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Finding Answers in Your Data

What do you want to learn from your data?

In my last article, “Innovating with Data,” in the fall issue of ArcUser, I discussed how you can extract value from a sea of data by using GIS tools you may have overlooked, such as Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS and ArcGIS Insights.

But what if you just don’t have the data you need to get the answers you need? I’m not sure how to say this, but your data isn’t as good as you think it is.

No one’s data is.

Although we use it every day and it gets the job done, our data could be cleaner, more accurate, and more complete. Valuable core capabilities of GIS can improve your data. By applying spatial analysis and visualization tools in GIS, you can detect gaps, errors, and outliers in your data. Going farther, you can gain more value from your data by location enabling unstructured data or leveraging machine learning for better analysis.

But that’s still not enough. Augmenting your data with external data using the ArcGIS GeoEnrichment Service is an extremely powerful capability that is enabled by GIS. It is a force multiplier that joins data together using location to unlock the answers to questions such as

These are just a few of the questions that can be better answered by incorporating GeoEnrichment.

You can access the vast amounts of data available across the ArcGIS platform to enrich your analysis using solutions such as ArcGIS Business Analyst and ArcGIS Community Analyst. For example, thousands of variables on recreational, retail, and medical expenditures—as well as demographics describing populations by age, income, education, and many other dimensions that can enhance your analysis and visualizations—are available from these solutions.

For example, enriched data can be accessed using ArcGIS Business Analyst, which is available as an extension for ArcGIS Pro, as a web app, as a mobile app, and as a widget for Web AppBuilder for ArcGIS. ArcGIS Business Analyst provides powerful analysis, visualization, and mapping capabilities that leverage these comprehensive datasets and use preloaded, easy-to-configure reports for understanding and sharing analysis results. You don’t have to be a GIS expert to use these solutions and data, either.

It’s been said that data that is not used has no value, but data that is not used to its full potential is an underutilized asset. If you don’t enrich your data, you are missing the opportunity to get the most from your data.

You want to use the best data available so you can be confident in your analyses. You want to make the best decisions you can. Enriching your data will help you find the answers you seek.

About the author

Brent Jones oversees Esri’s worldwide strategic planning, business development, and marketing activities for land records, cadastral, surveying, and land administration. As a recognized innovator, Jones specializes in modernizing existing land administration systems and designing new GIS-based cadastral management systems for small and large governments globally. He is a member of the URISA board of directors, past president of the Geospatial Information and Technology Association and a current member of the United Nations Committee of Experts on Geospatial Information Management sitting on the Expert Group on Land Administration and Management. Esri creates systems that drive all components of land and cadastral administration, including addressing, registration, taxation/valuation, planning, and development.