If you have used Google maps to locate the fuel stations, EV charging stations, or hotels between two cities, you are already using the power of simple Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
Large industries with millions of assets, equipment, vehicles, and employees use GIS for tracking and making better business decisions in marketing and planning. This is evident from the 12.4% CAGR of the GIS market, which will take it to $14.5bn by 2025.
This article will explain the advantages of GIS and Business Intelligence (BI) integration, its industrial applications, and how businesses use GIS as a service.
Advantages of integrating GIS with corporate BI
GIS and BI integration is transforming how businesses optimise assets, save costs, and elevate performance. Here are the benefits of having an integrated GIS/BI approach.
Customer relationship management
Retail businesses such as supermarkets use GIS data of daily customers to analyse the times for the highest footfall. They also analyse the quantity and type of items customers buy at certain times during the day, week, or month.
The BI system uses this information to adjust operating hours, inventory availability, and location pricing. Businesses can use GIS/BI to identify potential locations for new stores and run targeted marketing campaigns.
Better data accuracy and system management
Urban utility data is connected to the geospatial information systems as the municipalities must know the location of water pipes, sewer lines, PNG pipelines, fibre optic cables, meters, valves, telephone switching boxes, and more. This is how GIS and BI help in better urban planning and management.
For example, utility GIS data helps develop optimal road expansion plans that prevent damage to the existing infrastructure during digging. By aligning this information with the traffic management GIS data, infrastructure builders can schedule the work time and equipment availability, thus saving huge costs and traffic snarls.
Efficient inventory and delivery management
GIS/BI are critical tools to address logistics and transportation problems. They help optimise transportation routes saving fuel and time and preventing vehicle wear and tear. Businesses can deliver multiple items in a single trip using GIS/BI data of the city’s traffic.
Businesses use GIS/BI for internal, local, and international market analysis. This helps optimise marketing campaigns, find the best locations for billboards, select the right media, and time the product launches better.
Businesses can monitor key processes using a cohesive view of the organisation’s assets and inventory. This information can drive an efficient reporting model for better decision-making and cost reduction.
Industrial applications of GIS with corporate BI
Complex geographical information systems focus on one industry and provide a much larger data set that the company can analyse using BI. For example, telecom infrastructure companies use GIS to track their cell towers, copper and fibre networks, data centres, DSLAMs, ducts, pipes, and exchanges. Other niche applications of GIS with BI are –
GIS gives a bird’s eye view of urban development. City planners can use this data with BI for future expansion. Additionally, it can optimise the city’s roads and identify the best places for new construction.
Scientists and businesses working in commercial farming use GIS to analyse the precise nutritional value of soil. By analysing this information in a BI system, they can increase food production using optimal water and fertiliser.
Transport planning and safety
Urban infrastructure developers use GIS data of roads and railways to analyse choke points and optimal areas for expansion or restructuring. GIS data also helps analyse road safety issues. For example, blind turns or overgrowing bushes that cause frequent accidents.
Authorities successfully used GIS data during hurricane Katrina in 2005 to understand which streets were accessible and the extent of flooding. While GIS reporting helped understand the ground situation better, BI helped plan the rescue and recovery.
Geologists and mining companies use specialist GIS data to study soil composition and the content of useful minerals in each area. This saves time and money and is a targeted research method that doesn’t need teams on the ground.
GIS mapping saves time and funds by identifying potential areas for on-ground excavation before the actual team and equipment arrive. For example, researchers in the US have studied several sites in the Caucasus using GIS data and analysed them using BI for future research in prehistoric migration out of Africa.
Other common applications of GIS with BI are in the oil and gas sector, pest control, water irrigation, dairy and livestock management, and environmental impact analysis.
From simple GIS systems like Google maps that use BI for the best route to complex systems that find new offshore oil and gas wells, GIS data is a part of our lives. Businesses are investing in partnering with geospatial data service specialists that offer GIS as a service.
Business intelligence extends the value of GIS data much more than a visual representation on a map. This GIS/BI coupling helps businesses analyse geospatial and business data together for better strategic and tactical decisions.