Successful planning for GIS implementation focuses on proven planning methodology.

Geographic information system (GIS) managers and coordinators who wish to successfully plan for a GIS implementation are able to expand their knowledge through an ESRI Virtual Campus course offering. Planning for a GIS is a 10-module course that explains how to successfully plan for a GIS implementation. The methodology taught by the course is applicable to small, departmentwide, and enterprisewide GIS projects. An introduction to the fundamental principles of GIS is included, so students are not required to have previous experience with GIS software.

Many GIS technology users are not able to receive the full benefit of such innovative software because they lack the knowledge of how to utilize the software to its full potential. To expand training opportunities for GIS users, ESRI created the Virtual Campus. The online campus offers a number of courses to teach GIS users how to get the most out of their GIS software.

Dr. Roger Tomlinson authored Planning for a GIS to help managers and coordinators within their work environment. “As a senior manager, or a present or future GIS manager, you have an important role to play in your organization?to help it focus on what it needs to get out of your GIS,” said Tomlinson, who is widely recognized as the “father of GIS” because he originated and directed the development of the Canada geographic information system, the first GIS in the world.

Upon completion of the course, students will be able to successfully analyze an organization’s GIS requirements, determine the size and scope of a system, align system use to meet business needs, and develop a project proposal. Once students create a preliminary design document based on their findings, they will be able to perform a benefit–cost analysis and develop a cost-effective GIS implementation strategy. All of these functions can help users develop a more efficient work place.

The course is composed of nine modules describing the GIS planning process, and a 10th module that contains a detailed GIS lexicon—a software independent reference that aids students in their planning process. The first module is free, allowing students to preview the course before they enroll. The course includes these modules:

  • GIS Planning Basics
  • Analysis of Business Needs: Taking the First Steps
  • Describing Information Products
  • Master Input Data List, System Scope, and Timing Conceptual System Design for Data
  • Conceptual System Design for Technology
  • Preparing for Implementation
  • Benefit–Cost, Migration, and Risk Analysis
  • Procurement and Reporting Procedures
  • Lexicon of GIS Functions

Software requirements for the course are Internet Explorer or Netscape 4.0 or higher and Adobe Acrobat Reader. The price for the course is $180.00. For further information or to enroll in the course, visit or call 1-800-447-9778.