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Highlights

GAO discussed the Forest Service's plans to acquire geographic information system (GIS) capabilities. GAO noted that: (1) the Service revised an earlier study and no longer assumes that every site will receive full GIS capability; (2) the Service plans to take a phased approach to acquiring and deploying the new technology and to assess the most appropriate location for GIS technology, and the skills and staffing required to best use the technology; (3) the estimate of incremental life-cycle costs for GIS is now about $312 million, or about $923 million less than the Service's 1990 estimate of $1.24 billion, due to reductions in estimates of management, overhead expenses, hardware, and maintenance; (4) the Service's revised data, performance specifications, and description of its needs for image data are more comprehensive and reflective of its needs, greatly reducing risk; and (5) the Service's plans are more definitive, better justified, and much more likely to result in the acquisition of an information system that will efficiently and effectively support its mission.

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