Expanding the Reach of GIS
February 12, 2015 by Matt Sheehan
Let us in the post revisit the notion of emerging GIS. We have in other posts discussed what emerging is not: wearable’s, virtual reality and the like. We see emerging GIS as expanding the user base beyond GIS trained staff. Traditional GIS still serves a narrow user base. A huge untapped audience is crying out for the services provided by GIS. A user base so far largely excluded from this technology.
Widening the use of GIS Internally
Look across your organization. Think about your staff. Who today uses the output and services from your GIS? My guess is in many organizations this is a small group. Now consider who COULD benefit from maps and GIS services: maintenance workers, attorneys, engineers, surveyors, inspectors, installers, auditors, sales staff, site managers the list goes on. So the question is how to provide access to the benefits of GIS to these staff?
The question the is how do we widen the reach of GIS within organizations? We see the key is providing new intuitive, user friendly GIS tools. Take as an example the Web based offline ArcGIS editing application we have just released. This provides the ability to view and edit ArcGIS maps when in or out of wi-fi range. We’ve designed it so no training is required. The diagram below shows the application interface:
Easy to use GIS applications which provide focused functionality (editing, redline, custom forms etc) and improve on how users currently get their jobs done, is crucial for wider adoption of GIS technology
New GIS User Base
Many organizations simply do not use location technology. Visualizing organizational data on maps, and searching or analyzing this data spatially is hugely powerful.
Spreadsheets are common in many organizations to track assets, analyse and chart other business components. Pen and paper remain popular with many field based staff; recording work done, completing forms, and more.
GIS brings the power of maps and location intelligence to organizations. It brings new tools to users which can be made available across devices (PC, tablet and smartphone).
It has never been easier nor cheaper to implement and use GIS. ArcGIS Online from Esri is one of a number of cloud based GIS solutions which make publishing and providing access to maps and mapping services very easy. Historically we have helped our customers configure ArcGIS Server, which had its challenges. Now much of our focus is getting organizations quickly set up with ArcGIS Online and Portal for ArcGIS. A super easy process.
Business GIS the New Frontier
The use of GIS to help run businesses remains limited. Business systems such as ERP’s historically have lacked spatial components. This is being recognised as a huge gap. Geo-enablement has become increasingly more important. This is the application of location or geospatial information as part of business processes or using ‘location intelligence’ to augment non-spatial information systems and/or Business Intelligence (BI). This leverages location information in processes and workflows of a business system without the need to fully integrate with a geographic information system (GIS).
Geo-enablement provides the best of both worlds – location intelligence combined with business intelligence – without the expense and complexity of full integration. We’ve taken a data driven geo-enable approach with a web based framework called Geo-EnableJS for ArcGIS. This is one of a number of powerful new geo-enabling frameworks.
Emerging GIS is focused on widening the reach of GIS. To provide new spatial tools to non-GIS users to improve both insight and workflows.