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Return on Investment... for Data

Return on Investment… for Data

Should I buy or build? It seems a fairly simple question. You know you need grid, but there are different ways of obtaining it. Here are a few things to consider, whether you’re looking at doing it yourself or comparing vendors. 

What does it really cost to build it yourself?

Free grid data is available from various government sources. The quality varies, but in general it simply is not adequate – either in positional accuracy or cleanliness of the geometry and attribution – to plug right in to your GIS system and go. So someone is going to have to prepare it for use.

These simple formulas can provide a starting point for costing a do-it-yourself effort for a one-time build – without taking into account data maintenance going forward.

ROI Calculation Worksheets

Download your choice of worksheets to run the numbers for your business case. 

* estimates based on WhiteStar’s best practices 

What should a GIS pro be doing?

Like any data set, committing to building your own grid layer also means committing to keeping it up to date. It’s more than just cleaning up lines and checking points – there is a wealth of knowledge developed over time in interpreting historical documents and optimizing change tracking that WhiteStar’s professionals live and breathe. It’s our business.

If you (or your pros) are busy manipulating public data, what aren’t you doing? And what is that time worth?