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GIS is now being applied in many new areas. With the popularity of mobile and cloud technology opportunities have opened to apply GIS in new ways and to serve a new audience. In this post we will discuss 3 exciting applications of GIS for non-GIS users.

GIS for Non-GIS Users

Every home, business, road, park exists at a specific location, and can be represented as a point, line or polygon. People move from location to location, as do vehicles. In its simplest form, GIS is a system designed to visualize and analyse anything and everything which has a location or locations. Where are my best performing retail outlets, find me the closest park to my current location which has a playground, send text messages to shoppers as they enter your store about today’s specials.

GIS commonly presents location based information as a picture: a map. Think about the field of disaster assessment. A tornado has ripped through a city, your relief teams have been out and gathered data on the damage. It is your job to assess the damage levels and provide needed relief to affected families. Would you prefer to look through a spreadsheet of this collected data or have that information presented on a map? Colored points overlay-ed on an interactive map indicating levels of destruction – destroyed, semi and partially destroyed – tap one of these map points and see an image of the affected home and a description. Maybe generate a heat map of the collected data to see the pattern of destruction. Imagine how much easier your job would be leveraging GIS in this way.

GIS is fundamentally used for analysis. Think of site location analysis as an example. I’m working in the field of new retail store analysis, and am on site at a potential new location and want to know more about the surrounding area. I pull out my iPad, load my GIS app, and see a map of my current location. By tapping a button in the app I can have GIS produce a report of the demographics of the surrounding area covering a number of years: average size and and income of households, ownership versus rentals, drive time data etc. Now that is powerful.

Business GIS

2014 will see much closer integration of business systems with GIS. Historically business planning and analysis has not used GIS. But with so much business data containing location, GIS will provide new insight for improved decision making. Intuitive, interactive maps and location-based tools are now being integrated with enterprise software systems such as SAP. Providing drive-time analysis, clustering and hot spot maps, analysis of Big Data, maps which provide data rich layers for demographics, lifestyles, consumer spending, and market potential. The combination of business systems with GIS will help extract new insights from business and social data.

WebMapSolutions are actively developing business GIS solutions. Leveraging many of the new Esri products including the GeoEnrichment service and Esri Maps for SAP BusinessObjects.

Public GIS

What do we mean by public GIS: these are application which potentially help everybody in their daily lives.

Many public GIS apps released in 2014 will be provided by local and state governments. These are applications which can be used on smartphones, tablets, and PC’s. At WebMapSolutions we have been building a range of public GIS apps. These include the Parks Finder app helping moms find the closets parks for their kids, the Water Access Finder to help those looking for boating and outdoor recreation opportunities, the Polling Place Finder providing a way for citizens to find their closest polling station, the Citizens Feedback app providing a mechanism for the public to report local issues, and the Chino Hills Banner demo providing a mechanism to view banners which form part of the Home Town Heroes Banner Program.

These are map based apps which are easy to use on mobiles and home computers, and provide quick ways to discover and share information.

Consumer GIS

Consumer GIS is a new and exciting application of GIS technology. It has potentially huge implications for business marketing and sales. The popularity of smartphones and tablets is driving these developments. These are GIS apps which provide both data and direct interaction with consumers in or near a point of sale. Geofencing and geotriggers are two key consumer GIS technologies providing consumer notification based on location. Examples include engaging loyal customers with personalized content and deals the moment they enter your store, sending messages to prospective home buyers when their search criteria matches a home nearby, notifying citizens about events such as road closures, sending customized, individual offers to potential customers as they pass by your establishment.

These are exciting times. GIS development companies such as WebMapSolutions are at the forefront of building applications for GIS and non-GIS users alike.

Are you interested in finding out more about the possible applications of GIS for Non-GIS Users? Call us on 801-733-0723 or send us an email.

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