New Analyst

From Bytes to Insights—The Growing Role of GIS Professionals in Business

By Chris Chiappinelli

GIS professionals have found careers in every business sector, as symbolized by this city skyline

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The GIS manager at a well-known retailer studied cuttlefish before finding a calling in the business world. A math whiz in Ghana learned location technology while earning a master’s degree in IT management, and went on to become director of analytics and GIS at a major trucking company.

Throughout the private sector, analysts are applying location intelligence—the output of geographic information systems (GIS) technology—to strategic challenges. They’re predicting crop yields for beer manufacturers, tracking regional trends in consumer spending, and advising banks on how to accommodate a more mobile customer.

The path to the private sector rarely runs straight for GIS professionals, but its turns are fascinating to observe. On March 12, 2024, WhereNext will host a webcast dedicated to GIS analysts in the corporate world—and the business leaders who rely on them for guidance and innovation.

A New Test of Skills for GIS Professionals

A changing corporate landscape is steering the business world’s spatial analysts toward new partnerships and new skills. The volume of data they must manage is rising—streaming in from IoT devices, satellites, customer loyalty programs, and other sources.

Meanwhile, the corporate call to convert bytes to insights is growing louder. To answer it, location professionals are learning to harness cloud-based GIS technology, integrate with data lakes, take advantage of AI, and leverage big data analytics.

They’re also finding common cause with a new group of coworkers: data scientists. Together, they’re demonstrating how data science improves with the use of spatial data. Some companies have even created centers of excellence where data analysts of all stripes—GIS professionals among them—collaborate on projects to drive the business forward.

Whether that means creating operational awareness across the enterprise and the extended supply chain, or charting fresh paths to strategic growth, location professionals are increasingly key members of the analytics team.

On Call throughout the Enterprise

Some GIS professionals have become frontline advisers to corporate executives, underscoring the value of location intelligence in strategic decisions.

For others, the road to recognition has many tributaries. Spatial analysts first earned praise working in departments such as real estate and routing, out of the executive spotlight. As the benefits of location intelligence drew attention, line-of-business managers began to deploy location analysts throughout the value chain, helping sales teams retain customers, guiding HR toward better hiring strategies, and making supply chains more resilient and cost-effective.

GIS analysts have become efficiency hunters and growth whisperers. They also know, perhaps better than most professionals, that their skills cannot stagnate. As technology advances, their training does, too.

The next test of their growth will likely be AI, which has been a pillar of GIS technology for years and will drive many of its innovations in the future.

Against the backdrop of changing technology and business objectives, WhereNext will examine the role of location analysts in Careers in GIS and Business, a webcast featuring speakers from Extra Space Storage, Molson Coors, and Diebold Nixdorf.

Learn more and sign up for the discussion today. To submit a question for priority consideration during the event, email WhereNext editor Chris Chiappinelli at

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