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John Black and Jack Dangermond

The Geospatial Cloud: Fast Insights Into Big Data

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Article written By Jack Dangermond

Integrating the power of location intelligence across an organization

Geospatial cloud platforms, computing power and geographic information system (GIS) software give businesses the ability to analyze massive storehouses of information. The results often reveal new data patterns and stimulate innovative ways to increase success through an understanding of location intelligence.

But rather than spitting out reams of stats, tables, charts and spreadsheets, the geospatial cloud empowers people to plot complex analysis on easy-to-understand smart maps. These digital maps allow leaders, strategists and many levels of workers to visualize important trends across lines of business and take action in mission-focused projects.

The maps, when linked to the massive data streams from the Internet of Things (IoT), can even be updated in real time to monitor subtle trends. The location intelligence derived from these rivers of information can be easily combined with AI and predictive analytics to map out ways to drive productivity or adjust strategies before bigger problems develop.

With the geospatial cloud, people can create maps that can represent thousands of relationships between hundreds of layers of data on demographics, sales, population growth, traits of customers, likely customers, competitors, supply chains, delivery routes and countless other variables.

The results also can be modeled in 3D to support the work of professionals like urban planners and facilities managers, who also benefit from data streaming from the IoT for real-time updates to their models and maps.

With open platforms to stimulate innovative applications, it’s hard to summarize the richness of the tools and growing power of the geospatial cloud. But its influence can be seen in the thousands of leading businesses using it to analyze millions of layers of data and produce billions of maps every day.

Geospatial Cloud Grows in Strength, Flexibility and Accessibility

Increasingly, corporate leaders are realizing that intelligent maps provide an effective way to monitor sales, review assets in the field, keep up to date on national and global social and economic trends, and reinforce common goals across all departments.

The flexibility of tools, apps and data available in the geospatial cloud puts its power within reach of nearly everyone in an organization. Whether employees rely on company servers, desktop computers, laptops, tablets or smartphones, whether they work in the corporate office or are mobile and remote, they all can connect. Such widespread accessibility protects against information silos and allows for wider sharing of knowledge across the organization.

For instance, drawing upon analytic models, predictive algorithms, apps and big data, detailed insights can emerge through computerized analysis of layers of data about customers’ past buying history, their demographics by neighborhood and their interests by age, gender, education or profession. It also can factor in larger trends like local economies, seasonal weather, time of day and national or international political and social trends.

At the broader other end of the scale, smart maps receiving data from sensors on the IoT allow company analysts see trends mapped out in real time. The visualized location intelligence can show buying trends, population shifts or traffic patterns that affect deliveries, supply chains, asset management and research and development, and take into account trends across hundreds of layers of demographic, economic and political data.

Span of Influence of the Geospatial Cloud

Though vital to the for-profit sector, the power of the geospatial cloud is not the sole province of private business and industry.

It also helps most national, state and local governments map critical issues from health to crime to utility lines and even to eradicating land mines. And it undergirds the work of nongovernmental organizations around the world—groups trying to solve environmental issues, address social justice concerns and develop mission-focused, crisis-response strategies for hurricanes, earthquakes or epidemics.

For example, apps can take ongoing satellite imagery and current weather and temperature data to build a Living Atlas—a real-time picture of the world that shows permanent land masses, changing polar caps, epidemics, rising or falling wages, and trends in local agriculture or regional social culture.

Location-based information also can shape many policy decisions and help people across the political spectrum understand issues and options. The geospatial cloud offers scalable analysis from a single building to a neighborhood to a town, state, nation, continent, or the entire globe.

Keeps Evolving and Adding Depth

Broad in reach and deep in analytic power, the geospatial cloud can engage the minds and spirits of millions around the world through a project like the Living Atlas.

Apps also can be developed that engage people around the world in mission-driven campaigns and social enterprise. Volunteers can work together to track worrisome trends, and businesses can use location-based data and predictive apps to understand what consumers will want and need several years from now.

The geospatial cloud introduces a whole new scale of spatial intelligence, and businesses and organizations of every size and purpose are using it to break new ground and digitally transform their enterprises.

To learn more about the geospatial cloud and digital transformation, visit esri.com/digital-transformation.

 

Jack DangermondJack Dangermond is the founder and president of Esri, the world’s sixth largest privately held software company. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Redlands, California, Esri is widely recognized as the technical and market leader in geographic information systems, or GIS, pioneering innovative solutions for working with spatial data.