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Organisations sometimes like to ‘test the water’ before taking the plunge into full GIS. Subsequently, pilot projects are commonly used as a way of testing the suitability of GIS to an organisation. A well focused pilot will reduce the risks associated with introducing GIS, i.e.: if the pilot is successful and there is a decision to proceed with the full proposal, the in-house expertise gained during the pilot phase will help significantly with the introduction of the main project. The advantages of a pilot project are summarised as follows:

  • A means of demonstrating the potential of GIS to colleagues within your organisation.
  • Help gain the support of an influential person or department.
  • Provide direct hands-on experience of GIS.
  • Allow assumptions about timescales and resources to be tested. The best way to test assumptions about how long tasks will take and what resources will be required is to actually to do them.
  • Pilot projects may be taken forward in key stages.


Prototyping is an essential element of Rapid Applications Development (RAD). RAD is a term used to describe a set of procedures & approaches employed to produce systems designs quickly. It focuses on the 80:20 rule, i.e.: 80% of user’s functional requirements can be met with 20% of functionality in a system. RAD identifies and quickly delivers the critical 20%. In other words through prototyping the GIS can be developed organically and in an evolutionary manner, allowing users to assess early design attempts and thus enabling more focused and positive responses.

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