Abstract Lack of real progress in taking advantage of technological advances in geographic information systems/land information systems (GIS/LIS) is a matter of record and concern in the field of public administration. As part of a research-action agenda to deal with the problem, this article establishes the fundamental requirement to relate institutional, organizational, and technological factors in a synergetic alliance. It then suggests frameworks for identifying GIS/LIS (as distinct from information systems [IS]) contributions to the contents and processes of public policies, plans, and programs. The frameworks provide a model for the discussion of key institutional and organizational factors affecting GIS/LIS strategies and applications. Sources drawn upon to examine the information systems/public administration systems relationship include original, multi-country research projects undertaken in the 1960s–1970s, and the major IS/GIS/LIS benchmarking done for the Perspectives Track at the 1992 Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA) Conference.