Where should our stores be located?
Where are our suppliers located?
answers to lots of questions that begin with "where."
GIS answers these questions more effectively than any other information
technology by integrating a wide variety of data into one easily
understood format--a map. The development of more powerful and
affordable desktop computers coupled with the increased availability
of business data have accelerated the use of GIS. Now more than
ever, GIS means business.
Data that already
exist in a business can be more easily accessed and related to spatial
information to perceive patterns and relationships not apparent
when the data reside in tables or charts. Data on demographics,
business locations, and specific industries, such as finance or
real estate, are available from commercial sources at a reasonable
have come a long way from an electronic substitute for the pushpin
map. GIS has moved from being primarily a presentation enhancement
to an important decision support tool. Increasingly businesses rely
on this information technology to run day-to-day operations by supporting
product sales and distribution, focusing on marketing efforts, routing
service personnel, and monitoring and analyzing productivity. New,
powerful GIS tools, designed for users at many levels of expertise,
have been developed specifically for business applications.
Analyst, a customized version of ArcView GIS that requires no previous
knowledge of GIS, provides task-oriented software solutions that
make users quickly productive. Extensive market research and interaction
with retail, banking, insurance, manufacturing, marketing, and advertising
experts went into the development of this application. Comprehensive
business data for the United States--demographic, business,
and consumer information--from industry-leading data companies
come with Business Analyst as well as ArcView StreetMap, a streets
database for the United States; ArcView Network Analyst, an extension
that performs routing and drive-time analysis; and PresenTable,
a report writer for publishing the results of analysis in easy-to-read
Analyst, a new extension to ArcView GIS, adds direct feed and playback
of real-time data such as global positioning system (GPS) data from
within ArcView GIS. This extension can perform temporal and spatial
analysis of these data in real time for use in activities such as
vehicle tracking. ArcLogistics Route, formerly known as RouteXpert,
provides desktop vehicle routing and scheduling to help businesses
deliver goods and services more efficiently.
as utilities and telecommunications that have long used GIS to manage
facilities or materials are finding they can expand GIS use into
business operations areas such as marketing and customer service.
For these more experienced business users, Spatial Database Engine
(SDE) enables spatial information and maps to be stored and accessed
using the same system. These spatial data can be viewed, mapped,
or served over an Intranet or Internet using ArcView Internet Map
Server, or MapObjects Internet Map Server with ArcExplorer used
as the viewer for data created in ArcInfo or ArcView GIS.
GIS use is expanding
in insurance, finance, and health care. Insurance companies are
using GIS to manage their exposure to risk and estimate costs so
premiums can be accurately determined. Many banks and financial
institutions began using GIS to fulfill Community Reinvestment Act
(CRA) requirements but have found they can use GIS for target marketing,
goal planning, facility management, and consolidation of assets
following mergers and acquisitions. In health care, GIS applications
help manage finance and human resources, aid in marketing services,
improve operations and customer service, and help coordinate research
and planning efforts.
This issue of
ArcUser magazine features three different business applications
that use GIS for decision support, site analysis, and market information.
RealtiCorp Commercial Investment Fund designed its operations around
the use of GIS with other information technologies. This unique
commercial real estate firm uses ArcView GIS to locate optimal sites
for companies, such as The Home Depot, Target, and Hampton Inns,
and negotiates and manages the acquisition of these sites.
The South of
Market Foundation (SOMF), a nonprofit economic development corporation
in San Francisco, California, helps small businesses identify affordable
and suitable locations within the district it serves. SOMF has developed
an ArcView GIS-based application tool that integrates information
on businesses, local economics, demographics, and transportation
with real property information from real estate brokers to help
businesses find available properties that will fit their needs and
contribute to their successful operation.
With funds from
a state agency, Benjamin Zhan, Robert Larsen, and Xinnong Zhou of
Southwest Texas State University used ArcView GIS, ArcView Internet
Map Server (IMS), Avenue, and HTML programming to develop the Recycling
Markets Information System (RMIS). This Internet-based application
allows interactive access to data on recycling materials in Texas
to bring buyers, sellers, and manufacturers together.
information on using GIS in business, please contact one of the
following industry solutions managers:
real estate solutions manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 909-793-2853,
Lee Burton, banking/insurance solutions manager at lburton@ esri.com
or 909-793-2853, ext. 1098
David Bunten, retail/commercial solutions manager at email@example.com
or 909-793-2853, ext. 2176