The Top 5 Benefits of GIS

The Top 5 Benefits of GIS

GIS benefits organizations in almost every industry and of all sizes. In part due to more standards-based technology and greater awareness of the benefits GIS provides, there has been an increase in interest in and awareness of GIS’ economic and strategic value. GIS software and IT strategies that incorporate GIS are growing rapidly.  These benefits can be categorized into five broad categories:

1. Efficiencies that result in cost savings

The benefits are either associated with carrying out the mission (e.g., labor savings from automating or improving a workflow) or with improvements in the mission itself.   A good example is Sears, which implemented GIS in its logistics operations and has seen dramatic improvements.  Sears drastically reduced the time it takes dispatchers to create routes for their home delivery trucks (by about 75%).  The mission was also greatly benefited by cutting costs (i.e., 12%-15% less driving time by optimizing routes).  Additionally, Sears improved customer service, reduced the number of return visits to the same store, and scheduled appointments more efficiently.

2. Making better decisions

Usually, this involves making better decisions about location.  Some examples include real estate site selection, route/corridor selection, zoning, planning, conservation, and natural resource extraction. People are beginning to realize that making the right decision about a location is crucial for success.

3. Communication improved

Geographic maps and visualizations greatly aid in understanding situations and telling stories.  New languages improve communication between teams, departments, disciplines, professional fields, organizations, and the public.

4. Maintaining better geographic information

The primary responsibility of many organizations is to keep authoritative records about the status and changes in geography (geographic accounting).  Examples of cultural geography include zoning, population census, land ownership, and administrative boundaries.  There is a wide range of physical geography examples, such as forest inventories, biological inventories, environmental measurements, water flows, and a host of other geographic accountings.  For managing these types of systems, GIS provides full transaction support and reporting tools.  As with other information systems, they involve data management and transactions, as well as standardized reporting (e.g., maps) of changing information.  However, they are fundamentally different due to the unique data models and hundreds of specialized tools needed to support GIS applications and workflows.

5. Geographically managing

To understand what’s going on, GIS is becoming increasingly important in government and large corporations. The leaders and executives at the Governmental agencies use GIS information products to communicate.  Products like these provide a visual framework for conceptualizing, understanding and prescribing actions.  Various geographic patterns and relationships can be discussed in briefings, such as land use, crime, the environment, and defense and security. GIS is increasingly being utilized as a tool for enterprise information systems.  The goal here goes beyond simply spatially enabling business tables in a DBMS.  Organizations are increasingly organized based on geography.  Enterprise-wide financial systems transformed the way organizations were managed in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Geographic information systems are transforming the way organizations manage assets, serve customers/citizens, make decisions, and communicate.


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