GeoWorld November 2012

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Tip #4 Continued: but the way the data were developed and maintained was the same. Slowly, and after many other smaller tasks were completed through the collaboration group, a unified data schema was developed. This one robust data schema serves each city and the county's needs, but it also allows for different levels of implementation. One city can take the schema and only use the core attributes, while a different city might use all the attributes and table relationships. Either way, the core data are maintained at the local level and shared back out to the group. TIP #5 Stay Motivated to Collaborate, not Obligated As with any group, there will be small issues that threaten to derail the collaborative process. The group's founders, for example, might initially be responsible for most of the work. Common ground among cities and the county might be difficult to find. Personalities might not initially interact well. The point is to keep moving forward and push through these difficulties. As the group accomplishes its small goals, members will see these successes and become more motivated. As this happens, personality incompatibilities will diminish. This is essential if the group is comprised of members who participate voluntarily. If the group's founders stay motivated and try not to feel obligated or resentful of their initial effort, the group will eventually come together and begin to operate as envisioned. The first true test of FGCG's resolve came during the second year of its existence. The group was trying to achieve consensus on how to store street centerlines in a manner that was sufficiently robust to meet each city's and the county's enterprise system needs, yet was simple enough for less-experienced GIS professionals at each city to edit and maintain. After much discussion, the choice came down to an Esri-developed linear referencing schema or a more-traditional centerline schema developed by the group. Since FGCG was founded on the principle of finding commonalities and collaborative solutions that would meet everyone's needs, the group needed a unanimous decision. Having all cities in Fulton County use the same centerline schema was essential to data sharing. A cohesive fabric of centerlines for the entire county—with all cities participating except one—wouldn't work. The solution was to incorporate elements of the linear referencing model into the new schema that was developed. The simple schema originally envisioned Government Special Issue Images show the efforts of city-limit boundary reconciliation among two cities and Fulton County. became much more capable through the use of related tables and more-robust attributes. Was the final product a true linear referencing system? No, it was not. But the final product was a truly collaborative solution that worked for all the cities of Fulton County, and it continues to serve the diverse needs of all the other government agencies that developed it. This first major FGCG project proved the value of collaboration. Seemingly different cities and counties can find innovative solutions that meet everyone's needs and keep everyone moving forward together. Nick O'Day is GIS manager, city of Johns Creek, Ga.; e-mail: Chris Whatley is GIS supervisor, and Issac Standard is GIS manager, Fulton County Government, IT GIS; e-mail: and, respectively. N O V E M B E R 2 O 1 2 / W W W . G E O P L A C E . C O M 17

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