The Greater Houston Partnership has been recognized with “Excellence in Data Collection and Dissemination Efforts” for the development and implementation of its Geographic Information System (GIS). The honor came at the Council for Community and Economic Research’s (C2ER) annual conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
A GIS integrates maps, databases, layers of geographic information and base community data to provide quick and accurate insights into a region.
The Partnership’s state-of-the art GIS provides near-instant data and analysis of Houston’s commercial real estate options. It is accessed by Houston’s regional economic development organizations, site consultants who want better information about the communities being considered, and the Partnership’s Opportunity HoustonSM investors, who have committed their financial resources to attracting new business to the region. The entire GIS process is managed by the Partnership’s Research Department.
“The GIS plays a key role in our business relocation and expansion efforts,” says Patrick Jankowski, Vice President of Research at the Greater Houston Partnership. “No other economic development organization has such a tool.”
To gain access to the Partnership’s GIS, users must be actively working with the Partnership or one of its allies on a relocation or business expansion project. The buzz on the new system has reached all the way to Austin. Members of the Texas Governor’s economic development staff as well as staff of the Texas Workforce Commission are using it. Most of the region’s economic development organizations that have implemented their own GIS are now switching over to the Partnership’s system.
The base layer of Houston’s GIS looks like a road map of the region. Users can add layers showing the locations of flood plains, pipelines, oil wells, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT) projects, school district boundaries, Fortune 1000 company headquarters, soil types, city limits, office and industrial building locations, developable land, and the demographic characteristics within one to 20 miles of any location chosen on the map.
“The ability to access all this data at once and show it all on one map makes the GIS a very powerful economic development tool,” says Jankowski.
The C2ER awards recognize the contribution of research activities to the success of local, regional or state/provincial economic development initiatives.
The Partnership, one of the largest and most prominent non-profit business organizations of its kind in the U.S., represents the 10-county Houston region and collaborates with more than 36 economic development organizations to promote the growth of high-paying jobs, international trade and capital investment in the Houston region.
In 2005, the Partnership outlined a Strategic Plan targeting certain industry clusters predicted to yield high job growth, capital investment and foreign trade over the next decade. Its innovative Opportunity HoustonSM marketing and lead generation program promotes the Houston region’s prime business climate and assets to five major economic sectors: aviation and aerospace, energy and petrochemical, medical and biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology. The program will help grow jobs by 600,000, increase capital investment by $60 billion and expand foreign trade by $120 billion for the greater Houston area by the end of 2015.
The GIS, funded through Opportunity HoustonSM, is a key tool in enhancing the Houston region’s job creation efforts.
For more information on the Houston region, call 713-844-3647 or visit Houston.org.