According to an article today in Government Computer News, several western states are looking to move to a commercial cloud provider for the storage of their GIS data in an effort to control costs and increase efficiency. An RFI was issues by officials from Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Utah in November through their Western States Contracting Alliance, and recommendations are due back to state CIOs this week.
There are multiple motivations for this inquiry, including lowered costs, flexibility and scalability of enterprise solutions, and reduction in staff support dealing with server-based issues that may not be their main areas of expertise. The data hungry nature of GIS, with use across broad government departments, and the layered approach that quickly balloons data storage needs, begs for a more streamlined solution.
This effort to band together in the approach to cloud providers makes a great deal of sense, and provides considerable weight to the request. Clearly the shared pain, and like requirements, speaks to a broader issue in the geospatial industry that are shared across all levels of government and all levels of enterprises that have a long-standing investment in GIS at the enterprise level.
Perhaps this RFI serves as a turning point for awareness of the importance of the cloud for geospatial data storage. The fact that other entities are now approaching this consortium from around the region, certainly points to the interest and the business opportunity for such solutions in the geospatial space.