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A design and implementation methodology for land information systems : a case study


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Love, William R (William Rutherford) (1985) A design and implementation methodology for land information systems : a case study. Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The design and implementation of a Land Information System (LIS) is a
complex undertaking involving considerable resources. The justification for
such a venture is twofold. Firstly, to provide more accurate, complete and
timely information for use at either routine or strategic management levels.
Secondly, to eliminate both, the extensive duplication of data across
government organisations, together with the deficiencies of data retrieval in
the existing paper filing systems.
Land Information Systems are in many respects closely related to, and
have been plagued by problems and failures similar to those faced by
Management Information Systems (MIS) and Decision Support Systems (DSS). There
has been considerable research and empirical studies conducted in an attempt
to understand the nature of these problems and formulate strategies to
overcome them. In most cases the research efforts concentrate on the technical
aspects of systems development and propose technically oriented solutions.
There is, however, a growing awareness that some other, less tangible,
factors have a greater impact on the design, implementation and operation of
Land Information Systems than merely technical considerations. This argument
suggests that the interplay of people, organisations and politics is the
dominant factor influencing LIS development.
Land Information Systems evolution has been influenced greatly by Data
Processing professionals, therefore, it is not surprising that a technical
bias has prevailed. The oponents of this theory are generally computer
literate professionals, although trained in a separate discipline, and occupy
administrative or management positions in land related organisations. From
such positions, theirs is a global perspective, and offers an embracing view
of all aspects and influences at play. Nevertheless, this argument is not
widely supported. The experience and advice offered by overseas US 'experts'
endorses the 'people-political' argument, but this advice falls on deaf ears.
The LIS community, at large, remains beholden to the technocrats. Meanwhile,
many LIS implementation attempts in this country continue to struggle without
attaining a significant level of success. This thesis is a case study in which the author acted as a consultant
for the Hydro Electric Commission of Tasmania with the brief to undertake the
design, development and installation of a LIS within the Commission's Survey
section. The implementation strategy for this project was designed with the
specific intention of overcoming the 'people-political' problems discussed in
the section above. Importantly, therefore, the consultancy provided the
opportunity, through an evaluation of the experience, to identify the critical
factor influencing LIS development. Determination of the 'people-political'
problem as the critical factor would justify the emphasis placed on this issue
In the design of the methodology. It would also indicate a new direction for
the practice of LIS implementation.
The detailed objectives of the contract were to:
(i) devise and implement a methodology for developing a
LIS for an operational environment,
(ii) observe and analyse the typical problems encountered
during systems development,
(iii) formulate improvements to the devised implementation methodology
based on its observed performance,
(iv) make a more informed evaluation of other LIS research and
empirical study.
The thesis is concerned with the design and development of an
operational LIS, and has the following structure.
Chapter one examines the relationship between the development of a LIS
and other Information Systems. The tradional Systems Development Life-Cycle is
briefly outlined then two, more detailed, sections discuss its known •
deficiencies and some recent attempts to improve the methodology. The final
section suggests why the traditional methodology is incapable of successfully
developing an LIS, and proposes a new strategy.
Chapter two, firstly, introduces the development environment for the HEC
project. It describes the organisation's structure, objectives, methods and
problems. The nature of its existing data storage and retrieval systems are
outlined in addition to the type of data it holds and the information it
requires. Secondly, the formulation of a hybrid methodology for system
development is discussed. The third, and final section of this chapter,
describes each stage of the implementation methodology as it was performed in
the HEC project. The purpose of chapter three is to evaluate the methodology. This task
is approached in two sections. The first of these investigates some current
techniques for measuring the success of an Information System and applies
these to the Hydro Electric Commission LIS. The second approach analyses the
achievements at each stage of the System Development Life-Cycle and compares
these with their respective objectives and expected achievements.
The purpose of chapter four, therefore, is to investigate and propose
modifications to improve the implementation methodology. In addition to
strategic improvements, some software considerations, such as the User
Interface, Fourth Generation 'Languages and Database Management Systems are
also the subject of discussion.
The thesis concludes with a summary of the achievements of the Hydro
Electric Commission LIS project. In particular, the proposed improvements to
the implementation methodology are stressed.
A more significant objective of the conclusion, however, is to emphasise
three issues which, if followed, will assist those involved in LIS development
toward the successful implementation LISs in Australia.

Item Type: Thesis (Unspecified)
Keywords: Land use
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1985 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references. Thesis (M.Surv.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1986. Spine title: A design and implementation strategy for L.I.S

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:29
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2017 07:57
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