Cover: Assessing Benefits of the U.S. Forest Service's Geographic Information System

Assessing Benefits of the U.S. Forest Service's Geographic Information System

Research Design

Published 1991

by Cathy Stasz, Tora K. Bikson, John D. Eveland, John L. Adams


Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 6 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.


Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback188 pages $40.00

This Note presents a research design developed to assess the impact of implementing a geographic information system (GIS) on mission-related work in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. It proposes systematic methods by which the agency can monitor the introduction of new GIS technology and assess its benefits. The authors recommend a hierarchical, nested design whose four levels — national, regional, forest, district — reflect the structure of the Forest Service as an organization. The research emphasizes the "tool" qualities of GIS technology over its technical properties per se. The authors propose two main types of hypotheses about the effects of GIS technology that would drive the evaluation: (1) by improving information accessibility and by providing better planning and analysis tools, GIS will improve mission-related actions; and (2) by improving monitoring (documentation) and updating processes, GIS will improve the available information base. The authors find that the basic research design and sampling procedure are feasible to carry out and yield a sound basis for the collection and analysis of data for evaluation purposes.

This report is part of the RAND note series. The note was a product of RAND from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.