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What is GIS, and what can it do for my business?

2 min read


This Spotlight on Location Data blog series is brought to you by Esri, a leading provider of software that brings location intelligence to business decisions.

I went to this year’s ESRI User Conference to learn more about how businesses were using geographic information systems — tools that combine location data analysis with maps — to solve both tactical and strategic problems.

While I was there, I sat down with APOS Chief Operating Officer Allan Pym to talk about the nature of business intelligence and how organizations can use GIS to make better decisions.

Here are few of Pym’s take-aways.

  • It’s about using your whole brain to approach a problem. Pym notes that plotting business data to a map can give a company a broad view of a problem by putting it in context. But GIS tools also offer the ability to analyze several layers of data and develop a deeper understanding of the issue. “The end user …  can start in that very sort of triage manner to understand the problem: Drill as far as they can in the map, and then launch into the capabilities, the details, the data that can come from enterprise-wide data sources throughout the organization. It’s a terrific complement of again both sides of the possessing parts of the brain: one that’s very visual in manner, one that’s very detailed and analytic in manner,” he said.
  • Location data can have a wide variety of uses for a wide variety of industries. Fields as diverse as electric utilities and insurers, can use GIS to make sure they’re using resources efficiently and making sound business decisions. Plotting location data to a map can allow businesses to test variables and model potential outcomes until they’re arrived at the optimum decision.
  • You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are a variety of platforms available to businesses of all types, allowing them to reap the benefits of location analysis without the difficulties that come with developing a custom solution and making sure it’s secure and well integrated with your IT infrastructure. “This isn’t a new appetite that’s just formed recently,” he noted.

Check out the entire interview.