Geographic Information Science & Technology Graduate Programs

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How GIS is Taking Advantage of Big Data

Geographical Information Systems or GIS, get us to our favorite restaurants, aid us in avoiding traffic snafus, and help us navigate through foreign turf. With more companies than ever carving out a deep GIS budget, it also plays a huge role in business development. By utilizing the powers of Big Data, these companies are now able to maximize GIS capabilities to drive business growth. Here are just a few ways that GIS and Big Data make a powerful couple in today’s world, and how the public is reaping the benefits.

The Demographic Advantage

busy-subway

Image via Flickr by ianqui

Checking into a business from a smartphone or tablet can surely attract attention and provide information on customers who have stopped by. What it doesn’t do, however, is provide an accurate depiction of potential clientele. By mapping out the demographics of the surrounding area, business owners can tap into a deeper understanding of their client base. This realization can potentially highlight some major flaws in a company’s marketing plan and allow them to change up their current strategy to meet the needs of area demographics.

The demographic advantage can also help companies that have a long-standing reputation among their existing clientele. By tweaking their marketing strategy to target a new audience they can potentially refresh their brand, keep it modern, and shed light on an aspect of their brand that might not have been as appealing to existing customers.

Enhancing Public Health

public-health-gis

Image via  Flickr by Maryland GovPics

From the common cold to a life-threatening emergency, access to healthcare is crucial to ensuring a healthy society. The marriage of Big Data and GIS is bringing healthcare into the future, with many benefits to the public. Businesses and local government alike can use GIS to determine what services need to be rendered based on local health trends, and locate new sites for healthcare facilities. The public benefits from this by having increased awareness and access to nearby facilities ready to address their healthcare needs. Non-profit and for-profit entities alike should like this too as a healthy employee should be a top priority to any business.

Creating Emergency Action Plans

firetruck

Image via Flickr by dingatx

Big or small, emergencies affect us all at some point. Public service cornerstones are tapping into the powers of GIS to create action plans in the event of an emergency. Knowing when to head off a potentially dangerous situation or mitigate damage is extremely useful for businesses, as is how to handle a crisis at its onset. From military bases to fire departments to pharmacies and hospitals, GIS can help map out the geography within buildings to determine the best possible way to evacuate or take shelter. The brick and mortar component of a business can usually be rebuilt, but when it comes to protecting the most valuable assets–employees in and around the building–an accurate action plan is critical.

GIS is quickly becoming the darling of the business world, and it is easy to see why. With Big Data in its corner, it appears to be an unstoppable force in helping businesses understand clientele, and help them manage and ensure a healthy community. GIS can help you do far more than just seek out a new restaurant.