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Implementing spatial data & GIS effectively in business

|Jan 16|magazine12 min read

As businesses become increasingly aware of the benefits of using spatial data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GIS professionals are facing pressure on time and resources. 

GIS is a specialist digital mapping technology and concept that manages complex business data and creates valuable intelligence from the geospatial relationships between that data, in a visual and intuitive way. This intelligence is called Location Intelligence. 


According to Pitney Bowes, a leading provider of location intelligence solutions, if GIS professionals are to successfully meet these new demands, they must become more efficient.

Sean Richards, Director of Marketing and Product Management at Pitney Bowes Software said, “There was a time when it was a battle to raise awareness of the critical value of ‘location’ in an organisation’s data ecosystem. Now, the demand to deploy GIS technology is growing rapidly, putting strain on the few GIS professionals who can provide this expertise.” 

Below are six traits GIS professionals can adopt immediately to become more efficient >>>

Consider cloud to deliver more with less

Reducing costs and overheads while still delivering a superior service for both internal and external stakeholders is a key KPI for GIS professionals. 

Cloud or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions offer an agile way to manage the cost and complexity of deploying location intelligence solutions to varied audiences. Cloud-based solutions can be a fast and flexible way to deploy GIS cost efficiently. This lets GIS professionals maximise the variety and quality of services offered without incurring major costs and complexity. 

Work smarter, not harder by empowering others

GIS professionals are often bombarded with requests from colleagues for ad-hoc maps and analysis. Maps are often shared either internally or externally via hard copy, PDF or email and organising spatial data is time consuming. 

Providing self-service access to maps and related information to those who need it, when they need it reduces workload and lets GIS professionals focus on activities that add more value. It is possible to publish maps from the desktop to the web effortlessly, to share with internal and/or external users. Self service solutions can be either on-premise or in the cloud. This not only reduces the burden of ad-hoc requests, but also ensures users are accessing the latest and most accurate information. 

Automate more and get enterprise-grade

Embedding location into core business systems and automating manual processes can greatly improve efficiency across the organisation and deliver the power of location to many more users. The next generation of GIS solutions use mainstream enterprise information management principles to empower GIS professionals to design enterprise-ready location intelligent service that can be consumed by corporate-wide business systems.  This efficient means of deploying GIS capability can reach massive audiences with little administrative overhead. 

Strong foundations with a single point of truth

GIS professionals must ensure that data is clean, fit-for-purpose and can be quickly and easily discovered by users. Duplicated data and data silos can be solved effectively by establishing a single point of truth that conveniently catalogues and describes data. When these foundations are in place, then the analysis and decisions based on this data will be accurate and the business will benefit. 

Maximise the value of existing data. Many organisations are sitting on a spatial data gold mine. But the value derived from spatial data is determined by what is done with it, how it is analysed and the conclusions drawn. By capitalising on data and tools that already exist in house, GIS professionals can extract more value from spatial information already at their disposal. 

Call on the experts

GIS professionals must be continually learning. Skills such as learning how to employ best practices and formulating location strategy are ongoing. They shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when they need it. This is particularly important when GIS professionals are overwhelmed by the volume of work that needs to be done and the scarcity of resources to help make that job easier and let them think strategically. 

Seeking external advice and assistance on how GIS can shape other parts of the business is a necessity to stay ahead of rapid change. GIS is no longer a specialist back-room technology, it is being integrated across the entire enterprise. GIS professionals need to lead the adoption of location intelligence across the organisation. 


Sean Richards said, “GIS professionals must take the lead in finding ways to reduce the level of tactical support they need to provide to the organisation. This will free them to undertake more strategic activities that will help their organisation increase its competitive edge and business effectiveness. 

“Like any business leader, GIS professionals need to focus working on the business and not in the business.  New technologies is a key enabler to help stay ahead of the game.  But how the challenge is approached will ultimately determine how GIS professionals keep up with demand, provide a high-quality, high-value service and reduce their own stress levels - making them highly efficient GIS people.”