Geospatial information maps increased benefits for organisations

Geospatial information and mapping systems, often referred to by the abbreviation GIS, are software products which are capable of analysing and mapping a geographical area, processing the spatial data, and therefore allowing it to be analysed, assessed and reviewed.

By storing both data and physical factors and referencing them to locations around the world, the business world is turning to this software to help monitor its assets, gain better insight into ‘in the field’ activities, and to enable shrewder decisions. As onecountry that has seen a sharp increase in the use of GIS Services Australia has many companies whose target regions cover vast areas of the outback, often across multiple states and territories.

The software is most often applied to a combination of demographic data and geographic imagery to help better identify target audiences for a whole heap of differing purposes. In one particular example it has been proven successful in the Healthcare sector in the USA, helping to interpret and understand the incidences of trauma amongst patient populations. By determining the spatial distribution of people who has suffered trauma, and the typical socio-economic factors associated with the demographics in their area, it helped to identify clear clustering of incidents in one particular region. Such knowledge can help to better locate satellite ambulance stations, enabling a faster response time to a larger number of incidences, and in-turn to improve hospital performance rates.

The potential of GIS systems comes from the storage of combined geographic and demographic data, and the ability to searchand manage large spatial datasets and image collections. They differ from traditional textual information databases because they hold data associated with geographic coordinates, for example a latitudinal and longitudinal reference, ora map location.Stored data can therefore be queried from a variety of perspectives within any business.

Varying instances of businesses that can benefit from GIS software include organisations such as those responsible for the management of utilities and natural resources, road network providers and transport systems that cover large areas, mining companies, telecoms network providers. Most of us already benefit from the capabilities of such systems but on a much smaller scale. For example, when you are out and looking for a bite to eat, searching with your smartphone to find ‘restaurants near me’ your handset is using GIS mapping tool to show what’s available in relation to your current location.

By interrogating GIS data, users are able to identify patterns which in turn enable them to assess information and make informed decisions. This could for example relate to buyer behaviour patterns at certain times of year, related to changes in the weather. It could concern the breakdown rate of vehicles in remote locations and what commonalities they might have experienced that is causing the problem. It could just as readily be related to land modelling, to help assess the risk presented by excess rainfall and the chances of flooding related to the slope and aspect of an area where new housing is being planned.

When it comes down to it, GIS mapping presents a much more efficient method of storing and interrogating business data. Through its integration with geospatial mapping, it is an enabling technology that is opening up opportunities to organisations, who can now understand the behaviour of populations, clients, employees, assets and much more, from any department within the organisation, as well as allowing individuals to locate great pizza faster.

Justin Author