As business and government organizations move to information systems that are entirely digital, they are also revising and streamlining processes and integrating those systems. In this process, which produces both disruption and opportunity, GIS has emerged as a powerful IT platform.
According to Esri president Jack Dangermond, “GIS can easily integrate with other corporate IT systems and bring together many different kinds of disparate data using the common thread of geography.” GIS does this by redefining relationships between data and revealing patterns. This process results in location intelligence, which can coordinate workflows in ways that were not possible before and enable greater collaboration within and between organizations.
The market research firm Forrester recently recognized Esri’s leadership in location intelligence by noting,“Esri’s vision for location intelligence is to help organizations understand why things happen where and when they happen, with the goal of gaining business advantage through better understanding. By continuing to evolve [its] ArcGIS [platform], Esri is pushing beyond the traditional GIS markets that it has long dominated into the location intelligence market.”
By integrating on-premises software with cloud-based services, ArcGIS users can extend and expand existing systems. Esri’s Geospatial Cloud platform has made location intelligence available across organizations. The geospatial cloud supports a more inclusive and informed decision-making process.
Esri recently launched the Esri Maps for Public Policy website that—through ArcGIS Online and the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World—provides access to the datasets, analysis tools, and visualization capabilities needed for meaningful policy research that identifies opportunities for intervention.
A broad range of ArcGIS developer tools encapsulate location intelligence in apps so it is available to people who previously would not have experienced the benefits of GIS. Whether using noncoding tools, like configurable apps and app builders, or one of the ArcGIS APIs or SDKs, ArcGIS-based solutions can be created to meet the specific needs of organizational workflows.
These solutions are making palpable differences, as the articles in this issue illustrate. The City of San Diego, California, is integrating Esri and SAP technologies to improve its infrastructure management. The nonprofit organization Winrock International designed an ArcGIS-based tool for decision-makers so they can assess the impacts of forest loss and help preserve Cambodia’s fragile ecosystems. These organizations are realizing Esri’s vision of enabling location intelligence to support better decisions that make a better future.