Executive Scan Tour Report
Geospatial Technology for Improved Decision Making in Transportation

Observations and Moving Forward

Prepared for the Office of Interstate and Border Planning
Federal Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

I. Introduction
Context and Objectives

II. Observations
Common Challenges
Business Models and Practices

III. Moving Forward
The Next Five Years

APPENDIX A. Scan Team Members, Hosts, and Site Presenters
APPENDIX B. Executive Scan Questionnaire

Executive Summary

Geospatial technologies are emerging as robust tools to help improve transportation decision-making. These tools, which are becoming increasingly user-friendly, accessible, and cost-effective, are transforming the ways transportation agencies can store, manipulate, analyze, and present data relevant to transportation needs. With the development of innovations in geospatial technologies likely to continue, it is important for transportation agencies to consider the present state of the art, as well as what might be available and possible within the near future.

In 2004, the Transportation Research Board published "Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Transportation Organizations: Toward a Foundation for Improved Decision Making."1 The report provides recommendations for improving geospatial information infrastructure among and across all modes of transportation. The findings of the report, which drew on information presented at three workshops during 2002, focused on institutional roles and responsibilities; capacity and commitment building; and geospatial information. The recommendations made were based on these findings and were addressed to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) - an agency the report authors viewed should take a leadership role in coordination of geospatial technology initiatives for multimodal transportation.

In response to the report’s recommendations, as well as to a growing need and capacity at transportation agencies to successfully implement geospatial technologies, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sponsored the Executive Scan Tour on Geospatial Technology for Improved Decision Making in Transportation (Executive Scan) in the fall of 2005. The focus of the Executive Scan Tour was on noteworthy practices that are leading to the advancement of cutting edge geospatial applications. By highlighting the success stories, methodologies, and lessons learned of several public and private organizations, the Executive Scan Tour aimed to identify the critical information needed by transportation executives to enhance decision-making through breakthroughs in the implementation of geospatial technology and expertise.

The Executive Scan Tour team was comprised of transportation leaders from State Departments of Transportation (State DOT).2 In requesting their involvement in the tour, it was anticipated that these executives could successfully influence the use of current and future geospatial technologies at their agencies and identify the business strategies conducive to widespread, successful implementation at State DOTs nationwide. Other scan team members included representatives from FHWA’s Office of Interstate and Border Planning, the FHWA Resource Center, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the U.S.DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and Virginia Tech University.

During trips to two States (San Diego, CA - October 2005 and Harrisburg, PA - November 2005), the scan team visited a combination of State DOTs, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), local associations of governments, and commercial vendors to learn about the history of current, transportation-related geospatial applications and the challenges faced during implementation; business models and practices that support investment in these applications; as well as, trends and promising applications potentially implemented within the next five years.

The prevailing lessons learned included:

  • The value of geospatial technologies should be clearly articulated to executive decisionmakers and linked to their performance plans, goals, and objectives.
  • Transportation agencies should be organized and business processes developed that support geospatial technologies and a favorable working environment.
  • An appropriate array of skills should be hired.
  • Provide real-time information to help customers make more informed decisions.

The Executive Scan Tour Report is intended to summarize lessons learned and other observations made over the two trips of the Executive Scan Tour. The report sets the context for a one-day workshop in which the scan team will reconvene and meet with transportation executive invitees from across the country. Together, workshop participants expect to formulate an action plan for facilitating the implementation of geospatial technologies at transportation agencies. The workshop is planned for February 2006.

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Context and Objectives

Geospatial technology refers to the tools and science used to gather, store, analyze, and present data that are referenced to the earth by some type of real-world coordinate system (e.g., a map projection). These tools generally include geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, thematic mapping, image processing, Global Positioning Systems (GPS). Because of their ability to convey more information than is sometimes visible, emerging geospatial technologies have great potential to improve decision-making at State Departments of Transportation (State DOTs).

In its 2004 report "Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Transportation Organizations: Toward a Foundation for Improved Decision Making," the Transportation Research Board (TRB) describes challenges limiting successful implementation of a comprehensive geospatial information infrastructure. Two of these challenges were:

  • "the lack of or limited awareness on the part of decision makers, particularly at the level of resource allocation, about the availability and use of the geospatial information infrastructure and potential cost of making decisions without geospatial information," and
  • "the inability of organizations (a) to keep pace with the rapid expansion of this technology, (b) to ensure that staff receive the necessary training to effectively use the technology, and (c) to expand their business processes to fully enable the technology."

The report also offered recommendations to the United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) for developing new and strengthening existing approaches for addressing these and other challenges.3 The recommendations focused on institutional roles and responsibilities; capacity and commitment building; and geospatial information.

In response to the report’s recommendations, as well as in general support of the development and adoption of geospatial technologies at State DOT’s, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sponsored an Executive Scan Tour on Geospatial Technology for Improved Decision Making in Transportation (Executive Scan). The purpose of the Executive Scan, which included site visits in San Diego, California (Oct. 2005) and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (Nov./Dec. 2005), was to identify and understand the critical information needed by transportation executives to improve decision-making through use of geospatial technology. By listening to the experiences that State DOTs, MPOs, and commercial vendors have had in implementing geospatial technologies for transportation decision-making, Executive Scan team members hoped to learn about practices that can prove successful in fully realizing the growing possibilities geospatial technologies offer.

Other goals of the scan were to:

  • Develop an understanding of the factors leading to the implementation of specific geospatial applications at presenters’ organizations;
  • Identify business practices and models used to support the advancement of geospatial technologies;
  • Study the institutional arrangements that foster successful partnerships;
  • Promote GIS champions within State DOTs and determine creative ways to make a business case for investment in geospatial technologies; and,
  • Expose members of the transportation community to future geospatial applications.

The scan team that worked towards achieving these goals consisted of leaders from California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Idaho Department of Transportation (IDOT), New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), as well as staff from FHWA’s Office of Interstate and Border Planning, the FHWA Resource Center, the Transportation Research Board (TRB), the U.S.DOT Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the U.S. DOT Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and Virginia Tech University. See Appendix A for a full list of scan team members.


This section briefly describes the organizations that were invited to present during the two scan visits. These organizations were asked to speak to the group because they had been identified as being leaders in geospatial technology development and/or implementation, or were believed to be able to offer valuable insight into the challenges faced when implementing such technologies.

San Diego, California - October 24-26, 2005

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
In San Diego, the Scan Team met with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). SANDAG is the regional planning agency for San Diego County and is comprised of the region’s 19 local governments. SANDAG’s main program areas are land use and regional growth, transportation, housing, economics and finance, environment, borders, and public safety.

Having used geospatial technologies since early in the 1970s, SANDAG has developed an extensive GIS and continues to pioneer innovative approaches to geospatial database development, maintenance, analysis and display. In order to continually improve and develop more uses for its geospatial technologies, SANDAG has formed partnerships and data sharing agreements with several agencies, including SANGIS, San Diego State University (SDSU) Department of Geography, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ERSI), and Earth Resources Data Analysis System (ERDAS), among others.

Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
As the largest council of governments in the United States, Southern California Association of Governments functions as the MPO for six Southern California counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura and Imperial. This region of over 38,000 square miles supports a population over 15 million. In San Diego, SCAG representatives described how the MPO has successfully used geospatial applications as decision-support tools. A demonstration of how SCAG has partnered with Google Earth was also given.

Caltrans, District 11
District 11 of the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) is located in the southernmost part of California, and includes San Diego County and Imperial County. District 11 oversees approximately 1,000 miles of freeways and highways, both urban and rural. The district is also involved with local agencies to develop a diverse multimodal transportation system that includes light rail, transit, as well as commuter rail and high-occupancy vehicle programs and facilities.

Founded in 1969, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), in Redlands, California, was founded as a private consulting firm specializing in land use analysis projects. In 1982, ESRI released its first software application, called ArcGIS. Over the past 20 years, this software application has evolved into an integrated collection of GIS software that can be used on desktops, servers, and mobile devises. ESRI professional services also provide GIS consultation to businesses interested in implementing GIS technologies.

In San Diego, ESRI discussed with the scan team how innovations in computer technology and software have fueled the rapid growth of sophisticated geospatial operations and applications within State DOTs. Challenges that commercial vendors face when working with State DOTs were also described.

The mission of SanGIS, which was established in 1984, is "to maintain and promote the use of a regional geographic data warehouse for the San Diego area and to assist in the development of shared geographic data and automated systems which use that data." SanGIS was established in 1984, when the City and County of San Diego jointly initiated the Regional Urban Information System (RUIS) in an attempt to deliver municipal services in an increasingly complex and growing region. The primary goal of the RUIS was to develop an integrated GIS system designed to meet the needs of the San Diego area. Today, SanGIS is the central clearinghouse with over 400 layers of geographic data.

Google Enterprise Solutions, Inc.
Google Earth is an interactive, satellite-image software offered by Google. Google Earth is the newest generation of Keyhole Software and combines advanced 3-dimensional graphics and network streaming innovations to produce a high performance system that operates on personal computers. It also has the ability to integrate GIS data produced with other software vendors, such as ESRI’s ArcGIS. Their presentation highlighted uses of Google Earth for emergency response and potential uses for governmental agencies.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania - November 30 - December 1, 2005

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)
In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), hosted the scan team. PennDOT has an extensive collection of geospatial technologies, which it started accumulating in the late 1980s while attempting to digitize maps for the state. In 1990, a GIS working group was established to create a more focused effort on developing GIS in PennDOT. One of the longest ongoing projects has been the development and maintenance of the State’s base maps. The Department also uses GIS in the development of safety applications, interactive mapping and traffic monitoring systems.

In 1986, Pennsylvania State University faculty members founded GeoDecisions, a GIS mapping company in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. To support geospatial technologies, GeoDecisions provides many services, hardware and software applications, and client training. Its customers include commercial, environmental, government, homeland security, law enforcement, military, transportation, and utilities industries. Together with PennDOT, GeoDecisions has developed a new version of VideoLog, which allows users to virtually "drive" on roads while on their computer.

Intergraph SG&I
Intergraph Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I), located in Huntsville, Alabama, serves clients worldwide in both the private and public sector. The Geospatial Production Services of Intergraph SG&I includes many GIS and mapping services, as well as technical support. GeoMedia, Intergraph’s suite of GIS and mapping applications, is one of Intergraph’s primary GIS applications. Intergraph SG&I paired with PennDOT to develop a web-base for all of their GIS applications. In Harrisburg, Intergraph gave the scan team an overview of technology initiatives at the firm and descriptions of common challenges State DOTs face. The presenters also led a discussion focusing on the private-side perspective of working with DOTs.

New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT)
Many decisions and a lot of work at NYSDOT are done with a backdrop of geospatial information and the use of geospatial technologies. In NYSDOT’s Central Office, the GIS section is in the Information Technology (IT) division. In the regional offices, GIS work is done in planning divisions. An executive management team makes NYSDOT’s corporate GIS decisions. In Harrisburg, NYSDOT suggested ways to measure the effectiveness of geospatial technologies and to justify the budget for their implementation.

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)
VDOT, an agency expecting to shift to a customer-oriented, operations culture over the near future, has developed an enterprise GIS system. The system, which is publicly available on-line, uses a map-based graphical interface linked to various types of transportation data. VDOT also anticipates being able to provide geospatial information about its transportation networks around the clock, supporting the public’s mobility and providing for facilitated performance measurement.

Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT)
ODOT’s GIS is organizationally located in the Planning Division. In the early days, this GIS was used predominately to show crash-related data. Over time, ODOT began digitizing and analyzing other data sets. Now, ODOT has decentralized its GIS budgets and instituted an Organization Performance Index (OPI), which helps the Department measure system performance and provides GIS staff a setting for justifying investment in geospatial technologies.

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Common Challenges

During the two scan visits, presenters described some of the challenges public, private, and non-profit organizations face when implementing geospatial technologies for transportation decision-making. A majority of the challenges identified had overlapping themes despite being conveyed by different presenters. Below, these challenges are synthesized into five overarching obstacles many State DOTs are attempting to overcome.

Difficulty articulating value of geospatial technologies - Executives and decision-makers do not always understand the promise of geospatial technologies. It is sometimes difficult to make them aware that their decisions are based on results of geospatial analysis. GIS staffs often intuitively know that geospatial technologies are useful, but a clear case for further investment in them is not always made or documented. Sometimes the payoffs of using these technologies are not immediately apparent, as it is difficult to quantify the value of being able to do analyses not previously possible. However, without an unambiguous business rationale, convincing decisionmakers to dedicate funds to the development, operation, and/or maintenance of geospatial technologies can be challenging.

Lack of data standards - Without policies regarding data standards, State DOTs are often confronted with overcoming inconsistent basemaps and/or spending large amounts of time updating data. Additionally, vendor-supplied data is often licensed and cannot be shared. Because of issues related to homeland security and emergency response/recovery, State DOTs may be required to play a larger role in providing data normally acquired from the locals. Under these types of scenarios, State DOTs would likely need the ability and authority to share and distribute reliable, high-quality external datasets.

Unrealistic expectations - Technology changes expectations. Often expecting "a world of everything," end users’ imaginations can be a step ahead of what is currently possible. This can create in GIS staff a sentiment of "chasing the technology," causing them to feel pressure to deliver more and more each additional project.

Decision-makers also sometimes lack the understanding that significant time investments are required to develop geospatial applications. They may not recognize that new applications do not always work flawlessly during initial implementation. Without this insight, unfeasible demands might be made of staff.

Matching correct skill sets - In the past, geographers were primarily responsible for developing and operating geospatial technologies. Although geography skills remain necessary, geospatial technologies are requiring an increasingly IT-savvy user. Currently, many State DOTs lack a process, or necessary job descriptions, to hire geospatial staff with the appropriate level of IT skills. In addition, some State DOTs have organizationally separated GIS and IT divisions. For this reason, many GIS divisions are faced with determining how to most effectively partner and team build with their IT counterparts, instead of having the two skill sets integrated.

Timing system and software upgrades - Sometimes system and software upgrades between and within organizations are not temporally aligned. When this incompatibility occurs, one organization can be confronted with having to decide whether to move forward only to have to wait for its partners to catch up, or to postpone the planned upgrade(s). With end users asking that information be delivered more and more rapidly, such delays can be detrimental to a transportation project.

Similarly, some vendors are often tasked with developing complex "one-off," stand-alone applications. Since these applications are often developed at different times and with different requirements, it can be difficult to integrate the applications together and into the diverse business system.

Business Models and Practices

Several effective business practices were described during the scan tour. These ranged from innovative public-private partnerships and unique pricing schemes to top-down priority setting for geospatial technologies. In each case, staff had worked to garner the champion support of executive decision-makers within their respective agencies. Three business models/practices are summarized here:

San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) Partnership - Understanding that public service agencies are not always effective in collecting revenue from GIS products, SANDAG worked to develop a private, non-profit to serve this role. Since 1982, SANDAG has managed SourcePoint, a non-profit that does transportation analyses, growth projections, and other planning studies for private business and public agencies. Revenue that SourcePoint generates feeds SANDAG and SourcePoint programs.

In addition to this partnership, SANDAG has implemented a unified pricing structure. This fee structure, in which there is a 17% mark-up (a regional information system maintenance fee), is based on competitive market rates. Customers have been accepting of the mark-up, understanding that there is a need to maintain the system.

Virginia DOT Priority Setting - At VDOT, IT managers typically try to meet to determine geospatial application priorities. This usually involves a discussion of how to shift resources to meet customer needs. Monthly status reports are sent to the chiefs to inform them of project progress. With this information in hand, IT managers then meet annually with VDOT chiefs to further talk about priorities and how they can be best implemented.

Ohio DOT Roadway Deficiency Identification - ODOT’s Director is interested in learning where road network deficiencies are. In response, GIS staff has driven every mile of the state road network and GPS marked each incidence of litter, potholes, vandalized road signs, ditch obstructions, missing pavement markings, vegetation obstructions, etc. These data - or "deficiencies" - have been entered into the Department’s GIS so that the flaws can be tracked over time. ODOT can now determine whether the number of deficiencies is being improved and if not, then they can determine why not.


During the two scan visits, several effective practices for achieving successful implementation of geospatial technologies were identified. Summarized below, these practices can help State DOTs to overcome some of the challenges they commonly face.

Articulate value - In order to put geospatial technologies on the radar of executive decisions, it is necessary to be able to articulate the value of investments in them. Top-level executives often make decisions based on improving the conditions of assets, and thus the benefits and costs of developing geospatial applications is critical information for making these decisions and showing that results have indeed improved.

One effective way to do this is to keep geospatial applications small and affordable, while showing application developers how different aspects of the data feed the ultimate goal. By doing so, it can be easier to show decision-makers that meaningful accomplishments have been made along the way.

Organize agency divisions and hire appropriate skills - Focus on the business factors that lead to success and what accomplishments are desired. Often these factors do not involve the latest technology, but successful implementation of existing technologies. While technology development is not usually a limiting factor, getting an agency organized to be able to efficiently address issues with geospatial technologies is.

As an alternative to or in conjunction with reorganization, it is important to bring the appropriate skills into a geospatial application project from the project’s outset. When approaching major geospatial technology tasks, the skills needed on the project team include, but are not limited to: 1) "business people" who can verbalize application requirements and who can remain involved throughout the project’s life-cycle, and 2) IT people who think on the business-side. State DOTs can consider creating job descriptions that allow for the hiring of a staff with the appropriate balance of geography, IT, and business skills.

Manage expectations - "Faster and better" cannot always be delivered in respect to geospatial technologies’ outputs. It is important that the institutional knowledge developed around geospatial applications take this into account.

The development of "rogue" applications, or applications developed for one particular issue, sometimes do provide faster solutions. However, they are often developed without much regard to previously developed applications. Although they are sometimes the most creative applications, rogue applications must fit into and align with the bigger picture at State DOTs. Continued DOT support of the more traditional uses of geospatial technologies can help to manage any unrealistic expectations that rogue technologies may help perpetuate.

Other effective practices - Other practices that can be useful in the successful implementation of geospatial technologies for transportation include:

  • Plan work so asset management plans are linked to a corridor, e.g. an intercity corridor, a community corridor, a tourism corridor, a general use corridor, and/or a trade corridor. One place where a State DOT has tried to do this is in New York. NYSDOT has worked to link the performance of geospatial applications to decisions made along various regional corridors. Since the way that a transportation system serves a community is often a localized issue, using a "Corridor Approach" to geospatial technology implementation can help decision-makers develop context sensitive decisions.
  • Use State Planning and Research (SPR) funding. The planning portion of SPR funding has been a valuable funding source for developing geospatial applications and positions. State DOTs should look into how SPR’s research portion could be leveraged to develop applications.
  • Develop a plan for how to use information once a geospatial application or website is up and running. Understand how users will apply the information so that a business case can be made for continued investment to support operation and maintenance of the application or website.
  • Build partnerships within and between agencies. Determine a common interest around which partnerships can be developed. When built around a common interest, partners can specialize to most efficiently utilize resources.

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III. Moving Forward

The Next Five Years

The importance of geospatial technologies is likely to continue to grow within State DOTs. With the persistent lowering of hardware and storage costs, geospatial applications will likely provide a backdrop for most State DOT decisions. It is anticipated that not only will users be able to integrate geospatial applications more easily, but they will also have immediate access to real-time information flows. This will allow decision-makers to have continuous information about the conditions of their transportation systems.

These developments, which are expected to occur over the short-term, are briefly discussed below.

Continued development of web services and interoperability - There is a need to provide GIS data and tools to people without GIS expertise. This is a trend that is likely to continue. For this reason, the evolution of web services, or Internet-based applications that interact with other web applications for the purpose of exchanging data, is expected to continue over the next five years. The use of portals allowing for the sharing of specific application components of applications is also expected to surface.

This emergence likely means increased, seamless integration with other systems. State DOTs and GIS vendors alike expect the interoperability of geospatial technologies to improve. With the ability to gather information from a range of systems originally developed for different activities and analyses, decisions can be based on an understanding of conditions and issues perhaps more comprehensive than ever before. Similarly, users should be able to more easily import data from previously incompatible softwares. This will help further expand the utility of an agency’s geospatial infrastructure.

It is also foreseen that geospatial technologies will expand to systems not normally tied to geography, such as financial systems. All of the electronic systems will likely be able to communicate with each other, helping to ensure that decisions are as efficient and effective as possible.

Implementation of geospatial technologies at an enterprise level - Executive Scan Tour presenters anticipate that over the next five years, State DOTs will begin incorporating geospatial technologies into their existing business processes, giving everyone across a State DOT better access to information. Having then developed experience at measuring the performance of modern geospatial technologies, GIS managers will likely be equipped with enhanced data regarding the returns on investment in geospatial technologies. This should allow them to make a better business case to upper level management for enterprise level implementation. Because IT directors sometimes have less access to lead decision-makers, it is expected that planning directors at State DOTs will primarily be the ones conveying this message up the organizational ladder.

New Types of Partnerships - With roles concerning data and software development and maintenance shifting, it is expected that State DOTs will continue exploring new types of partnerships. In particular, public-private partnerships where State DOTs look towards private organizations to supply data are increasingly plausible. Although, this type of partnership can lead to data governance challenges, the opportunities they allow for in resource - both staff and funding - savings are potentially great.

A First Step - One-day Workshop

FHWA’s Office of Interstate and Border Planning is taking a first step towards seeing that some of the effective practices and success stories presented and assembled on the Executive Scan Tour carry over to other State DOTs and transportation agencies. On February 28, 2006, the Office is hosting a one-day workshop of transportation executives from across the country. These executives, as well as other invitees, will meet with the scan team to discuss the learning accomplished on the scan visits, as well as to draft an action plan that will help guide FHWA’s State DOT’s, and other transportation partners’ involvement and responsibilities in most effectively using geospatial information and technologies in current and future transportation activities.

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Appendix A. Scan Team Members, Hosts, and Site Presenters

Scan Team Members

Cassandra Allwell
U.S. DOT Volpe Center, DTS-46
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

Lindsay Banks
U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Office of Interstate & Border Planning
400 7th Street, SW
Room 3301-E
Washington, DC 20590

Dave Blackstone
Ohio Department of Transportation

Carol Brandt
Geospatial Information Program Manager
U.S.DOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration,
Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Robert Copp
Division Highway System Information, Chief
California Department of Transportation
1120 N Street, MS #38
Sacramento, CA 95814

Liza Fox
Chief Technology Officer, Information Technology
Idaho Department of Transportation
3311 West State St., P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707-1129

Kitty Hancock
Center for Geospatial Information Technology, Associate Director
Virginia Tech University
1101 King St. Suite 610
Alexandria, VA 22314

Stuart Leven
U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Office of Information Management Services
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590

Ysela Llort
Assistant Secretary of Intermodal Systems Development
Florida Department of Transportation
605 Suwannee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399

Tom Palmerlee
Keck Center of the National Academies
Transportation Research Board
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Roger Petzold
U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Office of Interstate & Border Planning
400 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20590

Carson Poe
Community Planner
U.S. DOT Volpe Center, DTS-46
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142

Brian Rowback
New York State Department of Transportation

Mark Sarmiento
U.S. DOT Federal Highway Administration
Office of Interstate & Border Planning
400 7th Street, SW
Room 3001-E
Washington, DC 20590

Dan Widner (presenter/participant)
Virginia Department of Transportation

Ben Williams
Federal Highway Administration
Resource Center
61 Forsyth St. Suite 17T26
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-3104

Scan Hosts
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Frank Desendi
Keystone Building
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
San Diego Association of Governments
Jeff Tayman, Department Director of Technical Services
401 B Street, Suite 800
San Diego, California 92101

Site Presenters

Roger Ewers, Bill Figge, Maurice Eaton, and Pat Landrum

Terry Bills

Ali Detar, Jesse Jay, Don Kiel, Tom Pietropola, Jon Pollack, Bill Schuman, and Brian Smith

Google Enterprise Solutions, Inc.
Andrea McCool

Mitch Stevens and Hank DiPietro

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
Ira Beckerman, Allen Biehler, William Crawford, and Frank DeSendi

Jeff Tayman

Lisa Stapleton

Southern California Association of Governments
Richard Maden and Ping Wang

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Appendix B. Executive Scan Questionnaire

In advance of their travel, the Scan Team provided the participating host sites with a questionnaire. The questions it included were intended to allow the hosts to prepare and plan for the scan team’s visit and to understand the types of information that were sought during the visit. The questionnaire was not intended to be formally answered, but instead, serve as a starting point for discussion during the site visits.


  1. How is geospatial information currently being used?
  2. What are some of your notable geospatial applications?
  3. Why was this use/application(s) created? In response to specific issues or needs?
  4. Who administers and/or manages application and/or data? Why?
  5. How is the application funded?
  6. What is the current status of the project/application?
  7. Who is involved in the project/application and why/how did they become involved?
  1. What have been the biggest obstacles to and successes of using geospatial information?
  2. Has using this application saved money/staff time? How much (estimate)?
  3. Did you outsource the work in developing the application or was it done mostly in-house?
  4. What unexpected issues, events and/or results have come out of using geospatial information?
  5. Has feedback from public/partnering agencies or anyone else involved in using the application been received? What was the nature of the feedback?
  6. What has been learned from this application/project? Do you have advice for others undertaking a project/application of this nature?
  1. What new projects/activities are planned? As a result of the new technology, are there issues that will be able to be addressed that were not being addressed before? What issues will not be addressed?
  2. Are there ways that the application is helping to make better transportation decisions?
  3. Do you expect to do more outsourcing of GIS services in the future or more in-house GIS work? Why?
  1. Can the Scan Team provide any technical or policy guidance to you or your community during the visit? If so, please describe the assistance requested.
  2. What topics do you recommend be covered at a workshop to develop an action plan for geospatial technology?

1Committee on Multimodal Transportation Requirements for Spatial Information Infrastructure. Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Transportation Organizations: Toward a Foundation for Improved Decision Making. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. Washington, D.C. 2004. Back

2See Appendix A for full list of Executive Scan Tour Team members. Back

3TRB’s Geospatial Information Infrastructure for Transportation Organizations: Toward a Foundation for Improved Decision Making is one of several previous calls for improved geospatial information. Page 30, as well as Appendix C of the TRB report cites and annotates reports recognizing or evaluating the need for geospatial data as part of a comprehensive information decision-support environment. Back
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