Wisconsin Geospatial News

SCO unveils 2013-16 Strategic Plan

In early 2013 the SCO embarked on an initiative to update our 2010-13 Strategic Plan. We initially held a series of internal team discussions to flesh out the plan. The discussion revolved around a variety of themes, including the SCO’s history and user community, our relationship to other organizations and to the university, our mission as defined by statute, previous strategic planning efforts and outcomes, technology change and other trends, and analysis of external opportunities and risks.

In May and June, 2013, we shared drafts of the plan with our advisory committee, the  Committee on State Cartography. Following some revisions recommended by the committee, we released the final 2013-16 Strategic Plan in July. As always, we welcome your thoughts and comments about the directions we expect to take over the next three years. 

The new strategic plan provides a great deal of continuity with our previous 2010-13 plan. The SCO remains committed to our core principles and mission, and to the many longstanding relationships and priorities that have evolved over the years. That said, change is inevitable, particularly as we try to adapt to new technology and changing user needs and expectations. Underlying the new strategic plan is the understanding that the geospatial community and GIS technology have evolved significantly over the last decade, and that sensitivity to these changes is necessary to maintain our value to the community. The new plan attempts to position the office to support emerging application areas while simultaneously maintaining relationships with more traditional geospatial sectors.

Another important theme underlying the new strategic plan is the need to leverage Wisconsin’s rich local repositories of geospatial data to develop statewide datasets that support the business needs of state agencies, planning initiatives, scientific analyses, and other applications for which regional aggregations of data are required. Specific statewide projects mentioned in the plan include the integration of local parcel data, statewide landcover, aerial photography, survey control and Public Land Survey System data, and cartographic data.

As with our previous plan, the new strategic plan derives much of its emphasis from our legislatively-mandated mission [Ch 36.25(12m)], as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 2009-2014 Campus Strategic Framework, and in particular the strategic initiatives related to a reinvigoration of the Wisconsin Idea and renewed commitment to the University’s public mission and outreach functions.

We intend to use the new strategic plan to drive the development of an annual business plan that takes staffing, budgeting, and other factors into account when prioritizing specific initiatives. The annual business plan provides the basis for accountability and for assessing the degree to which strategic objectives have been achieved. Readers of our annual reports will note that we provide an annual “scorecard” of our strategic plan performance. 

We welcome your thoughts and comments about the new strategic plan. We look forward to working with many of you on important initiatives over the next three years and beyond.