Geographic information system (GIS) provider Esri is teaming up with Swiss-based spatial measurement instrument manufacturer Leica Geosystems. Their aim: To spur innovation of mobile field data collection in government.

The firms are partnering on the Smart Communities Innovation Challenge. The program offers grants totaling $143,250 in goods and services. A total of 10 governments that submit detailed project proposals will be selected to receive a grant. The winning proposals must demonstrate increased efficiencies in collecting data for decision support or improved productivity in delivering governmental services.

Project proposals will be accepted from August 15, 2016, until the official submission deadline at 5:00 p.m. (Pacific daylight time) on October 14, 2016. Grant recipients will be announced on October 31.

To be entered for consideration, proposal submissions must be uploaded in conjunction with the organization's identifying information through a form on the Smart Communities Innovation Challenge landing page. Go here for details. The Application Portal will open Aug. 15.

As long as operations are based in the U.S., any government or department, whether municipal, regional, special districts, state, city, county, or otherwise, is qualified to receive a grant.

To be selected, it is necessary that a project confirm the value of combining GIS and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies for data collection, optimizing workloads, and providing real-time information that supports field mobility. Proposal reviewers will look for ideas that support complete workflows extended to back-office processes such as operational dashboards. Priority will be given to projects that tie GIS and GPS to daily workloads, influence sharing of geographically enabled data across multiple jurisdictions or interdepartmental ventures, and clearly convey a perceived benefit or return on investment.

The intent of the joint program is to supply governments with the tools to succeed as they implement progressive methods to streamline workflows. By providing technology, training, and technical support grants, Esri and Leica aim to inspire legislative bodies to devise transformational approaches to improving the efficiency of mobile fieldworkers.

As innovative ideas from the government community are brought forward for solving real-world problems, the best applications will be those of universal appeal and the ability to be shared between governments through an open exchange hub. The challenge's grant winners will be governments that have plans in place to jump-start projects such as facility inspections, emergency reporting, asset inventory, environmental management and monitoring, efficient employee routing, code enforcement, population and housing enumeration, mosquito abatement, and/or sign inventory.

To learn more about the Smart Communities Innovation Challenge, visit this site.

About Esri

Esri is a provider of GIS technology. The firm’s software is used in more than 350,000 organizations worldwide including each of the 200 largest cities in the United States, most national governments, more than two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, and more than 7,000 colleges and universities.

About Leica

Leica Geosystems has been involved in measurement and survey technology for nearly 200 years. Professionals in a mix of industries use the firm’s products. These industries include: aerospace and defense, safety and security, government, construction and manufacturing.

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