I worked in the Phoenix Planning Department for many years and I used GIS to support the planning process. Feel free to correspond with me further about this question which is near and dear to my heart.
Inputs: Do you have GIS files to support address matching? You'll want to be able to create dot maps showing where businesses and residences are based on their addresses.
Do you have GIS files to support zoning map and general plan changes?
Do you have GIS files to show existing land uses and expected changes in land use?
Do you have GIS files to show property boundaries and ownership? This should be linked to value of improvements on the parcels.
Have you spoken with other departments about their possible use of GIS? GIS has the potential to provide a way of facilitating data sharing and promoting interdepartmental discussions if all departments use it. Of course, sharing is going to require some form of network.
The more departments use GIS, the better chances that it will be funded adequately over time. Make sure that all town property, facilities, and district boundaries are included in your GIS files.
Use GIS to facilitate discussions with the public. You might start with static jpeg maps on a web site, but eventually you will want interactive maps on the Web. That takes special software and hardware to accomplish.
Whatever you do, decide what products or services you can provide in the first year with the files you can easily obtain. Show off these items while you work on the creation of files that may take awhile to digitize.
Involve the decision-makers early on. Get their input as to geographical information they feel would be useful. Show them what you can do now and give them an estimate what it would cost to develop the other information they want.
Use high school and college students to do the menial work, but ensure you plan for quality controls. In one city, high school students, under the direction of their teacher created the entire GIS for their town.
Involve the media as often as you can so that more people will become aware of the value of these tools.
When you are ready, ask your customers to provide their data in a GIS-ready form.
Get involved with the GIS at levels above your jurisdiction. They may have files you can use or adapt for your purpose.
(602) 481 2596
200 W Washington St (12th Floor)
Phoenix AZ 85004