There are 3 things that affect the cost of getting your location mapped and available online:
- Initial mapping costs
- Monthly or annual fees
- Digitization of records
Initial mapping costs
Depending on the vendor you use, the bulk of the costs will be in the initial digitization of maps. This process consists of taking existing maps (paper or digital) and digitizing them so they will be available online. The costs of this will depend on the size of your location, so larger locations will typically cost more.
Monthly or annual fees
The costs of putting a map online depends on hosting costs and the costs assocaited with providing the promised level of service when signing up. This is typically the simplest part of the pricing and your vendor should be able to give you a quote for this quickly. While this is typically the least expensive part of the costs up front, this costs can often become the most expensive part of the entire process after a few years. Some vendors will lower the initial mapping or records digitization costs and then increase the monthly/annual fees to make up for that. On the other hand, some SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) will take into account ongoing maintenance costs that their system requires. Make sure your vendor clearly explains what is being offered for the periodic fees it charges.
Your vendor might also require you to pay for licences for each user of the system. You will have to weigh the costs of this against the value of system, but modern web technology can minimize the costs of this and some vendors may not even charge for each user at all.
Digitization of records
The costs of this may vary depending on the types of records you have. If you already have a digital copy of your records (i.e. spreadsheet or database) then your vendor may charge a small fee to import existing records or may not charge anything at all. This step is typically fairly minimal so it should not account for a high cost.
If your records are not already digitized, then this part of the costs could be substantial due to the amount of manual work-hours involved to get your records digitized. This could consist of scanning (imaging) existing records, scanning existing documents and converting text using software, manually entering the text from existing documents into a database or spreadsheet, or a combination of those options. While the costs to do this could be high, the advantages of not losing documents to fire or flood, plus the increased speed and ease of managing records online, should be an obvious choice for any location that has not already done this.