This paper focuses on the involvement of CURS in a project aimed at developing an integrated GIS to facilitate inter-agency data sharing and analysis so as to enhance the planning and provision of family services in the Hunter. The paper focuses on the process of developing the 'soft technologies of engagement' necessary to facilitate the co-operative data-sharing between key government human services agencies that must underpin an integrated GIS. These soft technologies are required to address the ethical, procedural and technical challenges of data sharing and, more intangibly, to manage the organisation and institutional barriers to inter-agency data sharing. The paper outlines a template of ethical protocols and procedures for data-sharing as a first step in developing longer term inter-agency engagements. Crucially though, the paper argues that the process of engagement is central to the development of an informed and critical community of practitioners within government agencies. We see this longer term engagement as having the potential to address some of the broader epistemological and ontological critiques of GIS and spatial indicators.