Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Enterprise Architecture and GIS

Enterprise Architecture is a continuous practice of aligning the resources of a business with the objectives of that business.  At a broad level Enterprise Architecture considers:
  • Business Architecture
    Commercial model, process model, organisation mode
  • Technology Architecture
    Application mode, infrastructure model
  • Data Architecture
    Data models, information products
GIS is very much relevant to Enterprise Architecture because it can both enable and hinder each of these tiers.  Business processes have traditionally needed to work around limitations imposed by GIS technologies because the transfer of spatial data between systems, departments, and hence successive steps in a workflow have been so problematic.  This has been caused primarily by limitations within the technology and data tiers. 

The concept of a 'GIS System' is starting to evaporate as spatial facilities emerge within other components.  Databases (e.g. Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, Postgis) and data formats (e.g. GML, GeoPDF) are rapidly maturing and are available for use by a much wider community than the traditional 'hard core GISers' and thus we are starting to see components of the IT stack become spatially-aware.  This is the natural evolutionary path for GIS and is the model that we should be designing for.  As these technologies mature I think  it is important that the Enterprise Architects and IT Architects are aware of the current and emerging opportunities, and limitations, afforded by spatial technologies.   


GIS Application Development said...

This post is very useful for beginners in the field of GIS. It helps to know about Enterprise GIS Architecture. Keep on writing..

Stu said...

Hi Graham

This is a very relevant article: as we've moved away from the concept of a COTS package, where the 'enterprise' was an old-style GIS department that provided a service, into something that can be integrated within an organisation. It's all part of the move towards location being identified as a common link between data sets within an organisation. As time goes on, and as people realise the benefits of GIS, I expect this to continue.