University of Tasmania

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

posted on 2023-05-27, 23:31 authored by Love, WR
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.


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

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