GeoWorld January 2013

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Give Us More Partnerships! MUNICIPALMATTERS I t's a new year, so "Municipal Matters" is moving on to a new topic: partnerships. This isn't a particularly new concept, but the city of Vancouver has witnessed and been involved in several different types of partnerships, and we thought it would be interesting to describe them, what we learned from them, and why we think they're beneficial. This column reflects on experiences at the city of Vancouver and not the broader industry. Vancouver has been involved in partnerships between two vendors as well as between the city and a BY JONATHAN MARK vendor. Some have been formal, with legal documentation governing the relationship, while others have been much more casual. In some cases, the city sat on the sidelines, cheering the formation of a vendor partnership. Here's an obvious point: in a real partnership, all partners bring something to the table, and all benefit. One partner BY DAN CAMPBELL shouldn't expect to only receive benefits without bringing anything to the other side. Although partnerships can take several forms, our experience has focused on the following: Data Interoperability Partnerships These partnerships exist and are important. The focus here is making it easier for one vendor to read and utilize data created using a different vendor's software through the development and/or use of standards. This may involve making changes to metadata in a database so there's a more-consistent approach, resulting in greater flexibility for the client base, as it has more freedom to choose. An example As a mature customer, the city of Vancouver is looking for solutions that work, and it's interested in exploring options, looking for opportunities and making progress. Partnerships are a significant way of Jonathan Mark is the senior manager, GIS and CADD Services, for the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; e-mail: jonathan.mark@ Dan Campbell is a graphics planner with the city of Vancouver; e-mail: dan.campbell@ 12 Non-Existent Partnerships Technically, these don't really count, because there aren't two entities that have formed anything. But they're mentioned because they have historically been rather prevalent. Vendors and customers alike focus on "doing it themselves." A customer may use software from only one vendor and live or die with how that vendor's functionality works (or doesn't work). Vendors may take the perspective that they can do it all—or everything that's important—and figure that any cooperation with another vendor weakens their competitive position. However, clients are becoming less satisfied with the limitations of a "one size fits all" solution. G E O W O R L D / J A N U A R Y 2 O 1 3 getting there. of such a partnership occurred in 2004, when a database vendor and four other GIS vendors came together to make each other's data more accessible when stored in a spatial database. Although not fitting the true definition of a partnership, a vendor that focuses on software to extract, transform and load data from one software product to another also serves to improve interoperability and data reuse. Being able to move data from almost any spatial format to any other Imagery/LIDAR Special Issue

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