GIS Upgrade Case Study


Faced with aging hardware and out of date system components, the City of Birmingham, Alabama, chose to significantly improve their core GIS (Geographic Information System) technology to prepare for a new, more efficient permitting solution by upgrading their GIS software and hardware. GIS provides key support to the city’s permitting activities, the GISWeb mapping site for employees and the public, the city’s Enterprise GIS and database, numerous other city departments, and several outside agencies. It is integrated with other city software programs and mobile applications. Because of significant dependencies on GIS by the Planning, Engineering and Permitting (PEP) department which owns the system (Planning, Engineering and Permitting (PEP)), and the larger City of Birmingham organization, improvements in GIS functionality would enhance the location intelligence of other systems, city employees and the public.

The Challenge

The hardware that housed the GIS system was quickly coming to end of life and support. Upgrading the hardware and software was essential to ensure GIS could continue to provide a consistently high level of support to City permitting activities and other city systems.

The Requirements

The goals of the project focused on

  • boosting GIS functionality.
  • decreasing system down time.
  • improving data security.
  • controlling costs related to replacement of out-of-date system components.
  • improving the internal user experience.
  • ensuring GIS system compliance with other integral city software systems.

The Solution

The City of Birmingham, which has an ongoing relationship with iSeek Solutions for strategic consulting and project management services, requested assistance from iSeek’s team of highly skilled, certified project managers (PMPs). Partnered with the city’s GIS team and a GIS technology consultant, an iSeek Senior Solutions Consultant effectively managed the project using proven project management techniques such as

  • PM playbook administration.
  • Schedule management.
  • Vendor management.
  • Communications and reporting.
  • Project governance.
  • Project planning, execution, delivery and implementation.

The Results

Although the project was put on hold because GIS staff was reassigned to activities supporting The World Games (which took place in Birmingham in 2022), the team easily picked up where they left off thanks in part to comprehensive project documentation. Subsequently, the City of Birmingham successfully implemented the upgraded GIS software and new servers, providing dynamic layers on which to anchor the new permitting system and other city software.
“The Planning, Engineering and Permits Department is very appreciative of the leadership Robyn White from iSeek Solutions provided as we tackled a major upgrade to our GIS Enterprise System. Our team was able to focus on the technical details as iSeek Solutions provided project management support and worked diligently to ensure the project was a success. We are grateful for the support we received from iSeek Solutions to help us grow and continue to expand our GIS services across City departments and to our citizens. ”


Municipal Government

Date published

June 9, 2023