Geographic information system (GIS) technology has been in use in local government (e.g., municipalities, townships, cities, counties) organizations for decades. In most, the GIS started in one department then gradually gained acceptance and was adopted in others. However, this expansion frequently resulted in isolated or, at best, loosely related departmental systems throughout the organization. Although efficiencies were gained within individual departments, the full potential of GIS to the organization as an enterprise did not materialize. Both technical and operational impediments yielded this result. Cityworks software is one of the few systems to address the technical barriers that have hampered the seamless integration of GIS throughout an organization. Advances in technology, particularly software interfaces and methods; the variety of hardware platforms (e.g., mobile devices, multicore processors); have all positively impacted the implementation of GIS as an enterprise technology, or EGIS. The term enterprise refers to looking at the entire governmental structure as a single entity supported by information systems that can be used in combination to produce the information products required by end users while minimizing data and process redundancies. The role of an EGIS is to deliver spatial data and software tools as one of the enterprise IT systems used to provide information products to a large number of potentially varied users. The data and software tools of the EGIS may be delivered independent of other information systems but most frequently are integrated with the data resources and software tools of those systems to add value in support of departmental and organizational business functions. In particular, EGIS provides a framework for collaboration and communication by organizing and sharing data and information based on a common frame of reference—location.

Local governments, whether large or small, have departments that perform hundreds of business functions in providing services to the community. Most of these business functions have location as an aspect of their operation. The effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of information and services can be improved by taking advantage of GIS. For example, a recent study of a midsized California city identified more than 300 business functions performed by 24 departments that currently or potentially could make use of GIS applications. Furthermore, analysis revealed that in excess of two-thirds of the business functions identified for this city shared common patterns of information processing, analysis, reporting, and management. Evaluations of other local government organizations have also revealed that a similar percentage of their business functions are characterized by these same shared patterns. As a result, local governments are ideal candidates for an EGIS approach. By taking advantage of the services model to deliver the full spectrum of GIS and IT functionality, the business needs of a diverse group of end users can be met.

An enterprise-wide model allows all departments, even those with little or no GIS experience, to share and easily access data, which facilitates better communication, improves data integrity, and enhances productivity. Esri and Cityworks software is the number one choice of local governments worldwide for their enterprise mapping, land management, and asset management needs. Using this enterprise model, local government employees have discovered how to perform traditional tasks more efficiently and to accomplish tasks that were previously impractical or impossible.