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Archive for December, 2014

Taking the gobbledegook out of Location Analytics

Monday, December 15th, 2014


Location analytics is much discussed in GIS circles. We felt taking the gobbledegook out of location analytics was long overdue. Many organizations new to GIS are still grasping at the basic GIS concepts, throw the language of location analytics into the mix and you end up with ??????

What is business analytics?

Put simply:

Analytic systems turn an organization’s data into actionable information by discovering and illustrating patterns, trends, and relationships in business data

The typical output from current business analytic systems is in the form of statistical reports. These usually summarize data in tabular form, often including graphs and charts. Analytics are often implemented as independent business intelligence (BI) systems but can also be part of larger enterprise systems, like customer relationship (CRM), enterprise resource (ERP), and resource management systems (RMS).

But traditional business analytics systems do a poor job of answering the where question:

Where are our assets, where are our customers, where are our sales?

Where is at the heart of GIS. Visualizing data through maps, and spatial analysis.

Spatial analysis …. we are in danger of straying into gobbledegook territory. Keep reading!


Location Strategy .. Huh?

Monday, December 8th, 2014


The geotechnology industry has always used interesting terminology …. geospatial, GIS, geomatics, Géomatique.

As we discussed in a recent blog post called GIS is Changing, we seem to have have developed our own language.

Location strategy is somewhat easier to understand. Well maybe.

Location Strategy .. Huh?

What exactly is a location strategy?

A plan of action whose aim is to provide answers to the where question: “where are our assets, where are our customers, where are our sales”

Historically where has not been important outside of the geotechnology or GIS industry. But increasingly business executives are realizing that thinking geographically can improve their business and organization: saving money, and helping in the decision making process. Much of this awareness has come from the popularity of cloud and mobile computing.

Why you might ask?

The cloud has made a plethora of services available 24×7. Geographic or geospatial services, which answer the where question, are among these many services. ArcGIS Online from Esri is a good example of such a service.

We are seeing a clear split in how these various service are being used. The consumer and advertising location-based search kind of experience is a key part of the Apple, Google and Bing offering. GIS in contrast is focused on managing authoritative data sources. Thus supporting geocentric workflows like fixing roads, making cities more livable through better planning, environmental management, forest management, drilling in the right location for oil, managing utilities, assets and people.

What do we mean by authoritative data source?

Another term used here is the system of record, and defined as:

It provides the most complete, most accurate and most timely data, it has the best structural conformance to the data model, it is nearest to the point of operational entry and it can be used to feed other systems.

Traditionally heavily used in the public sector, GIS is now seeing dramatic growth in the commercial sector. This will accelerate over the next few years, with greater access to maps across organizations and the increasing use of GIS to manage the business.

The increasing popularity in GIS, and changes in the traditional user base, has created much disruption in the GIS industry. It would be an overstatement to use the term chaos, but considerable change and self examination is underway. More on this in a future post.

At WebMapSolutions we have geared ourselves up to help a new set of industries and users. We have GIS jumpstart processes in place to help organizations implement and use GIS. Contact us for more information 801-733-0723.


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