"At the end of the day, the goal of my team is to streamline complex data and analysis so that our brokers can take it and apply it to their everyday work. You can make the best analysis in the world, but if it's not presented in the right format, it can be impractical for our stakeholders. Using Esri tools and technology with our future housing data maps has helped us remove that barrier."
Colliers Utah GIS Team Finds Value in Future Housing Data Maps
The Colliers Utah geographic information system (GIS) team has recently rolled out an updated map style, enabling Colliers' brokers to help clients make informed investment decisions within high-growth markets. Over the last year, the team members refined their future housing maps and found creative ways to present their data visually to their real estate brokers. Overall, this has led to increased use and adoption of the new maps within the company.
Colliers Utah GIS Team
The Colliers Utah GIS team recently rolled out an updated map style, enabling Colliers' brokers to help clients make informed investment decisions within high-growth markets. The GIS team wanted to update maps to make them easier to read and understand.
The new map style presents the data in a format that is simple and easy to understand. It's also much easier to view and download a static image when needed.
Since the Colliers GIS team rolled out new maps, GIS team members have seen greater adoption of the tools among real estate brokers.
GIS analysts Kate Wright and Ernie Cottle, along with support from their manager, Tyler Crocker, see future housing projects as key economic indicators for growing commercial real estate markets. With this data and some impressive static and interactive maps, the GIS team provides valuable support to more than 200 commercial real estate brokers involved in marketing and investment decision-making.
The Wasatch Front in northcentral Utah and St. George in the southwestern region are some of the fastest-growing areas of the US. To help clients and brokers stay abreast of these trends, the GIS team at Colliers is consistently tweaking and providing important maps and datasets that have proven to be critical to the company winning business over local competitors.
Since Wright and Cottle joined the Colliers GIS team, they saw an opportunity to fine-tune several map solutions to better showcase their GIS toolset to stakeholders. Their first big challenge was figuring out how to decrease the time needed to produce older style maps on future housing data.
"When we implemented our new map style, we saw our time generating new maps drop by nearly 75 percent," Cottle said.
The team's second challenge was to improve map visuals to provide brokers with a product that was less complicated to use and easy for customers to understand. The Colliers real estate brokers use the visuals in client pitch meetings and marketing materials.
Finally, developers in Utah face challenges because of limited space for new construction. Because of these geographic constraints, gaining insight into when and where the next site development should go is crucial. Developers rely on real estate brokers to provide data quickly and as accurately as possible to make future purchase decisions.
Throughout the project, the Colliers GIS team eventually landed on a simple yet dynamic map style. While the map is constantly being tweaked and refined, the complete visual overhaul in its stylization was a significant milestone and breakthrough.
The new map style presents the data in a format that is simple and easy to understand. It's also much easier to view and download a static image when needed. Previous versions of the map required a more complex legend—a full-page reference sheet to explain symbols and other elements to figure out what was being presented on the map.
"We need maps that are informative and present accurate data. But we also need them to be aesthetically pleasing, something that can be inserted into a flyer or incorporated into a pitch presentation and look attractive as a marketing piece, "Wright said. "What has been great about using Esri products is that we can accurately map the data that we're trying to display and also make it look attractive in an all-in-one dedicated program."
The Collier GIS team has employed several Esri software tools for the predictive mapping system. Using a combination of ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Business Analyst, and ArcMap, the team has improved efficiency over time. Using Esri products and third-party data for local real estate and housing information, the team members create compelling insights that brokers value. The team has also found success using ArcGIS Experience Builder, a tool that allows users to transform data into web apps without writing code.
With Experience Builder, the site gives users better ways to interact with that data than would be possible using a report or static map image. The ability to preload datasets as a simple tool has boosted everyday use among brokers.
Since the Colliers GIS team rolled out new maps, team members have noticed positive impacts because of their work. They have seen greater adoption of the tools among real estate brokers. For example, brokers who at one time were hesitant to use these tools are now incorporating their maps in their marketing and presentations. Having these reports in a presentation provides a competitive advantage over other brokers. The GIS team at Colliers-Utah attributes this to the much easier visualizations.
Preloading their data into web apps in Experience Builder has empowered real estate brokers to view and obtain the data they need on their own. This has allowed the team to spend more time building new GIS tools.
Interest in the new maps is growing outside the organization. A few national fast-food chain restaurants and retailers in the local Utah market have used future housing data to help decide on potential store locations. Executives and planners were able to use this data to see more potential store locations in rural areas of Utah that are projected to develop rapidly, according to planned housing data. The data points to significant housing increases in the coming years and opportunities for new site locations.
Other retailers have layered the future housing data from the Colliers Utah GIS team on top of maps that show high-traffic street corners. Predicting where future housing is going to be built, along with traffic data, has allowed businesses to be a step ahead in selecting future stores.
With the new and unique real estate solution, the Colliers Utah GIS team has set a goal of improving the map and providing more relevant housing information. For example, the team members are getting many questions about data for multifamily housing projects and rental units. These new datasets are expected to provide insights into the future of housing. Now that they are spending less time maintaining their old solution, they have the availability to plan and think about what's next in the local real estate market.
With the ability to refine this new map with new data and analysis, they are poised to stay ahead of the competition and make their tool a go-to source for relevant data about the future of local housing markets.