Previous experience in GIS is very important if your project is going to be successful. Even when dealing with engineering, architecture and mapping companies trying their hand in GIS make sure that they have enough experience in the field. You can get to know the company better through previous clients it has handled and ask about local governments that it has worked for. If possible, make visits and discuss the experience in the hands of the consultant just to be completely sure of what to expect before you hire the services.
When looking at the experience, ask for copies of previous work and the amount of user assessments the company has successfully handled. The number of implementation plans it has done for any local governments can also help you make a decision. Find out the GIS software your provider uses and what packages are available to you. A company that is familiar with metadata development can be a very reliable one so take the time to also ask about that.
Significant training is also paramount when looking for the best GIS center. Mapping and engineering qualification is good, but not enough. Ensure that the specialists are properly qualified as far as GIS software is concerned. You can test the qualification by asking a number of questions related to the same and evaluating the answers that you get. Familiarity with the various software packages puts the consultant in a position to recommend products that will meet your needs so find out how much he knows. A good company should be in a position to explain the technology behind GIS regardless of how much you know about it.
Ask about educational background and experience, extent of database management and the types of databases they are familiar with and foundation they have on information systems. A good consultant can tell the difference between the many software functions and be able to match the most suitable to your specific needs. He also ought to know the difference between GIS and CAD. The more qualified the consultant is, the more he can help you achieve with your project so take the time to look at the qualifications and what they mean to the project you have in hand.