It is difficult to evaluate when geospatial information technologies (GIT) are considered efficient solutions in an organization. This is difficult because we hardly know the « real » pathway of a given GIT implementation project (as opposed to the « official » pathway presented externally), nor do we know all participantsÂ’ motivations. In fact, behind success stories exist frequent indications that newly implemented systems do not always help to reach the formal objectives of the organization. Moreover, close analysis reveals that GIT projects usually do not unfold the way prescribed by formal system development methods (even when presented as such).
The goal of this paper is to present the result of a research project aiming at better understanding implementation processes of GIT within organizations. Based on concepts found in Management, Sociology, Psychology and Geomatics, our methodology involved three detailed case studies in three municipalities. These case studies included several in-depth interviews and the analysis of archived administrative documents. The results of this theoretical research, that took place in 1997, were afterwards validated over three years in the field by the principal author during major projects in Canada and Europe. Findings show that GIT implementation projects can be presented as having an organizational perspective, being very « rational », in sync with formal system development methods and being a « success » while in fact such projects follow a narrow perspective, are perceived as non-efficient, follow an unforeseeable implementation pathway and are driven by the technology.