Date published: October 1, 2010
Journal code: IPNR
PRORAGIS is a merger of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Operating Ratio Survey and the GIS Data Model. These two products provide beneficial information to increase operational effectiveness and answer critical budget questions. Merging the two products into an online Park and Recreation Department Profile provides members with national, regional, state and local operating and benchmark data that enhance their operating and capital capabilities. The service is provided with NRPA membership.
What is the NRPA Operating Ratio Survey?
The Operating Ratio Survey is a searchable database compiled by NRPA that provides a comprehensive analysis of components concerning the management and operations of park and recreation agencies. The statistics gathered offer broad "yardsticks" against which an agency's operations can be measured.
In 2009, NRPA surveyed 3,100 member park and recreation departments. From the 679 departments that responded, NRPA was able to create a database that was reliable at the national level. As a result, we were able to compile the following data representing "median" statistics. (That is, for departments with jurisdiction population of 20,000to 50,000, these statistics represent the median figures - with 50 percent having more, 50 percent having less):
* 364 acres of parkland
* 11 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents
* 18 acres of parkland per square mile of jurisdiction
* 19 parks per jurisdiction
* 2008 Operating Budget of $2,566,478
* 24.2 FTE's (full-time equivalent employees)
* Per-capita operating cost of $77
* 14 acres of land maintained for each FTE
All of this, plus facility standards (one baseball field per 3,625 population) were collected and tabulated for all sizes and types of departments across the nation.
What is the NRPA GIS Model?
Also in 2009 and 2010, NRPA developed a GIS model, with funding from APRS, and working with contractors and a Technical Task Force made up of GIS planners and an Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee consisted of directors, consultants and associated personnel from federal, state, local, academic and private sectors.
NRPAs GIS model created a nomenclature that defined Attributes and Values for Parks, Trails and Facilities. Prior to the introduction of the GIS model, each department selected these definitions individually - making comparisons of benchmark data nearly impossible. Now, departments can use the system to accurately compare, contrast and analyze similar departments for planning, best practices and other useful map-based applications.
Basically, the new GIS model is an inventory of assets that allows for easy reference for all that a park system is responsible for managing and maintaining.
Why Combine Operating Ratio Survey with GlS?
The beauty ofmerging Operating Ratio Survey with the GIS Data Model is that it is essentially combining spreadsheet with map. One can manipulate the features on a map so as to link it instantly to all kinds of useful data. Thus, users can be more organized in managing and planning park and recreation resources. The combination of data with mapping might be compared to using Google to access coordinates for a restaurant (GPS) - but then treating that coordinate-location as merely a starting point for finding out as much as possible about the restaurant's features and attributes.
PRORAGIS: 2010 Congress & Exposition Sessions
Several of the NRPA 2010 Congress & Exposition Sessions are emphasizing the uses and benefits of the new PRORAGIS combined technologies. The sessions include:
* The Kansas Experience: Kansas, using a mix of grant and Land and Water Conservation funds and the NRPA GIS model, has created a GIS database for every jurisdiction (federal to local) in Kansas. The database includes the individual parks and facilities, allowing mapping of all of the state's recreational resources.
* Nothing Destroys an Opinion Like a Number: This session introduces attendees to this exciting new resource.
* PRORAGISII: One Seeing is Worth 1,000 Tellings: An overview for those who find GIS mysterious and unconnected to what they do. How the database connects users in valuable ways to customers and decision-makers.
For more information about PRORAGIS and the 2010 Congress & Exposition sessions, contact Bill Beckner at bbeckner@ nrpa.org. Or find session and registration details online at: http://ww w.expocadweb . com/ 1 Onr ? a/C C/for ms/attendee/pre - view. htm.