NKAPC expenditures for GIS pay off in a big way

NKAPC GIS staff worked hard to assist government entities in Kenton County in obtaining $1.7 million in grants and return on investments (ROI) during fiscal year 2011 (July 2010 through June 2011). This amounts to an almost three-fold return on investment when considering what it costs to fund NKAPC’s GIS department.

“Over the past few months, staff has answered numerous questions from elected officials about the cost and value of GIS,” said Trisha Brush, GISP, deputy director for GIS administration. “We were able to show how GIS data used by agencies throughout the region returned $2.9 million in grants, awards, and cost savings to local communities. Well over half of that amount was awarded to Kenton County jurisdictions.”

These monetary and non-monetary benefits include data quality projects, emergency communications money, a landslide project due to heavy spring rains that resulted in a FEMA grant for Kenton County, savings from a pavement coordination program, and a brownfields grant.

The Kentucky Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS) Emergency Telecommunications Board distributes funds collected from mobile phone usage to member agencies, said Ms. Brush, and county emergency dispatch units must submit a survey and GIS data, including centerlines from the LINK-GIS master street address guide, zip codes included in dispatch areas, and cell tower locations when submitting grant applications. Covington obtained $164,750 from CMRS; Kenton County $177,998 in CMRS funds; and Erlanger, $247,672 for those same services. GIS data is a required submittal in order for the local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to receive CMRS funding. These data submittals are an annual occurrence for all three dispatch centers.

GIS data was leveraged as an in-kind support which aided in the Covington City Center Action Plan proposal. The city was awarded $359,300 in grant monies to examine how the Covington city center will evolve over the next 20 years, Ms. Brush said. Covington’s center is generally described as the area south of the Ohio River to 12th Street, east to the Licking River and west to I-75.

Another $18,000 was attributed to Envista program savings for the city of Covington; Envista’s GIS-based pavement coordination software facilitated the savings for the city and Northern Kentucky Water District, Ms. Brush said.

The availability and existing Kenton County brownfield GIS database assisted the Northern Kentucky Area Development District to obtain a $100,000 for brownfield redevelopment. The funds are to be used in Kenton County focusing on the Licking River Greenway and will lead to more detailed identification of areas once used for industrial purposes that can be reused for a variety of purposes once cleaned up, Ms. Brush said.

So far this fiscal year, GIS maps were and data were required in gaining a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Roads/Clean-Up Grant: $251,042 to Kenton County; $93,633 to Covington; $10,548 to Crescent Springs; and $1,000 to Bromley.

“We have every reason to believe that this fiscal year will produce an equal return on investment to Kenton County,” concluded Brush.