As GIS technology continues its diffusion throughout the county, an increasing amount of Information Technology staff time is being devoted to supporting the expanding network and installed user base. Included under the technical support umbrella are responsibilities for system administration, database administration, documentation, data distribution, end-user consultation and training, and application programming.
System administration includes tasks such as installing new software and upgrades, managing user accounts and hardware devices, performing systematic back-up of all file systems and on-demand data restoration, configuring new hardware devices, monitoring connectivity and processing for maximum efficiency, managing application licensing and print queues, and troubleshooting problems.
Operating system and application software upgrades must be managed carefully because each brings with it enormous change. Users benefit from new features and enhanced functionality but they suffer the pains of installation and reconfiguration. Routines that previously worked flawlessly sometimes no longer work at all. Programs and procedures must be modified accordingly.
Each new user and device added to the network has an impact. Each device possesses a unique hardware/software configuration that must be evaluated for its ability to run GIS software and integrate correctly. A review of other software applications currently installed and drives being utilized must be performed to avoid conflicts.
Database structure and administration
The county's GIS data are stored in a central database residing on the ArcSDE GIS Database Server. Thus, any user on the GIS network may view countywide geographic data from a common source. This centralized "data warehouse" provides an efficient and secure means of maintaining the GIS data.
Centralized database administration using ArcSDE makes GIS information readily accessible online for query purposes to all users on the network. Each data layer may be easily updated by its owner but is protected from inadvertent change or deletion while in the hands of a casual user. The data are more available while at the same time more protected than ever before.
One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of keeping a system running is the documentation of the database as well as system administration procedures.
The GIS Data Dictionary provides documentation on all datasets housed in the central GIS data warehouse. Designed to assist the user in navigating through the GIS database, it includes links to metadata for each layer in the database. A layer bibliography and a detailed description (metadata) of each individual data layer comprise the bulk of the document.
System documentation is thorough as well. Subsequent to each hardware and software upgrade, system administration procedures are checked and updated as required. System documentation also includes daily operational procedures such as the methods to monitor print queues and system processes, problem resolution logs, backup and restore logs, and system guidelines such as adding and removing users or equipment to the network.
Many federal, state, and local agencies as well as private sector parties seek data from Volusia County. A number of partnerships have been developed whereby data have been freely exchanged among agencies. Municipal datasets were provided to Volusia County cities initiating their own GIS programs, giving them the opportunity to jump start their own GIS programs. This allowed data standards to be established which will ensure compatibility between County and City systems.
Volusia County makes its digital data available for download via the Internet and through our public library system.
Training and consulting
GIS staff provides in-house staff training and consults on proposals for integration of GIS with other enterprise systems such as the Public Works Lucity system and Growth Management’s AMANDA system. View our latest training schedule.
Our GIS software is capable of being customized using the Python programming language and is enhanced with a variety of add-ins such as Hazus-MH, X-Tools, and Publisher for ArcGIS. Another area of concentration for GIS programmers is that of internet-based interactive mapping applications. Currently, Volusia County GIS maintains several of these interactive maps.