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Matt Sheehan
Matt Sheehan
Matt holds an MSc in Geography and GIS. He has been working with clients solving problems with GIS for over 17 years. Matt founded WebMapSolutions whose mission is to put innovative, intuitive GIS driven applications into the hands of new and existing users.

Changing Workflows is the key to Commercial GIS Success

October 19th, 2015 by Matt Sheehan

GIS is widely understood to be mapping technology. Answering questions like “How do i get from A to B?”. It is true that maps are the common output from a GIS, but in reality the technology answers any and all location based questions. In the commercial sector these are often questions which today go unanswered. But, as we will discuss in this post, staying focused on and changing workflows is the key to commercial GIS success.

Changing Workflows is the key to Commercial GIS Success

Let’s start by discussing what we mean by workflows with some examples:

Property Listing in Real Estate

Workflow: “Today to list a new property on our web site or listings service, we first visit the property and make notes, take pictures. Next we input this information into a computer system. Once completed we update our web site with this new information, and share the listing with public property listing services.”

Challenge: Getting a new property listed so we can start marketing and selling can take up to a week.

Assessing Risk in Insurance

Workflow: “Commonly we assess risk with spreadsheets and running formulas. So the information provided by a potential new client is run through our process. The output is a list of numbers. We have done things this way for the last 30 years.”

Challenge: Risk assessment is often limited and hard to interpret.

Sample Data Collection in Mining

Workflow: “Our exploration geologists often work in remote areas. They gather samples often using pen and paper and GPS units. This data is then manually entered into our mining database for later analysis.”

Challenge: The process is manual leading to inaccuracy and varying levels of detail.

There you have three workflows from three different industries. The workflows and challenges described are each taken from meetings with clients. Notable in each meeting was no focus on maps. No mention of GIS. The challenges of the current workflows and recognition of a need for change was the driver and focal point of each meeting.

Inherently, each of these workflow challenges were centred on location (excuse the pun). Not obvious?

Automating Property Listings in Real Estate Using GIS

We replaced our real estate clients old workflows for sharing property listings with a new GIS driven solution. Using a smartphone while on site at the new property, agents can now collect information, take photos and generate a new listing by tapping one button on their mobile GIS app. What once took 1 week now takes 1 hour!

Mobile GIS for Sample Data Collection in Mining

For our mining customer manual data collection has been replaced with mobile devices, leveraging GPS and custom forms integrated into a map based framework. Rich accurate sample data is now being collected by exploration geologists.

Using GIS to Assess Risk in Insurance

Location is a crucial factor in assessing risk in insurance. Floods, earthquakes, weather events are all location based events. Assessing risk based on paths of hurricanes, distance from rivers, lakes, the coast and faults are hugely important. As are location based tools to provide answers to questions like; “Show me homes we insure which are valued at over $400,000 and are within a rivers floodplain”. Our insurance client now uses maps to view their insured properties and run analyses and generate reports using GIS tools. Company profits have dramatically risen as business is picked up from their competition who still use outdated workflows.

So much of commercial operations are based around location. The history of GIS has been focused on discussing maps and the core technology. Fast moving, profit driven commercial companies are presented with many challenges which can be solved by GIS. Staying focused on recognising workflow challenges and using GIS to provide solutions is the key to commercial GIS success.

Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.

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Categories: ArcGIS Online, cloud GIS, Mobile ArcGIS, Mobile GIS, Web and mobile GIS

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