Today is GIS Day - a day worth celebrating for us as proponents of data-driven decision making.
Location Intelligence is all the rage – geocoding, geofencing, spatial analysis are being embraced in mainstream analytics. Everything does happen somewhere! And while we are all aware of the ecological fallacy – just because two things happen in the same place, it doesn’t mean they are correlated – they likely are. As a firm committed to making people lives easier through the use of transformative data and analytics – we know geography is the secret sauce. It is useful for linking disparate data sources together, modelling local behaviours and preferences, predicting and inferring consumer behaviour at a small spatial scale. We can look at big trends and bring knowledge, insights and action together – about people and markets and look at digital behaviour and find ways to link online and offline. Whether you look at business problems from a market, segment or location point of view, geo analysis and GIS are covered in much of the advanced modelling these days. Adding a location to every database you store makes sense.
We at EA know our industry was built on the foundation of geodemography. It grew through the era of desktop mapping, CRM and the integrated view of the customer. We then crossed the digital divide linking online and offline behaviour (in part using geography as the “link” key). We have been able to do so much more because of GIS systems – from the early days at Compusearch using Atlas Graphics and Mapinfo, embedding maps in our apps with MapObjects to our powerful EA ENVISION SAAS system powered by ArcGIS, we have been enabled by GIS. Not a geographer, but a mathematician by training, I have been a convert to what our friends at Esri call the Science of Where.
Today, on behalf of the whole EA team, I salute the GIS providers, users and technologists for their great work. And also, I am especially appreciative of the work of two GIS pioneers: EA’s own Tony Lea, who taught us to ensure tech tools don’t “dumb down” best methodologies and use the power of GIS to make that happen and Esri founder, Jack Dangermond, for his over 50 years of innovation and leadership in making geography matter and elevating the Science of Where everywhere!
- Jan Kestle, President and CEO
- Gelsomina Montana , Data Analyst
“From the roads we drive on, to the new stores opening their doors, GIS was likely used in some way. When talking about the importance of GIS I am always reminded of Tobler’s first law of geography — “Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.”
The ability to combine spatial information with tabular data is paramount to our understanding of space. Whether the context is retail, social or environmental, understanding space is of the utmost importance for navigating difficult decisions and planning for the future. This is exemplified by our ability to use GIS to build and implement statistical models that combine many data points to answer an important question: “Is this an ideal location to open a new store?” GIS allows us to analyse an existing network of stores and apply those learnings by building a model to help us understand where to locate next. GIS helps us visualize the past, helps us analyze the now and will help us find our way forward. Now more than ever, GIS is proving just how important it is to the health of our economy and society.”
- Mike McDuffee, Senior Data Analyst
The map above depicts the results of a sales forecasting model implemented in ArcGIS Pro. A score above 100 indicates that this area in Albuquerque is an above average area to host a new store.
“GIS is fascinating to me because it can be used for any spatial exercise or problem. You can literally use it to understand any spatial phenomenon on Earth better if you have the data to analyze. Even with the amount of data we have today, many organizations are still scratching the surface as to how these data can be leveraged and GIS is often underutilized and using, manipulating and visualizing these data.
I think it is also worth noting that GIS job opportunities are plentiful and across many disciplines. I have friends that work for retailers, banks, restaurants, the CIA, the Forestry Service, health departments, the National Weather Service, to name a few.”
- John Crouse, Analytics Lead
To our GIS experts – celebrate what you do – you are amazing. Happy GIS Day!