A new partnership between document management software vendor docStar (news, site) and Fountains Spatial, a provider of geographic information systems(GIS) and services, has resulted in a new suite of products specifically targeted at the public sector that will manage documents according to geographic relevance.
A bit of a mouthful maybe, but what docStar MapConnect will do is to store and manage data and documents according to the geographical areas that the documents refer to.
While there is clearly potential for the application of this software in the private sector, the companies say that this will help local government immediately locate all stored data on a given area using ESRI’s ArcGIS architecture as developed by Fountains Spatial.
doctStar and Fountains Spatial
Fountains Spatial develops custom GIS applications designed to meet client-specific requirements based on ESRI’s ArcGIS server software, ArcIMS and custom desktop GIS applications using ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Engine. In May 2009, ESRI released ArcGIS 9.3.1, which improved the performance of dynamic map publishing and introduced better sharing of geographic information.
From the docStar side of the equation, comes v3.10, which was released in April, for managing document processing tasks by simplifying workflows and providing more automation options than in previous versions.
docStar workflow management
While it has provided document software for many private industry sectors, its document retention timelines and ease of access to any document stored in its system has resulted in a number of contracts at local and federal government levels.
In particular, it can link directly to ERSI’s ArcGIS Server version 9.3, which is what Fountains Spatial have been working on in developing their GIS products.
MapConnect and Local Government
The combined result is docStar MapConnect, which associates maps and the area they cover with all documents within the system related to the charted area.
The docSTAR MapConnect suite comes with three different applications that integrate with ArcGIS. These include:
- A web-based mapping application that allows users to point and click on a map, which will then provide a list of all documents associated with that geographical point.
- MapLink works in reverse by enabling users to choose a point on a given map and link it to documents that are already stored in the system
- A desktop toolbar called ArcMap allows users to search and retrieve documents without having to leave their GIS environment.
Help, We’re Heading For Disaster!
One area that is already being cited as a potential target for the new suite is risk and disaster management. Putting aside the slightly fatalistic assumption that we are inevitably heading for disaster, docStar MapConnect clearly does have its uses.
"If there's a catastrophe you need to know what's there," explains Larry Spraker, president of Fountains Spatial. "MapConnect provides government agencies with risk mitigation in that first responders can have immediate access to documents related to assets and infrastructure. The goal is to increase speed and safety during disaster relief."
However, in more mundane and less dramatic scenarios, the application of MapConnect to local government includes areas like land zoning, planning permissions and boundary disputes. For any company that has had to deal with urban planning offices and officers, software that can associate maps and documents will come as somewhat of a relief.
Fountains Spatial initially developed MapConnect for use by the Town of South Windsor, CT, but combined with docStar's document management software it is now generally available.