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Google Maps is great. Such wonderfully detailed maps. and cool tools to help us get around, see street views etc. But Google maps is just that maps. Don’t get me wrong I love maps, but maps are like charts or graphs, they provide ways to view and see patterns in data. In the case of commercial real estate (CRE), maps are commonly used to show a properties location.

But what if you had the ability to dig deeper, to analyse what is displayed on a map? Now that opens up a whole new world of possibilities. New ways to improve how you operate and work. New ways to save money and make money.

Commercial Real Estate: Make more Money by Replacing Google Maps!

Let me share with you some quick stories. We recently called the owner of a local commercial real estate company. We introduced ourselves:

“Hi, Joe here from WebMapSolutions, just following up on ..”.

The owners immediate response was:

“We are all good Joe, we already have maps”.

It was quite true they did: Google Maps. Every time a new property became available a staff member added a pin to a Google Map. Very nice, and very limited.

We spoke to another owner. He shared with us the streamlined process they had in place to generate listings. When we dug deeper we found out staff members were manually preparing the listing. Maps were individually generated for each new property, manually adding labels etc. Great output, but limited, expensive to produce and slow.

One last call. Again, a super nice owner described how they built their listings. He was satisfied, but on checking the company web site that word limited again came to mind.

We highlight 3 examples above of how maps are commonly used in commercial real estate (CRE). Not intending to be mean, but I used the word limited multiple times in the above descriptions. Why?

Just like any data output mechanism: graph, pie chart etc, a map is simply an intuitive, helpful, static picture. If you don’t have the ability to analyse the data behind a map, you are very limited. But we only know what we know right.

In this post we will consider how many CRE companies are missing out on dramatically improving revenues by leveraging GIS technology.

What is GIS?

GIS has evolved into what is now being called a location platform. It is a system which provides ways to visualize and analyse business critical data geographically. Maps are a core output from a GIS, but maps are but one part of a much bigger whole.

There are 3 core pieces to a GIS:

1. Centralized Authoritative Data

In simple terms a GIS provides a central, single source of CRE mission critical data. All the data you have collected as an organization should be housed in a GIS. Your authoritative data. Need to find current listings, properties sold last year, demographic data, retail outlets; its all in your GIS. Agents and brokers push new data to a GIS, and use a GIS as the source for all property related data.

2. Maps

As we’ve mentioned maps are an important output from a GIS. They provide an intuitive way to visualize, explore and search for property related data: map our current listings, include a property map for each listing, map retail outlets, show me the demographics of the area around a property. We are familiar with maps with markers showing the location of a property, a GIS takes a giant step further by providing intelligent maps. Maps which can be searched, and interrogated to provide answers to critical CRE questions.

3. Analysis

Answering mission critical questions is the true power of GIS. Spatial analysis gives agents, brokers and sellers, the ability to showcase a property’s characteristics and advantages with respect to its location. GIS uses location to help analyze commercial properties through demographics, aerial photographs, traffic counts, shopping center usage, merchandise potential and competitive influence.

All Successful CRE Companies will be driven by GIS

We have been working with a very innovative CRE customer. The owners goal was to improve the company CRE listing process. To move away from manual data collection and preparation to automate the property listing process. He wanted to provide richer, more accurate listing data and make it available in hours and not days to potential buyers. Now agents can gather all information about a property while onsite using their smartphone. With a tap of a button and, with the help of ArcGIS, the rest of the listing process is done automatically. All their property data is now in a GIS, automating the listing process has proven just the tip of the iceberg. They are now able to use tools like Esri’s Business Analyst Online for deeper insight on their business and to discover new opportunities.

Location is at the core of the CRE business. Yet today it is only the innovative, far sighted CRE companies who have embraced GIS location platforms like ArcGIS. They have realised success is not just about using a map to show the location of properties, but the ability to analyse the data underlying the map.

Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.


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