Once you have created a GISystem, it is time to evaluate the effectiveness of the system and how well it meets user needs. You have several evaluation methods depending on your GISystem Design, your users, and the needs requirements. It is important to frequently evaluate your system as an interative approach to GISystem maintenance.
A critical decision point occurs after a conceptual design has been created and before detailed design is initiated. Here, supervisor or client approval are required for a commitment in money, staff, effort, and potential business disruption. All organizations will make such commitments when expecting payoff to justify the effort. Such justification begins with assigning a value to the benefits and the costs of acquiring the capability. This often leads to what has become known as a benefit–cost analysis or economic analysis.
The evaluation and economic analysis section of the project builds a case for continuing product development beyond the conceptual design phase. This case provides a general financial estimate statement of the costs and expenses. We are seeking a detailed accounting. Experience has shown that documenting GISystem benefits is difficult because of the lack of baseline information and unobtainable costs. Even direct savings have proven difficult to determine since savings are often actually experienced in other operational areas that use GISsystem.
The Future Work section summarizes principal technical and non-technical features of the product. Unresolved issues should be highlighted at this time. Future work is outlined in an anticipated work schedule with milestones for the next phase of the project. Here is where you ask for approvals or authorizations for project continuation.
This week, you will be justifying your cost/benefit analysis, elucidating future work, and discussing your evaluation methods with the following:
- An explanation and justification of the evaluation method(s) you chose to implement
- A cost/benefit analysis including a justification for the specific costs of the design (software, data, salary, etc.).
- Discussion of the future work, including an anticipated work schedule with milestones and any unresolved issues.
Once you are ready, move on to the Lesson 7 Term Project: Evaluation