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Nearly 80% of business and government information has some reference to location

Have you heard that mentioned before?

Historically governments – local, State, Federal – have been the main users of GIS technology. But with so much business data containing location, and new technologies enabling easier access to GIS and location services, that picture is about to change. There are already clear signs of the rise of business GIS in 2014.

Business GIS in 2014

So what do we mean by Business GIS?

Put simply the understanding and application of GIS and location technology in business and commerce: real estate, insurance, banking, retail, media.

So what are the factors which are causing the increasing popularity of business GIS in 2014?

Mobile Business GIS

The popularity of mobile devices with built in GPS – smartphones and tablets – and rise of cloud technology is helping to dramatically change the GIS landscape. Access to applications and data is now possible across devices, platforms and anywhere/anytime. Work which used to be limited to and by the office has had those shackles removed. Now tasks can be completed in and out of the office more easily and efficiently leveraging GIS and location technology.

The possibilities are almost endless. One immediate requirement we have seen is the call for technology to replace pen and paper. So often our office work relies on computers and out of the office tasks require pen and paper. Think when you are onsite with clients; real estate, and construction come immediately to mind, how paper (maps, plans, pictures, documents) and note taking are essential. Now with mobile devices, we have office technology in the field. So no more need for pen and paper. Now based on our current location or others locations of interest, we can conduct real estate searches, see images of homes, view pipes on new construction sites running our feet, fill out reports all from our iPad.

New Business GIS Services

Location analytics is a big deal.

To quote Esri:

‘Location analytics makes it easy to geo-enable your business data with intuitive mapping and analytical tools. You will quickly discover new patterns and answers to any business challenge and effortlessly share your insights across the organization for greater collaboration.”

GIS companies are putting increasing emphasis on helping business’ leverage GIS with location analytics. Let’s provide a concrete example. WebMapSolutions have built a mobile application which uses the new Esri GeoEnrichment service. The mobile business GIS app allows users to instantly generate demographic data about their current location. Users can produce data from a point, line (maybe along a road) or polygon (draw on the map your area of interest). The app also will produce a pdf report.

Carefully Designed Business GIS Applications

The technology changes and new GIS releases have made building GIS application easier. GIS development companies such as ourselves, have begun building simple GIS applications which are intuitive and easy to use. So no training needed. Truly GIS for everybody. In the fast paced business world, decisions need to be made quickly. So GIS applications need to be simple, and focused. If location is a key factor in the decision making process; then GIS app can be a critical decision making tool.

Think about the construction sector. Imagine a builder who needs to know which permits are required to build in a specific location. While on site the construction foreman could pull out his Android phone, tap a point on a map (or draw the bounding box of the construction site) and have the magic of GIS list all required permits for that location. Imagine the time saved!

GIS and Business System Integration

Integration with other business systems will be key for GIS in 2014. We will see much tighter integration with SAP, customer relationship management systems (CRM) and many others. WebMapSolutions have started integrating ArcGIS Online with the Dropbox document management system. The applications combines maps and power of GIS with ease of document, image and video sharing. The work has been driven by requests from retail clients involved with selecting new retail sites. Helping to improve information sharing, and moving away from a paper based process.

2014 should be an exciting year for business GIS. Location technology will help to dramatically improve work processes within many enterprises.

Interested in exploring the benefits of business GIS?

Drop us a line or call us on 801-733-0723.

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