Why mapping could be the key to unlocking your data's potential

As the world around us becomes smarter and more connected, the need to keep updated with the latest information is more important than ever. Businesses are dealing with higher amounts of data every day, but how can you make the most of the torrent of information created by your workers and customers?

Fortunately, Esri UK is able to provide a simple and easily visible way to make sense of the connected world around us thanks to its GIS (geographic information systems) mapping and analytics system.

With over 350,000 customers worldwide, the company has grown hugely in its lifetime, and works with some of the biggest organisations in the world, Esri UK’s Simon Weaver told ITProPortal.

"A map is something we all grow up with,” he notes, “a picture speaks a thousand words. A map that present everything is much more intuitive."

Esri’s GIS service is able to collate huge amounts of data, then present it in a way that allows for in-depth informative analysis that could be the key to gaining a crucial business advantage.

This includes partnering with retailers to provide ‘heat maps’ of customer movement around their stores, allowing them to plan more engaging product layouts and where best to have promotions.

Commercial agents and local governments can use the same technology at a bigger scale, spotting growing trends and areas of interest in order to focus resources or investment towards the next big thing.

But GIS is so versatile it can also be used far away from the comfort of shopping malls, allowing utility workers out in the field to spot issues such as water leaks, or faults in energy infrastructure.

Esri works with major UK utility companies such as Wessex Water and EEG to provide a smarter, more connected way to work that provides greatly improved efficiency and savings.

Instead of needing to use GPS-enabled devices, which suffer from slow data transfer speeds, Esri’s analytics can provide customers with an instant view of the information gathered by sensors spread over a large area.

Back at the company call centres, customer service agents can also be quickly kept up to date with the latest updates on major leaks, or tell customers when it is safe to turn their water back on, or when a maintenance team will arrive on site, providing a better customer experience all around.

Esri isn’t just keeping its tools locked up, however, as the company has released open APIs to allow developers to get on board, and also supports start-ups that want to get involved in data analytics.

"Whatever we do, people come up with more creative ways of using it," Weaver notes.