DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF MAPPING SYSTEM AND STRATEGY
ABSTRACT: A leading vendor of emergency notification systems was getting high cost and low quality support from its mapping vendor. Slow turnaround times and the need to have many projects reworked were weakening the company's competitive position. The company had no in house mapping capability. I implemented, from scratch, a technically excellent, productive, cost-effective, robust map production strategy. More importantly, I also established a relationship between my client and the largest GIS company in the world.
SITUATION: I worked for the mapping vendor to the emergency notification company. I met the V.P. of Marketing in the course of my work and talked with him off and on for a few months. After the mapping vendor laid me off he asked me to help him with a "make or buy" decision on mapping services.
I researched the field via the Internet, and reported that the decision was certainly "make", since the software and process were relatively straightforward, at least conceptually. Within a few hours, I had formulated the basics of the strategy.
I was contracted to develop this system at the client's site in Tennessee. I bought GIS software and developed a "proof of concept" system. I established a Reseller Account with the leading vendor of CD-ROM telephone databases. I created database management procedures, including elimination of duplicate phone listings for the same address, to optimize the calling efficiency of the notification system. I evaluated several sources of map data, and established an account with the provider who offered the best value.
In lieu of using expensive (about $45,000/year), inconvenient, locally installed geocoding software, I developed a multi-tier procedure for matching addresses to map locations. I used the data from the CD-ROM, where quality was good. I used the geocoding capability of the GIS software to refine this. The remainder I sent to the premier provider of Internet based geocoding services, with which I had negotiated a 50% discount from standard rates. The total cost of this approach is under $20,000 per year.
I tested my procedures in the course of preparing several mapping orders, and fixing errors in orders filled by the prior mapping vendor. I also trained my replacement before leaving the company.
RESULTS: The company is in much better competitive position due to my efforts. The company is enjoying annual savings of at least $125,000, in addition to enjoying more control over the process and a higher quality product. The relationship I set up with the GIS company is still a significant part of the company's business to this day.