogis.org

-The project website is http://sdiqpv.net