Dec. 20, 2011
King County GIS Center marks a decade of information, education, revenue generation
On Jan. 8, 2002, the newly formed King County Geographic Information System (KCGIS) Center welcomed its first 13 students to a certified GIS training class.
This month, just shy of its 10th birthday, KCGIS Center hosted its 145th class – the latest opportunity for King County employees, and staff from numerous other counties, cities, utilities, state agencies, Indian tribes and others, to get cost-effective training from leaders in the field of GIS.
“While we developed our in-house GIS training program primarily to provide cost-effective software training for King County employees, we knew that making our classes available to a broader population would help promote the effective use of GIS across the region,” said George Horning, KCGIS Center Manager.
More than 1,260 students have attended classes at the KCGIS Center, which manages the King County Geographic Information System – a system that allows users to find detailed information about their own properties, as well as showing natural features and other information across the County.
In fact, more than half of the students taught over the years have been clients from outside King County government, including nearly three dozen cities, 14 utilities, 13 state agencies, 12 other counties, 12 tribal governments and private companies and citizens.
During the past decade, KCGIS has generated nearly $760,000 in revenue from its ESRI-certified training program. ESRI is the leading developer of GIS software and geodatabase management applications.
While the training program is financially self-sufficient, the cost to students is so low that compared to the cost of taking the training directly from ESRI – which is typically only offered in Olympia – King County agencies alone have saved more than $255,000 in training costs by taking classes through KCGIS and regional customers from outside the County have saved a further $308,000.
Additionally, the KCGIS training facility can be rented for other forms of GIS training, and rental revenue has generated more than $83,000 for King County since 2004.
A wide range of classes will again be offered in 2012 through the KCGIS Training Program. For information about upcoming classes, including catalog, calendar, prices and registration, visit www.kingcounty.gov/gis/training. More information about KCGIS, which is also the engine that powers web mapping available on the King County website, is at http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/gis.aspx.