As 2016 unfolds we are finding ever more interest in GIS from those new to the technology. We’ve mentioned before in this blog that GIS has historically been the bastion of those trained in the technology. Organizations with GIS departments – commonly in the public sector and large corporations – have been the main users of the technology. Today that is changing. This is in part due to technology advances (GIS is now easier to access/use and is more affordable), and a wider need for answers to WHERE questions:

Where should we locate our new store? Where are our greatest insurance risks? Where are properties for sale which fit our requirements and criteria?

Solving problems with GIS: 3 key things to know

Though GIS has become more accessible, getting answers to your WHERE questions still requires work. Those looking for simple click click answers will be frustrated. Return on your GIS investment (ROI) remains front and centre. In this post I’ll share with you what we see as 3 crucial elements to success with GIS.

What is the Problem?

Too often technology is the initial focus of all engagements with GIS. I’d like this app. Could you build out this storymap. We want to show our clients heat maps. Start at the beginning .. first define the problem. Let me give you an example. We work increasingly with commercial real estate (CRE) companies. Often we are approached with the following “Could you tell us how much it would cost for you to build a map for us which shows our listings?”. This is actually not a bad start. There is a problem defined. But is this the real problem?

We dig deeper into this problem.

Q -“Tell us how you work today”
A – We often generate a custom built flyer of an individual property and share that with our clients.

Q – “We know data is important in CRE tell me about your data?”
A – “That’s a big challenge. As a broker, I usually have spreadsheets, images, documents etc stored on my computer. I also use a number of public maps showing parcels etc. Privacy is a big concern to me”

Q – “So for each client you pull data from different sources, collate and generate printed material or pdf’s for your clients”
A – “Yes, it works but can be a time consuming painstaking process. Having my data stored in one place would be huge”

I think you get the idea. We have moved from the simple (perceived) problem, that of mapping listings, to the much wider conversation. Note the discussion of centralised data, privacy etc. This is all problem definition. By moving through this process all parties build a clear understanding of the problem needing a solution.

Evolving the Story

With the problem defined, we are good to go? Wrong. Next comes the story. This can be part of the problem definition conversation but, for us at least, it’s the next step of our initial engagement. At the core here is “show me how you do things today, and how we might do it better tomorrow”. This can often start with data:

Q – “So showing clients listings is important. What other data might be useful?”
A – “Many clients ask us for retail information, how close is this listing to other similar retailers. If we had this information on a map, and could maybe filter it by type of retailer, that would be very useful”

Q – “What other questions do your clients ask you when weighing up property options?”
A – “Drive times, traffic data, and demographics can be important. We recently had a coffee shop approach us about opening a new shop. A key criteria for them was they needed to be on a major road on the morning commute side of the road.”

Again here we are digging deeper into needs. We are having the client tell us the story. In this CRE example we are walking through real scenarios. Having the client tell us stories about what their client engagements look like. Its only by evolving stories we can truly understand what that final solution should look like.

Avoiding Technology Overload

We push the technology down our priority list with new customers. Why? Because the means to the end, it should never be the focus. Think about buying a car. The challenge a car solves is getting from a to b. Now when we dig a little deeper our movement from a to b can differ. Imagine a mum, her vehicle needs differ markedly from a young twenty something male. Her story might be:

“I have 3 children. I often take my kids and friends to the park etc so space is important. So is ease of access, I don’t want kids climbing over seats to get in and out. I also need storage space, I have plenty I need to pack for trips”.

Having this information gives us a great launching point to start looking at vehicles. Which best fit this mothers needs. And there are an overwhelming number of choices. GIS is no different. Take the ArcGIS platform for example. We often have clients tell us “We just don’t know where to begin”. Our approach is to provide GIS guidance, and direct help where needed.

Defining the problem, evolving the story, then choosing the appropriate GIS solution set are crucial to successfully solving problems with GIS.

Contact us on 801-733-0723.

Subscribe to WebMapSolutions GIS Blog

WebMapSolutions latest GIS articles sent straight to your inbox

* indicates required


Schedule Free ArcGIS Consultation
Our goal is to help you successfully apply ArcGIS to solve your business problems. Conducted by an ArcGIS expert, our free 30 min consultation will help move you forward.
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Our blog is filled with lively discussion, news, ideas. We take a fresh perspective on the rapidly changing world of GIS. Don't miss a post ... join over 1000 of your peers.
Do you want massive traffic?
Dignissim enim porta aliquam nisi pellentesque. Pulvinar rhoncus magnis turpis sit odio pid pulvinar mattis integer aliquam!
  • Goblinus globalus fantumo tubus dia montes
  • Scelerisque cursus dignissim lopatico vutario
  • Montes vutario lacus quis preambul den lacus
  • Leftomato denitro oculus softam lorum quis
  • Spiratio dodenus christmas gulleria tix digit
  • Dualo fitemus lacus quis preambul pat turtulis
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Are you looking for advice or help with ArcGIS? We are happy to share with you our thoughts and expertise to move you forward. Fill out the form below and we will be in contact soon.
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Our goal is to help get started and maximize GIS ROI. Conducted by on of our GIS experts, our free 1 hr Discovery Workshop will provide you a GIS road-map.
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Schedule a GeoAppSmart Demo
GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS we have designed with flexibility in mind. Let us show you how the app works. Fill out the form below, and we will contact you to set up a demo.
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Request a Demo
Learn more about GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS. Schedule a demo. We can show you the features of this is a new breed on super flexible ArcGIS apps..
Our blog is filled with lively discussion, news, ideas. We take a fresh perspective on the rapidly changing world of GIS. Don't miss a post ... join over 1000 of your peers.
Subscribe now to our free daily newsletter and get special offers and 20% discount.
More than just MOBILE .. All device ArcGIS apps are finally HERE!
GeoAppSmart for ArcGIS is one of a new breed of web based ArcGIS apps which:

  • Runs on any device - PC, laptop, smartphone, tablet
  • Can be used anywhere - Online or offline
  • Infinitely flexible - Built using plug-in tools
  • Easy to set up, configure and use

Download our new eBook, and learn more about these new super flexible web apps.
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
New to ArcGIS Online and wondering how to GET STARTED?
Our free eBook 'Success with ArcGIS: Your Roadmap' will walk you through the critical success elements:

  • Defining the problem
  • Evolving the story
  • Building the runway
  • Solution implementation

If you are looking to JUMPSTART your deployment and use of ArcGIS Online this eBook is for you.
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Our newsletter is filled with news, tips, tutorials and lively discussion focused on the exciting, rapidly evolving world of GIS. Join over 2000 of your peers.
Wondering about Mobile GIS?
Our free eBook 'Your Guide to Mobile GIS' will help you get started and move forward with this exciting technology. We cover:

  • Your mobile GIS options
  • Provide case studies
  • Discuss best choices
  • Look ahead

If you are looking to improve how your mobile staff get their work done. This free eBook is for you.
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
Want to get the most out of ArcGIS Online?
Our free eBook 'Success with ArcGIS Online' will walk you through the critical success elements including:

  • The Why
  • The Who
  • The How
  • The Where

If you are looking to get started or maximize your ArcGIS Online ROI, this eBook is for you.
* we never share your e-mail with third parties.
IoT on Map - Real-Time Reporting, Tracking and Monitoring Made Simple
Download our free Internet of Things eBook. Learn how to easily track moving assets, monitor fixed assets and report problems in real-time. Simple, flexible and affordable.
Want to get the most out of ArcGIS Online?
Download our free eBook 'Success with ArcGIS Online'. The eBook walks you through the key success elements: the why, who, how and where. Get started or maximize your ArcGIS Online ROI.
Sign up for our free GIS Discovery Workshop
Wondering how to get started or maximize your GIS ROI? Our free 1 hour workshop is designed to provide you a road-map to success with GIS. Sign up for it today.