Forbes Magazine recently published a five-part series about GIS (geographic information systems). GIS combines geographic, spatial, and other information into a dynamic system. Golden Software products are often used as a part of such a system. MapViewer and Surfer are often used to create visually stunning maps to present layers of data in a meaningful way, Voxler can be used to present geographic and other data in true 3D, and Strater, Didger, and Grapher also have various applications in GIS. I thought author Louise Kidney brought up some good points that would be of interest to Golden Software users.
You probably already use a GIS more often than you realize!
Louise Kidney uses the example of navigating with GPS in a car. I get in the car, tap on a screen, and go, without thinking about what is going on behind that screen. GPS navigation combines a map, your location, and various other data, such as real-time traffic information and construction zones, to help you reach your destination. Other examples of using geographic information systems, include wearing a wristband containing an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip used at an event, such as a festival, taking photos that include your location, checking into locations with apps like Foursquare, and posting on social media sites like Facebook, with your location added. Additionally, Google's augmented reality role playing game, Ingress, would not be possible without a GIS!
You may be broadcasting more data than you know!
With the popularity of smart phones and other smart devices, we're producing unheardof amounts of location data. If your GPS is enabled, your device routinely sends location and other data to your cellular service provider and other applications that have permission to access your location, which most apps seem to require now. Additionally, if you regularly schedule meetings in Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, or another similar product and include a location, that data is being stored. Your scheduling software provider knows when you'll be a certain location, with whom, and how frequently you meet there. If your scheduling software is integrated or synced with other services, those services can also use your location to learn more about you. Be aware of when and where you are broadcasting your location.
GIS can improve your business!
Location data can be useful for many business applications across industries. Geographic information systems are already quite popular for logistics-based businesses, such as trucking companies. However, GIS has many other applications. Louise gives a couple of examples, using RFID chips for both asset management and to track employee movement on campus. In her examples, RFID chips proved to be a better choice than bar codes for asset management when tracking the movement of materials, and they also helped stagger employee lunch hours to prevent long cafeteria lines and improve overall efficiency. Knowing who and where your employees, resources, customers or target audience are can provide your business unique insight. When used effectively, GIS is a powerful tool for logistics, sales and marketing, and new business opportunities.
Don't get overwhelmed!
Integrating GIS into your business can seem like a daunting task. The author gives some great tips to keep from getting lost in your geographic data. Make sure you have a clear vision of how you want to use GIS; know what data you want to collect and why. Ensure you're gathering quality data that relates to your goals; quality is better than quantity. Learn the lingo. When I was first introduced to the world of GIS, I thought I was learning a whole new language! Be sure you understand the terminology, and the concepts will come easier. If you're feeling lost, please don't hesitate to contact us! Golden Software technical support is here to help!
How do you use GIS in your business? I've heard reports of tracking the movement of infectious diseases to plan where to build medical facilities, tracking migratory fish to decide where to build dams for minimal impact, tracking sales to see where to allocate more staff and resources, and tracking local events for food truck locations, among other applications!
Below are links to the five-part series:
- GIS Data -- What Can Maps Do For Your Business ?
- BYOD + GPS = Threat Or CIO Opportunity?
- GIS: Mapping Makes Asset Management Awesome
- 3 Cool Business Tricks That A GIS Can Actually Do
- 6 GIS Top Tips -- How Not To Throw Your Computer Out The Window