Forest Service

Status of Geographic Information System Acquisition Gao ID: IMTEC-89-27 March 6, 1989

GAO provided information on the Forest Service's planned Geographic Information System (GIS), focusing on the: (1) Service's intended use of GIS; (2) estimated cost for GIS development and implementation; (3) Service's major actions to date; and (4) key steps toward acquiring GIS.

GAO found that the Forest Service: (1) plans to use GIS to store, retrieve, analyze, and present spatially referenced information on national forests and grasslands; (2) plans to store information on land ownership, vegetation and soil types, water location, and land elevation; (3) believes that the system will enhance its ability to effectively and efficiently manage forests, and provide rapid information retrieval and resource analysis; (4) intends to purchase about 3,200 GIS work stations to install in its 123 supervisors' offices and 653 ranger districts; (5) estimated GIS development, implementation, and operating costs at about $255 million through fiscal year 1995, and up to an additional $1 billion to gather and convert data; (6) is currently developing the GIS information base, preparing field units, procuring technology, and planning for GIS installation to begin by 1991; and (7) needs to document its requirements and prepare a feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis prior to GIS approval by the Department of Agriculture and the General Services Administration.

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