Abstract The use of computers for planning in local government is explored. The last 20 years has been a period of substantial change in the societal context within which planning and decision making takes place, and has made a significant impact on applications. The diversification of functions and services and the complex data they create account for government's lag behind business in the adoption of computer technology. When local government data is considered in a spatial framework, however, the task of balancing the supply and demand aspects of the generation of that data becomes possible. For example, spatial devices such as networks facilitate delivery of governmental services.