A geographic information system (GIS) helps to analyze and display spatial data. But using a GIS can be costly and time-consuming on your own. In this blog, we look at four ways a GIS consultant can make your life easier.
What is a GIS Consultant?
GIS consultants are experts who understand spatial data. Their role is to help you visualize and comprehend your GIS information so you can make smarter business decisions.
For example, if you are an investor looking to buy acres of land, you can work with a GIS consultant to look at the spatial data and determine if the land meets your unique needs before purchasing. In addition, if any hidden geospatial factors may potentially complicate asset management decisions, your GIS consultant will help you identify and solve those problems before the sale.
GIS consultants offer various services, including:
- GIS analysis
- GIS modeling
- GIS mapping
- GIS database management
- Data interpretation and integration
- GIS-based application development
- CAD data conversions
But GIS consultants aren’t just limited to the investment industry. They work in virtually every industry, including health and human services groups, water and wastewater departments, city planning and development agencies, government agencies such as the Department of Transportation, and so many more.
So, essentially, no matter what industry you work within, GIS consultants could be a smart choice to include in your business’s overall planning. Here are four reasons why:
#1. Technology is Fast Paced & Ever-Changing
Technology is never “set and forget.” There is always room for improvement, and developers constantly make changes to enhance applications.
GIS technology is no different. Recent GIS technology developments include the ability to collect and analyze real-time data, which helps people like prospective homebuyers make smarter buying decisions. And AI is helping to plan urban infrastructure and track changes over time. However, with so many GIS technology changes happening in such a short timeframe, it can be challenging to keep up.
And accessing GIS technology is becoming more expensive–and complex. Most GIS solutions use subscription-based models, meaning costs can quickly add up if you need to provide a subscription to some or all of your team members. And once you pick an ecosystem, such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, it becomes challenging to switch or transition to a different platform.
A GIS consultant saves you the headache of keeping up with GIS technology changes and paying for subscriptions. They can even help you centralize your GIS data so you have a single source of truth. This kind of workflow functionality is critical as big data continues to be at the forefront of business operations.
#2. Big Data Continues to Grow
Big data is defined as “large, diverse sets of information that grow at ever-increasing rates.” The International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that 175 zettabytes of data will be generated annually by 2025. To put it plainly, that’s a lot of data.
And since geospatial data is big data, corporations need to be mindful of how they use it. Generating geospatial maps consumes a hefty amount of big data, which is costly if the information you receive doesn’t benefit your business in some specific way. Consider working with a GIS expert who understands how to utilize your data, help get you the results you’re looking for, and in the end, help make the investment worthwhile.
#3. GIS Requires Expertise
GIS is complicated. Finding actionable information from your big data requires a particular spectrum of knowledge. And it’s not a one-person job. There are several key roles in any given team to ensure a project’s success:
- GIS technicians create the actual geographic data, which includes collecting data, digitizing it, and developing maps.
- GIS specialists analyze, model, and evaluate data.
- GIS managers coordinate the projects and people involved.
- Cartographers graphically design and display the data on maps.
- Surveyors measure and certify a property’s dimensions.
- Drafters create plans and detailed drawings of the property.
- Public administrators handle the land records and other administrative duties.
Each team member is integral to making sense of your GIS data. With so many technicalities involved with GIS, it’s hard to know what you don’t know. Save yourself the stress and costs of training your team by partnering with a GIS consultant who can transform your data into actionable insights.
#4. GIS is Now the Frontline
GIS is at the forefront of business, so it needs to be as efficient and digestible as possible for everyone on your team to understand. That helps to build confidence in your brand. For example, your accountants need to understand how to bill for GIS so they can ensure your investments and spend balance out. Additionally, sales and marketing need to understand the technology’s benefits to position and elevate your company as an authority on the subject. That’s why it helps to partner with a GIS consultant who not only can explain how everything works but is up to date on trends to keep everyone on the same page.
As technology evolves and big data grows ever bigger, businesses need a strong hand to guide them through the power of geospatial data, including how to make sense of it and leverage it. Working with a GIS consultant – one that is fully ingrained in your operations workflow – makes it easier to execute projects more efficiently and capitalize on valuable insights that you might otherwise miss.