GIS Software Improvements: Summary
Mappable information such as customer addresses and vehicle locations used to be considered relatively unimportant information. These days, the perfect storm of GIS map availability, GIS software functionality, computer power, and the internet cloud have led to GIS uses never before imagined. GISs range from general-purpose to custom-built.
Years ago, companies and businesses had to gather important geographic data by hand. Back then, data such as customer addresses were often not even recognized as being geographical. It’s a common theme that developments in technology have allowed modern businesses to increase the efficiency of their processes and to reduce costs. One of the most important technological development in recent years has been GIS technology. There are two facets to this
- improved GIS software functionality, and
- more and better quality GIS maps becoming available.
Uses for GIS Software
Geographic information systems (GIS) are one of the most rapidly growing aspects of the technology industry. GIS software can be used to gather, store, manipulate, and analyze geographic data for a variety of purposes. Examples of geographic data include maps of customer addresses, census information, elevation levels, weather patterns, natural resources, and more.
Because there is such a wide array of geographical data, GIS technology is incredibly versatile. There are few industries where it would not be useful. For example, real estate agents use GIS to maps houses for sale and their sale prices. Emergency personnel use GIS to locate emergency sites and to plot the most efficient route for first responders to get to that site. Planners use it to map proposed planning zone changes. Engineers use it to map things like power poles and water pipes. The list goes on…
GIS for Spatial Analysis
One of the most valuable uses for GIS technology in is spatial analysis. GIS software has the ability to gather and analyze large sets of data and to then present that data in a visual form – like a map, or a graph.
With GIS you can start with a base layer and then to add different map layers relevant to the problem you’re trying to solve. For example, a customer profile analysis might start with a map of store and customer locations and then be overlayed with a census map showing income levels relevant to the business. New map layers can be added with the click of a mouse and these days a nearly limitless supply of data is available at your fingertips.
Custom GIS Software Applications
For some businesses it’s important to be able to track and manage product deliveries. There has been a trend in recent years for companies to develop their own customized GIS software solutions. In the food delivery industry for example, there are companies with GIS logistics solutions that monitor the location and temperature of cool-chain deliveries in real time. Customers use a smartphone app to see where their goods are, and whether or not the critical temperature range for their product has been maintained throughout the good’s transport.
Custom GIS applications can make businesses more competitive in a number of ways…
- An improved ability to coordinate warehouse staff – if you know how far away a delivery van is then there is less waiting around,
- An increased confidence in good’s quality that is gained through the new ability for real-time quality assurance.
And in the end, the efficiencies gained can be passed onto the consumer in the way of cheaper prices and better quality goods.
GIS technology is extremely versatile and it is now used in nearly every major industry. Whereas once companies were forced to waste valuable time and human resources gathering data by hand, the new generation of real-time GIS software have automated the process for increased efficiency and reduced cost.