How to do GIS System Analysis Before Starting a GIS Project

Here I write the basic  questions to a customer before starting a GIS project. This is a document I prepaired to help to our Partners.

1.  Requests

Requests of the client and potential system proposals should be listed

What type of system they want.(Internal, Web GIS, )

Who is going to use the system to do what.

What is the main purpose of the system.

Do they require syncronisation with another system

How many concurrent users expected.

What is the most detailed scale of the project.

What is the extent of the project.  

2.  Users

The Users should be examined in two classes.

Internal Users of the System and External Users of the system.

a.   External Users

External Users can be divided into 2 classes

                                         i.    Other Institutions

If there is any other institution that colloborates in this system. The relationship between this 2 systems should be reported. Whether they are serving each other spatial services or Non Spatial information that is syncronised should be listed.

                                       ii.    Citizens

Citizens and the audience that is the system is intended to serve. Such as tourists,

b.   Internal Users

                                         i.    Personnel

Personnel should be divided into two classes.

The ones only uses desktop client to just view data.

The ones that are source of data, that updates and edits system. Their current role in the organisation.

                                       ii.    Management

The reports that are required by the management system. Authorisation policy. If possible get an organisation chart of the personnel.

3.  Data

At this level present data should be inspected for usage in the proposed system.

a.   Existing Systems

If the user is using a GIS system the system should be evaluated under the topics below.

                                         i.    Content of the system

The main purpose of the system. What are the main functions and what is the main purpose of the system.

                                       ii.    Type of the system

If system is only a desktop solution, or with web applications?.

Does it use a central geodatabase.

                                      iii.    Update Procedure Of The System

The interface and the structure of GIS updates should be inspected. If the system is updated through a contractor or the users of the institution are updating the system should be explained.

If the users in institution are updating the system the methodology they use for updates and edits should be briefly explained in the final report.

                                      iv.    Updater and Users of The System

Which department updates the system and who are the users of the system.

                                        v.    GIS Data

If there is GIS system in the institution the GIS  layers and the subject of the GIS system should be asked.

If there is possibility gathering a small amount of data can be useful for modeling the system and prepairing a demo.

1.     Layer Names

The layers of the existing GIS data should be asked and the content of the layers should be listed with their relations with other tables or layers.

2.     Data Format

The format of the data should be asked such as SHP files Mapinfo Tab Files or geodatabases etc.

b.   Non Spatial Data & Systems

If the client has a database system that is already running or there are some files like excel files they might be data source for GIS system or a integration between two systems can be possible. In order to analyse this possibility the system should be briefly examined according to the topics below.

If there is possibility a small amount of data can be useful for modeling the system and prepairing a demo.

                                         i.    Format

Format of non spatial data

                                       ii.    Description

Description of the system and the purpose of the system should be inspected.

                                      iii.    Updater & Users Of the System

The departments who use and update this systems should be listed.

                                      iv.    Update Procedure

Update procedure of the system should be inspected whether the user is updating the system with a custom application or a web application.

c.   Paper Map Data

If the institution has paper maps that they want to present on webgis or if they want them to be digitized information should be asked.

  • Count of Maps to add to system.
  • Scale of the maps
  • Coordinate system of the maps.
  • If the paper maps are already scanned. Format of them.
  • Georeferencing status of the scanned maps.
  • Resolution  of the scanned maps.

If there is possibility gathering a small amount of data can be useful for modeling the system and prepairing a demo.

d.   Cad Files

If the client still using cad files, and wants to embed them in the system. The topics below should be cleared.

If there is possibility gathering a small amount of data can be useful for modeling the system and prepairing a demo.

                                         i.    Content

Content of the CAD files should be asked. For example development plan, cadastre information, building bodies,

                                         i.        Data Format

The data format of the cad file should be asked

NCZ,DWG,DXF, DGN for example

                                       ii.        Updater

The department of the CAD file producer or updater. For each file should be written.

                                      iii.        User

The users of the cad files per each cad file should be listed. For Example

Cad File Development Plan – Users Cadastre Department, Utility Department


e.   Imagery

If the institution has any remote sensing imagery or aerial imagery to use in the system. Information about them should be asked.


Input topics should be

Resolution Of the Image (Such as 1×1 m)

Source of the image. ( Such as aerial, quickbird, ikonos etc.)

Format of the image(GeoTiff, ECW, SID)

Approximate coverage Area of the image.

Year Imagery was taken

In case the Imagery is hyperspectral band informations.

If the institution doesnt have any imagery, can they buy it or gather it from other resources?

4.  Software

Current Software status of the client should be examined under this topics.

a.   Database Software

If the client is using Database software what is the name of the software. Version information. Licencing information. The systems running on this databases. Clients opinion about changing the database system or using other database systems with present system.

b.   WebGIS Software

If the client is using Web GIS software what is the name of the application. Developer information. Licencing information. The site address of the system. If it is password protected system a demo password with limited functionality.

c.   Web Server Software

What is the web server software, version, licence information.

d.   GIS Software

GIS software Name, Version, Number of licenses.

e.   Cad Software

Current CAD Software. Version and number of licences.

5.  Hardware

Hardware structure of the Institution Should be explained under this topics

a.   Server Hardware

If the Institution has its own server technical specifications of the server(s) should be listed.

Processor Speed and Core Count:


Harddisk Capacity:

Raid Disk Configuration:

Operating System.

The Current Systems already running on this hardware.

b.   User PC Specifications

The users who are going to update and edit data and use CAD/GIS systems should be listed. And if possible their current system configuration will be useful.

c.   Internet Connection Speed

Internet Connection Speed of the client is important if the client is going to serve Web GIS through this connection. What are the upload and download speeds? How many people in the institution is using this connection. What type of Infrastructure do they have(Fiber,Adsl, etc.). What is the maximum upload and download speed that they can upgrade if needed?.

d.   LAN & WAN Status

Lan and Wan status of the client should be reported. If the client has 2 or more network locations such as 2 different buildings in other parts of the city. How do they connect what is the infrastructure for connecting for this two buildings. Locations of the system desktop clients according to this network topology has to be explained.Network Cable type (Cat6 -Cat5 -Etc). Speed of WAN and LAN should be asked.


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