Needs Assessment

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Outline. What is the rationale behind needs assessment?What are the benefits of GIS projects?What is a hierarchical view of needs assessment?How do we create an information product description?. What is the rationale behind needs assessment?. What is needs assessment? Process of identifying wha

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Needs Assessment

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1. Needs Assessment April 6, 2010

2. Outline What is the rationale behind needs assessment? What are the benefits of GIS projects? What is a hierarchical view of needs assessment? How do we create an information product description?

3. What is the rationale behind needs assessment? What is needs assessment? Process of identifying what is expected from the project Can be thought of as a blueprint (i.e. planning) Why needs assessment? Cost of not planning? Expectation management Helps you identify potential problems Why do we have to know about organization needs? Is need-to-know question in alignment with goals of organization?

5. What are benefits of GIS projects? Save money/cost avoidance Save time, thus increase efficiency Increase accuracy Increase productivity, same time more product Increase communication and collaboration Generate revenue Support decision making Automate workflow Build an information base Manage resources Improve access to government…

6. Scope of GIS projects Will determine The level of benefits Large-scope GIS projects is more likely to reduce cost since it will make the use of shared database (e.g. centralized database) and benefit from automation The roles of GIS in an organization Large-scope GIS is more likely to change the way the organization does business Strategies for needs assessment The larger the scope of GIS projects, the more it is necessary to find out the organization and business work flow

7. Understanding business work Models of complex business processes Thought of as the way an organization does business …for example, land-use development approvals, building loan approvals, permitting, conservation land planning, service delivery, and distributed facilities management Information products come out of that work flow GIS functionalities can be utilized within the context of business work flow, and also have a potential to change/redesign business work flow

8. Application, Information product, data, business work flow, and GIS

9. What is a hierarchical view of needs assessment?

10. Hierarchical view of needs assessment Goal: one of the major strategic directions for the organization e.g. Maintain the urban infrastructure e.g. Reduce crime e.g. Create jobs for the citizens Function: a major activity within the organization which supports a goal of the organization e.g. Repair city streets e.g. Enforce the building codes e.g. Assess the value of property

11. Hierarchical view on needs assessment Facility: the physical, legal, or other asset upon which a function of the organization is performed (i.e. database: a collection of related entities) e.g. Street, Building, Parcel Entity: Components of the facilities that are managed by the various responsibilities of the organization (i.e. feature class in ESRI speak) e.g. pavement, curbs, cutters Attributes: descriptive data that define the characteristics of the entity e.g. location, condition, size, date, type

12. Information products respond to “need-to-know” questions How do we identify information products? What are outcomes needed from a GIS? What are answers to need-to-know questions? Core of information product is an information structure; how are chunks of information arranged? List of something xxxxx (text list requirements); perhaps a ranked list Narrative of something xxxx (text requirements) Mapping variables for xxxxx (map requirements) Map showing changes in xxxxx (map requirements) Diagram that shows the potential database design (schematic requirements)

13. For each information product

14. Composing an information product description (IPD) IPD building blocks (Tomlinson 2007, p.32) Identify title that best describes information product Name the department and person who needs information product Write the synopsis of the information product needed Identify information structure (core of IPD) which could be one or more of the following: Map, tabular, text, image, 3D, schematic requirements Other elements as follows…

15. Other elements for information product descriptions Which data set is needed for meeting requirements of information structure? If you can, identify standard name for each data set Is the data set available? If data are not readily available, where are data? How can we obtain the data? Which GIS functionalities (i.e., operations) are invoked at each step to make the product? Attribute query, data input, spatial query, display, edit, label, symbolize, create list

16. Frequency of use Identify the most frequently used GIS functionalities If IPD leads you to the conclusion that satellite image processing is the most frequently used functionality and the organization does not have image processing (e.g. ERDAS IMAGINE) software, you should consider purchasing the software. Number of times a product is created in one year multiplied by number of times a functionality is used = number of times a functionality is used to create the product in one year Create top-ten functionalities list required from the GIS overall; the list will be useful in scoping your system requirements particularly s/w and h/w requirement

17. Logical linkages Determine the relationships required between the data elements (does an information product require the linkage between data elements?) Three types of logical linkages Relationships between attributes and spatial objects (e.g. land parcel boundary and assessed value) for attribute/spatial query Relationships between features (e.g. house and sewer); referential keys should be established Relationships between maps (e.g. hazard zone and population) for spatial overlay where coordinate systems of two maps should be considered Helpful in scoping the system requirement particularly data requirements

18. Error tolerance How much error would clients tolerate? No error is good, but costly The second best is sometimes optimal as suggested by economists Data quality as fitness-for-use Meeting the expectation given by a particular application, not necessarily meeting the generic use Helpful in seeking the balance between benefit and cost; you should find “bargaining position” Consider possible occurrence, results of error, impact on benefits, and concerns for error tolerance (see Tomlinson (2007) p. 52 figure 6.13 for examples)

19. Needs assessment in brief… Background context of project Goal of the project Answers to need to know questions Identify information products Products have information structure Information structure is composed of information categories (feature classes) and relationships among information categories

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