GIS and Big Data - Transforming the World
The phrase ‘data is the new oil’ sums up the significance of Big Data and the possibilities that it has opened up. There is no industry that has not been impacted by the Big Data revolution. GIS refers to the Geographic Information System; it creates, manages, analyses, and maps all types of data. So, there you have it! Data is at the core of GIS as well. GIS links all kinds of data with descriptive information. This linking is referred to as GIS mapping and it helps analyse patterns, relationships, and contexts in many industries, which aid decision making.
This is exactly what Big Data does too. However, GIS is based on geographic science. When the power of Big Data and GIS are combined, it provides a comprehensive framework to measure and analyse aspects across many disciplines, geospatial visualisation included. This is beneficial for governments and businesses alike, with reference to finding and delivering value to customers with the underlying data. These insights will be used not just to analyse, but also to predict the future through geospatial services powered by Big Data engines.
The GIS evolution
To realise the potential of the GIS and Big Data combination, GIS needs to evolve and scale up. Given the power of the Internet and the Cloud, this combination is now within the reach of most industries that are looking to leverage it. GIS can be used to represent all kinds of data types and has given rise to Web GIS platforms. These platforms are utilising the advantages of Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud, faster systems, and all-pervasive devices to think up new applications and scenarios. The challenge is to imagine innovative ways to leverage large volumes of data to find transformational insights that deliver value to the world at large.
Web GIS integrates all data types and is easy to use with a collaborative approach, which is helping to break down many silos. It is making GIS more accessible and social with focussed apps, mapping, analytics and much more. GIS organises content as web maps and services in the form of maps, imagery, tabular data, social media content and real-time information from sensors. This whole gamut enables incredible visual analytics, backed by the power of Big Data, that help to understand and analyse new patterns. It also has another excellent attribute - content management capabilities across all silos to better organise and collaborate. There are organisations helping governments and the UN to combat global poverty and child trafficking through geospatial data services.
Some GIS and Big Data applications
The possibilities of this combination are enormous and disruptive. From empowering intelligence operations to enabling a 360-degree view of shopping behaviours in a neighbourhood, the potential is diverse.
Marketing: Predictive analytics based on social media conversations, mobile phone data and browsing behaviours is transforming the marketing landscape. When this Big Data is combined with GIS apps, it provides organisations with spatial components to analyse and predict customer demands and enhance their supply chain management solutions. GIS helps understand these inputs, specific to locales, to help tweak localised marketing strategies, which is especially useful in retail and eCommerce. This results in superior customer experiences that drive revenues and help build loyalty.
Policy making: These apps and the insights they provide through predictive modelling are excellent for policy making in disaster response, health care (disease surveillance) and crime detection. These are the areas that require vast data points to be analysed with speed and accuracy. The geospatial visualisation adds to the capabilities to make better and timely decisions.
Business intelligence: A few metrics that most organisations aim for are profitability, better ROI, lesser time to market and more sentient customer engagement.* Deep insights gained from the convergence of Big Data GIS help immensely in achieving this. Banks use these geospatial insights to make decisions on expansion or consolidation. Financial institutions utilise these inputs to detect fraud claims or assess properties for natural disaster risks before providing loans and insurances. This concept will empower fraud management in finance industry greatly.
Climate modelling and analysis: Historical climate Big Data combined with geographical inputs of the present is helping in climate modelling. These models help to better understand climate changes over long periods of time. It includes atmospheric, oceanic and land processes to predict more accurate climate change patterns. This helps in comprehending the changes in-depth and consider their impact to build resilience through better responses.
A few other areas that Big Data and GIS combination can help transform are the aviation industry, political campaign planning, urban planning and much more. This is still an emerging area and possibilities are being explored to leverage the maximum potential of both these technologies.
* For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.