2.0 Introduction to GIS

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2.01 What is GIS?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) – is a computerized system for dealing with information about geographically located features.

Geographic information is embedded in over 80% of all the goods and services a municipality provides.

In a GIS one deals with geographic features, usually presented on top of some type of backdrop map (a Base Map). Also included are the descriptive properties of these features.

In a GIS, the features are indicated as points, lines, and polygons or as small squares in a grid. Attribute information regarding these features may also be attached. For example, features representing schools may have attribute information attached to them such as enrolment and teacher/pupil ratio.

With GIS, a number of operations and analytical processes can be performed both on the geographic data and on the tabular / attribute data.

In its simplest form, GIS can be used to create a map for the user on demand; in its more complex form, it becomes a database with millions of pieces of data that are geographically related, and can be displayed in a format that the user may select to make complex interrelationships visually understandable.

GIS is not only a software but is a system that includes the hardware, data, including the users and the organization needed to manage the data.

GIS Can Be Utilized in Many Situations such as Needs Analyses and Risk and Suitability Analyses


Among the various uses of GIS relative to CLUP are:

    Management, analysis and presentation of information, in map form;

    Show location, distribution, and qualitative information on services, facilities, infrastructure, and other sectoral aspects that are useful in sectoral studies, needs determination, and planning for provision of services. For example, it can show the distribution of public health centers, the types and capability of roads in the municipality/city, and other objects with a defined location;

    To identify hazardous areas in a municipality/city and overlay with the population density map in order to determine the risk factor as well as the suitability of the area for urban development vis-à-vis land management policies.

Geographic information is information about all those features that are possible to locate to a position. In other words, GIS is a tool to link features with geographic location, mostly presented on a map, together with other types of information such as tables and templates, texts, images, drawings or video sequences.

map attributemap attribute

GIS as Everybody’s Tool


Computer-assisted systems to capture, store, analyze and present geographic information have been available since the mid-80’s. However, even if many groups were interested in the technology, it has not been predominantly used due to the high cost of these systems, and the high technical skills required. In recent years, this situation has changed as GIS systems have become more user-friendly and affordable, thus opening up the technology for wider use.

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2.02 ‘Digital Mapping’ and ‘Manual Mapping’ Compared

The use of GIS enables:

  1. better work flow;
  2. higher quality information for decision-making;
  3. better integration among different offices / departments;
  4. quicker access to information;
  5. more efficient information dissemination.

All these lead to possible cost reduction and cost effectiveness.

The following matrix is a comparison of digital and manual mapping with respect to key activities:

ACTIVITIES:
DIGITAL MAPPING
PAPER MAPPING
PREPARATION Initial version tedious to prepare but quick and efficient to monitor Start from scratch every time
STORAGE Digital Database Standardized and integrated, compact memory capacity Different scales on different standards, voluminous and bulky
RETRIEVAL Quick retrieval Paper maps and tables
UPDATING Automatic search and replace by computer Manual check and revision
OVERLAY Systematically done
Faster integration of complex, multiple spatial and non spatial data sets
Expensive and time consuming
SPATIAL ANALYSIS Faster Time and energy consuming, slow
DISPLAY Easier and faster to prepare
Better quality Slow
Tedious and time-consuming

The computer has revolutionized the ways of communicating and analyzing information about the world, including decision-making. Geographic Information Technology (GIT) is now widely used for computer-assisted management and analysis of data concerning geographically related features.
GIS transforms data into timely information. It is capable of sorting out information and separating them into different layers, as well as combining them with other layers of information, according to the needs of the specific user. The information is stored in the computer in such a way that geographic data can be combined according to the needs of the specific user.

Integration Benefits
One remarkable facility of GIS is that it enables the coordinated use of data from many sources. This integrative ability is made possible by the geographic link through the defined coordinates in the geodetic reference system. The coordinated and integrated information exchange between a number of systems where the same basic data are used by many users for staff work, planning, decision making, information dissemination etc. is very cost-effective.

Information Availability
Using GIS requires a completely different and more systematic way of information management in order to make the information available. Disseminating information through GIS, makes it accessible to users, and enables transparency in governance for the municipality/city. GIS makes it possible to publish geographic and other data and distribute this data digitally in an instructive, easy and interactive manner.

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2.03 GIS for Presentation

The municipal/city CLUP, as a tool for local governance should be accessible and understood not only by the planners and implementers but by the general public.
The requisite information contained in the maps, tables, diagrams, and the plan itself should be easy to read and interpret in order to encourage an open exchange of information, and dialogue among planners, elected representatives and the general public. Public participation in planning and implementation of the CLUP is an integral part of the process, and the voice of the local constituents should always be heard in decisions concerning land use.
In order to make the Comprehensive Land Use Plan truly comprehensive, the GIS Cookbook will provide guidelines on how to address some of the following gaps in many of the current CLUPs that have been identified:

  1. Distinguish the difference between a ‘plan’ and a ‘map’
  2. Consistencies in scale and the use of the scale bar
  3. Use of the Legend and consistency of the symbols used in both the Legend and the Map itself.
  4. Appropriate use of point symbols and polygon symbols.
  5. Distinguish between thematic information and base information which are often mixed together or displayed without having a base map as a backdrop for easy reference.
  6. Appropriate use of hatching and raster using proper color-coding and / or line thickness, to make the thematic information clearer to the map reader.
  7. Use of informative charts, graphs, and other illustrative graphics in the narrative text instead of hard to read tables and matrices.
  8. Translating information into more understandable maps for easier comparison and analysis.

The capabilities of GIS for planning and analysis are often overlooked by planners who oftentimes use it mainly for mapping. The GIS Cookbook will introduce examples of how to use the analytical capabilities GIS to enable planners to make more efficient use of the technology.
An example is shown below to demonstrate how GIS can improve one aspect of the CLUP, which is the CLUP Base Map, through an integrated use of symbols and color codes, and how these can be used for making thematic maps that will facilitate analysis.

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2.04 GIS for Decision Makers

The decision-makers in the CLUP planning process include the municipal local executives such as the Mayor, the Vice Mayor, the Barangay Captains and the members of the Sangguniang Bayan, and all the other stakeholders who have a stake in setting the municipality’s/city’s future directions and the planned layout of land uses.

GIS plays an important role in decision making for sustainable development, given its ability to provide useful information for analysis and assessment.

The development process framework shown herein illustrates how GIS can track the results of the decision making process (which includes policy making, planning and management) and how it influences the driving forces of development (such as population, health and wealth, technology, politics and economics). GIS can be used to monitor the results (human impacts) of development, and what its impacts are, on the physical, social, and economic environment (environmental change).

The ensuing changes in these processes can be monitored through GIS (with the use of appropriate methods such as remote sensing, for example), and the resulting information can be processed and analyzed with the help of GIS, in order to provide timely, accurate, and concise information that can be provided to the decision makers, and the planners when they plan for the appropriate interventions for the driving forces to achieve sustainable development., thus completing the loop.

Sustainability of the whole cycle of development will be enabled by the availability of the information as gathered through GIS and its wider dissemination among the various stakeholders and the general public. This in turn raises public awareness of the issues regarding the impacts of development, and triggers the demand for public consensus and transparency in decision making.

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2.05 GIS for Beneficiaries / Stakeholders

The process of preparing the CLUP requires transparency and public participation.
Stakeholders’ participation is important in the planning process since this gives them the opportunity to play an active role in the decision-making and in the subsequent activities whose impacts and outcomes will affect them.

Encouraging public participation however is a daunting task, and an important step for enjoining the public to participate in the CLUP planning and implementation process is to raise the levels of their awareness of the value of their involvement in local governance.

To make the CLUP better understood by any local citizen, it is important to have a CLUP document that is simple, concise, and makes use of graphics that are easy to understand and are devoid of technical terms. In this way, the CLUP document becomes more comprehensible to the layman, and the proposals that will affect the ordinary citizen will be better understood by them.

In order for the CLUP to be appreciated by and useful for the various stakeholders, it will be necessary to prepare a CLUP version wherein the highlights of the plan are condensed for the layman. It could be
printed in a leaflet or primer that can be distributed to all the stakeholders.

In the planning process there will be a good number of presentations, meetings and hearings where stakeholders will be present. (For more details, see Volume 1: ‘A Guide to Comprehensive Land Use Plan Preparation’). There are now tools available to facilitate presentations that are readily available to LGUs such as PowerPoint presentations, which can be used to present the highlights of the CLUP to the stakeholders during consultative meetings and other forums.

There is also a template that can be used by the planner where applicable, see the Toolbox, Chapter 4.13.

Furthermore, there are guidelines on how a PowerPoint presentation can be enlarged so they can be and be used as a display.

For both the CLUP documentation and for display purposes during meetings, the end products of the GIS will provide opportunities to reach out to the stakeholders and communicate the CLUP document in a manner that they will appreciate.

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2.06 GIS for Coordination and Cooperation in the LGU

The LGUs are usually burdened by the various plans that are required of them by various national government agencies, in addition to those plans that are required in accordance with their own mandates. The information requirements for these plans can be simple or complex, and quite often will involve duplications, contradictions, inconsistencies, and incomplete information from among the different data custodians, resulting in plans that are in themselves difficult to apprehend by the LGU, much less the uninvolved stakeholders. The preparation of these plans can be facilitated by an integrated information management system that will enable the sharing and integration of all the information from the different data custodians in the municipal government resulting in a more coordinated and integrative planning and development for the municipality/city.

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2.06.01 Municipal Integrated Database Management

The contemporary demands of local governance in the face of the wide-ranging and various complexities of modern development, call for a more flexible local government structure that is truly responsive of the needs of a given municipality/city.

In order to hurdle the management requirements for these complex tasks, it is important to promote and strengthen the development of a cross-sectoral and intra-or inter-institutional connectivity that will greatly improve the planning and monitoring of the multiplicity of plans, programs, projects and activities, required in local governance. In the order of things in the municipal administration, the Planning and Development Office is given the task of coordinating most of these tasks.

In addition, the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO) is in charge of collecting and analyzing data for the CLUP as well as for the Local Development Investment Plan (LDIP), which is an important tool for the annual budget preparation and ‘hands-on’ decision-making at local level. The MPDO is likewise responsible for land use-planning, environmental monitoring, and for issuing permits and clearances based on the zoning ordinances. These are activities wherein geographic information plays a crucial role.

However, the other offices such as the Engineering, Assessor’s, and Agriculture Offices are also custodians of data and are implementers of plans and projects that have spatial and environmental implications. Therefore, in the initial stage wherein only the MPDO is in possession of the necessary GIS equipment and software licenses, the MPDO should coordinate with the said offices and set the terms of reference for responsibilities in data gathering, processing, and exchange of information among the relevant LGU office users. This should be done in order to promote sustainability and transparency.

The challenge for the municipal planner and the MPDO is to promote the need for, and the importance of GIS among the various stakeholders in the municipal government structure (politicians, heads of departments, etc.). This should also ensure that data is acquired and maintained by all the relevant offices in such a way that this data can be easily imported to the GIS system.

A feasible approach is to develop, within the municipal/city government organization’s computer environment, a common computer file directory structure for all the different offices (and their corresponding computer environments) involved in CLUP and other planning activities.

If the municipality/city has a network then this computer file directory structure is only necessary on the server. If it is a stand-alone computer or series of stand-alone computers, then the computer file directory structure is necessary on the stand-alone computer(s). The common computer file directory structure allows a stable environment to update information, develop meta-data structures and develop user-friendly applications.

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2.06.02 Municipal Integrated Development Planning

The various national government agencies (NGAs) formulate policies, guidelines, plans, programs and projects, governing their sectors, and these are handed down to the LGU level for local government guidance, implementation, and compliance. Given the numerous NGAs and the corresponding policies, plans, programs and projects, that the LGUs have to contend with, it is usually left to them to integrate all of these within the local government context, and arrive at a set of plans, programs and projects that are aligned to the policies, and compliant to the guidelines. The LGU therefore plays a vital integrative role at the local level
In order to facilitate the tasks of the LGU, the GIS Cookbook identifies possible data sharing ‘shortcuts’ between information products needed for the CLUP and information prepared in other municipal plans and programs such as the examples found below.

The following are some of the kinds of plans that the LGU is expected to prepare, in coordination with the appropriate national government agencies:

  1. Agriculture and Fisheries Management Plan, including the Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zone (SAFDZ)
  2. Forest Management Plan or Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP)
  3. Sustainable Integrated Area Development Plan or Local Agenda 21 (SIADP)
  4. Coastal Resources Management Plan (CRMP)
  5. Solid Waste management Plan
  6. Agrarian Reform Community Development Plan

Examples of plans that require inter-sectoral functional committees are:

  1. Local Poverty Reduction Action Plan
  2. Disaster Management Plan
  3. Sustainable Development Plan
  4. Gender and Development Plan
  5. Food Security Plan
  6. Integrated Area Community Peace and Order and Public Safety Plan
  7. Local Development Plan / Local Investment Plan for Children
  8. Ecological Solid Waste Management Plan
  9. Human Resource Management Plan
  10. Revenue Enhancement Plan

Plans that fall within the concern of individual sectors:

  1. Action Plan for the Council for the Protection of Children
  2. Annual Culture and Arts Plan
  3. Agriculture and Fisheries Management Plan
  4. Local Tourism Plan
  5. Small and Medium Enterprise Development Plan Body
  6. Local Health & Nutrition Plan

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2.06.03 Examples on Coordination and Cooperation in an LGU

The use of digital data and the application of GIS open the door to improved coordination and cooperation among the different offices / departments in the municipal/city government. For example, the same digital road database that has been used and presented in the CLUP can also be used by the engineering department. Information regarding schools can be used and maintained by the education department and be analyzed in the CLUP, etc. Extracts from some case studies done in the GIS Cookbook Pilot LGUs are presented below. The full case studies are found in Chapter 4.01 in the Toolbox.

Example1: A Synchronized Building Permit Application cum CLUP Data Set
Once the CLUP and the Zoning Ordinance have been approved, they constitute the basis for the issuance of a number of different permits, such as Locational Clearances, Subdivision Development Permits, Plan Approvals, Building Permits and Business Permits. These permits when consolidated will form part of a considerable database that will provide the important inputs such as land use changes in the municipality/city and other development indicators, when the CLUP is updated.

Proposed design for digital format

  1. Existing Log Book

The proposed digital format for the Permits Logbook (or registry) was a simple system that was suited to the current ‘computer appreciation level’ of the Ormoc City Government. In future, the system can be developed into a more sophisticated one such as a network corporate solution. The Building Permit Logbook is translated into a digital format, using MS Excel, with the adjustments needed for consistency and digital processing.

A similar GIS application can be made for the Locational Clearances issued by the Zoning Officer.
The Case Study is found in Chapter 4.18.01.

Example 2: A Synchronized Business Permit Application cum CLUP Data Set

The Zoning and the CLUP is used as a basis for issuing the Business Permits. In the period before a revision of the CLUP, these permits can also be used as an indicator of commercial development in the municipality/city.

The proposed system presented a method of consolidating and building up of a Business GIS for the LGU that can be used for the issuance of Business Permits, update or revision of the CLUP, preparing statistical maps on developments in the LGU, and providing tourist information. The proposed tables to keep digital records of the Business Permits can be the start up level for those LGUs without current digital records. The system allows the LGUs to get started in MS Excel where a spread sheet containing the attributes, are stored and then linked to a GIS layer holding the surveyed locations of the business establishments that have been given the permits. In the case of LGUs with current digital systems, the suggestion is to instead keep the attribute database they are now using, and extend it with a link to the GIS.
Sample Map showing Business Permits and their classification in Barangay District 7 Ormoc CitySample Map showing Business Permits and their classification in Barangay District 7 Ormoc City
The Case Study is found in Chapter 4.18.02.

Example 3: Preparation of an ‘LGU Urban Poor’ GIS
While evaluating the prepared CLUPs in the pilot municipalities/cities, it was found that the housing sector of the Plans do not fully recognize the need to focus on the situation for the urban poor, and the corresponding actions needed to improve the situation of the informal settlers. The CLUPs merely describe the policies and whatever pilot projects are existing, and fail to provide comprehensive information and analysis of the housing situation, particularly on informal settlements.

The proposed system presented a simple method again based on the current ‘computer appreciation level’ in Ormoc City, and this system can be developed into a more sophisticated one such as a network corporate solution in the future. Two Excel spreadsheets have been designed to start with. One which shows the distribution of informal settlers’ families by Barangays with the indicators as shown in the matrix below.

The Case Study is found in Chapter 4.18.03.

Example 4: A Barangay Map Survey and Information Product
In Chapter 4.19.02 there is a description of how an integrated survey can be conducted for a given Barangay. The survey is part of the data gathering activities in the beginning of the CLUP preparation process (Steps 1 and 4). The objective of the surveys is to gather useful data needed for the preparation of the CLUP and the preparation of the Barangay Map that will be distributed to the Barangay Council members, and to be displayed in the Barangay Hall.

The purpose of the survey is to:

  1. Compare the Zoning with the actual land use;
  2. Identify major changes in land use (e.g. newly built-up areas, etc.);
  3. Identify relevant “issues” in the Barangay;
  4. Consolidate the results of the survey to be used as inputs in updating of the CLUP and Land Use Map
  5. Locate the facilities within the Barangay

Current Zoning/Land Use Map Covering the Barangay LinaoCurrent Zoning/Land Use Map Covering the Barangay Linao

Updated Land Use based on barangay survey and aerial photoUpdated Land Use based on barangay survey and aerial photo

With the data gathered in the survey, and the use of the aerial photos, the current barangay land use map can be updated accordingly. This newly-updated Barangay Land Use Map will be a good basis for updating the CLUP, and for a more accurate zoning for the barangay.

Barangay Map of LinaoBarangay Map of Linao

The Barangay Map for Linao (shown above) is printed in an A2 format which can be laminated so that it can be used in consultative discussions, and so that the local officials can draw on the map using whiteboard markers, and still re-use the map for other different projects.

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2.07 GIS for Coordination and Cooperation between Cities/Municipalities and the Province

The province exercises general supervision over component cities and municipalities to ensure that the acts of these LGUs are within the scope of their prescribed powers and functions.

Alongside this function, the province is also mandated to prepare the Provincial Physical Framework Plan (PPFP) that will delineate the desired general physical development of the province, showing where the protected areas and preserved lands are, and the development and growth areas such as the settlement areas are identified or established.

The PPFP likewise provides the development plan for the physical infrastructures and shows the prospective locations for these, in support of the preferred development strategy of the framework plan.
The province sees to it that the municipalities and cities within its jurisdiction have their own integrated social, economic, physical and environmental plans, and are implementing these plans accordingly. The province also monitors and evaluates the implementation of the programs and projects as formulated in their plans.
In formulating the CLUP, the LGUs should be guided by the PPFP and the significant provisions that will have direct influence on the LGUs’ respective development thrusts. These provisions include the LGU’s designated role in the province, the projected degree or level of development, the proposed programs and projects to be implemented in the LGU and the proposed general land uses.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of the province is tasked to review and approve the CLUPs of their respective municipalities/cities. During the review, the Provincial Land Use Committee (as the SP’s technical arm) will determine if the province’s various relevant sectoral and physical development plans pertaining to the concerned LGUs have been taken into consideration and integrated in their CLUPs.

The institutional linkages among the LGUs are well in place. However, there is room for improvement in the “information links” among them that allow prompt and uncomplicated access not only to the plans and programs of the Provincial Governments, but also to sectoral plans and programs of the national government agencies in the province.

The use of GIS within the LGUs is a vital factor in terms of data sharing in the preparation of the PPFPs and CLUPs, as well as in the review of the CLUPs by the Provincial Government. With the province coordinating with the LGUs, they can share the available digital data acquired by the province for thematic mapping purposes. It not only enhances the presentation of the maps but increases the accuracy of the information, as well.

Having a CLUP with GIS maps is beneficial because it would be easy for the planners in the province to review and compare the CLUPs of cities/municipalities within their jurisdiction and check if it is consistent within the thrust of the PPFP. Further, with the use of GIS, digital CLUPs can be easily incorporated to see and check if the adjacent land uses between and among municipalities are synchronized.

So far, only a few provinces have adopted GIS, but there has been no standard symbology adopted or proposed. The GIS Cookbook provides the recommended guidelines which can also be used as reference for the preparation of the PPFP.

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2.08 GIS for Coordination and Cooperation between LGUs and the National Government Agencies (NGAs)

Devolution under the Local Government Code is defined as the transfer of power and authority from the National Government to the LGUs to enable them to perform specific functions and responsibilities. The overarching objective here is to enable the LGUs to increase government efficiency, meet the demands of the community, and to serve as instrument of growth. This strategy allows tor the sharing and realignment of powers and resources of the central government with the LGUs.

However, despite devolution, many NGAs have still retained functions that are essential in the development of cities and municipalities. Alongside this, even the associated information, knowledge or data in relation to the said functions, are still lodged with these agencies.

Furthermore, the NGAs prepare their respective agency plans and programs that cover a given period of time. These plans, are accessed and used by the LGUs in the preparation of their own plans and programs. However, LGUs gain access by directly coordinating with the agency concerned.

The acquisition of information can be facilitated by NGAs by assisting LGUs in getting essential data for their CLUPs. For example, there is an ongoing harmonization project among Phivolcs, MGB, and PAGASA under the direction of the NDCC that is aimed at harmonizing their data sets in digitial format which they will make available to the LGUs in the immediate future.

A GIS can provide better presentation maps for CLUP purposes for LGUs. It would also be advantageous for both LGUs and HLURB in reviewing the plans and for decision making purposes. If digital zoning maps of LGUs are shared with HLURB this would facilitate the monitoring of the residential subdivision and condominium projects that are requesting for licenses. It will also reduce the redundancy of data conversion for HLURB.
GIS is useful in enhancing public service delivery. For instance, proponents who wish to secure permits can easily check if their projects conform with the zoning ordinance, if there is a GIS map. In this case, it will also enable the LGU to decide quickly.

Not all cities/municipalities can afford a GIS and more so, they might not have the technical expertise to operate the GIS. A recommended approach to solve this would be as follows:

  1. A province that has the GIS and technical expertise can provide assistance to its respective municipalities by means of a shared GIS. They can give hands-on training on the use of GIS in cooperation with HLURB.
  2. A province without GIS could establish one, with financial counterpart from component cities and municipalities. This way, the provinces/ LGUs can share technical expertise as well as information between and among them.

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2.09 GIS for Coordination and Cooperation between LGUs and Private Sector

The LGU plays a dominant role in the capture and use of geographic information for all stages of development related planning. The use of GIS supports more open, collaborative planning processes, and improves public access to geographic information in urban and rural planning issues. The private sector is also mobilized in local governance and planning, for example, privatization affects the capture and distribution of what were formerly public domain spatial data. A more accessible public database enables investors to analyze the impact of development projects in relation to municipal objectives for land uses.

A GIS system that allows mutual access to and interaction among public and private sectors provides the following benefits:

  1. Savings from elimination of redundancy;
  2. More resources available to improve data;
  3. Better understanding of user needs;
  4. Users gain better understanding of proper uses for the data sets;
  5. Conclusions/analysis have more credibility and chance of accuracy the more current and standardized the data is; Better accuracy of data and reports;
  6. Ability to identify source and credibility of data including liability;
  7. Ease of access which encourages more, and possibly new, uses;
  8. Standardization helps to compare data sets to clean out errors;
  9. Reduces data cost which serves as a barrier to entry for GIS learners /beginners & small businesses;
  10. New uses based on ability to combine data from different sources;
  11. Cycle time improvements make it easier and quicker to generate reports while also reducing the overall costs to generate a report. In addition, by using GIS it can help make private sector input more timely;
  12. Reduces distribution costs for transacting/exchanging data;
  13. Private sector may eventually provide additional funding sources if there is a central repository where they could gain access;
  14. Development of best practices;
  15. Increased expertise in the municipality;
  16. Increased chance of government access to private data as private data sources can use the cooperative
  17. GIS to market/showcase their GIS data.

Below are some examples of valuable cooperation between the Public and Private Sector:

  1. Creation of a model for GIS Data sharing. This might be a form of a Private Sector venture to provide access to data for a fee;
  2. Provide access to municipal data;
  3. Provide access to catalogued commercial data sets centralized in one single location or site;
  4. Sample data sets for educational purposes;
  5. Provide emergency response tools and data sets to both public and private sectors. This would enhance current operations by having data readily available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week instead of just when an extreme emergency strikes, although generally, emergency responses may be transboundary which makes data access and sharing difficult.