State Government Upgrades GIS System

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Big Island Now stock image. June 2016

Big Island Now stock image. June 2016

The state Office of Planning, in partnership with the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services, has made upgrades to the state’s geographic information system that take advantage of current advances in server-based GIS and cloud services, and improve data sharing, accessibility and cost-effectiveness.

“It’s an exciting time for GIS in Hawai‘i state government,” said OP Director Leo R. Asuncion. “The ultimate goal is to make it easier for all state employees, contractors and the public to use, make and share geospatial data, maps and applications on any device at any time.”

The state GIS database has been deployed on a centralized state server that allows agencies to share information, increasing its accessibility beyond the source agency and encouraging a “create once, use many” philosophy.


The upgrade also reduces the development of redundant databases, helps to standardize the information being analyzed by decision makers, and serves as a means of collecting and distributing the most up-to-date authoritative GIS data.

The same data has been migrated into the “cloud” and will be available to the general public as web services. This will make the data even more widely available for use by anyone with a mapping application connected to web services. Included in the cloud deployment is an open data portal that adds extensive data search and download capabilities.

“We have taken delivery of the migrated database—more than 250 data layers—and have performed quality checks and some initial testing,” said OP IT Specialist Joan Delos Santos, who has been leading the upgrade effort for the state. “We’re now in the process of inviting user testing.”


GIS data have already been incorporated into information products that are diverse and have far-reaching impacts that include: tracking the spread of invasive species; surveillance of and tracking human and animal disease; analyzing clusters of pedestrian accidents; planning and maintaining facilities and assets; and analyzing transit oriented development.

Many state agencies have also developed an assortment of tools for public use, including web-based applications to find the closest location to get a flu vaccination; locate the nearest recycling redemption centers; determine the zoning of a particular tax map key parcel number or address; and identify lands suitable for renewable energy development.

The Statewide GIS Program is also making a variety of new imagery data layers and historic maps available as web services, including:


• historical topographic maps from 1881 through the 1960s;
• imagery dating back to the 1950s;
• the latest WorldView 3 high-resolution satellite imagery and 2015 coastal imagery.

“The Statewide GIS Program is a state success story,” said state Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy, who heads ETS. “We partnered with the Office of Planning and worked with the program and Esri to establish an enterprise license agreement that encourages widespread GIS software use and achieves savings, leveraging current cloud technologies.”

The statewide GIS enterprise license agreement and a strong working relationship with Esri, an international supplier of web GIS and geodatabase management applications, offer numerous advantages:
• lower unit cost of software;
• fixed predictable overall costs over the life of the agreement;
• flexibility to deploy Esri software products when and where needed;
• offer of GIS to agencies that otherwise could not afford GIS; and
• continuous support of the geospatial data and mapping requirements driven by agency and administration initiatives.

For more information, go online.

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