To ESRI’s Thompson, GIS Mapping Innovations Are The ‘Canvas On Which We Draw the Story of Analysis’

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customer profiling. “We’re now in our third major version of that software,” Thompson says. “We’ve been able to keep evolving the software in the cloud…It’s software you buy as a service and tailor to a problem, so customers can configure and customize it.”

Apart from this increasing capability to provide detailed market data and customer profiles for local regions, Thompson identifies a couple of other trends of increasing innovation.

One trend in GIS innovation stems from creating GIS mapping “masks,” or layers of mapped information, that can be easily substituted. As a result, Thompson said, “you can change the underlying data set on your iPhone application” from a map of gas stations in downtown San Diego to a map of restaurants, or a map of surfboard shops in the same area.

Another involves the convergence of GIS mapping technologies with software analytics. “There is a fundamental place for combining these highly accurate systems with enormous data mining capabilities,” Thompson said. “I consider that to be the canvas on which we draw the story of analysis.”

So, for example, a San Diego-based GIS company called The Omega Group has adapted ESRI mapping technology to allow police and fire agencies throughout San Diego County to combine their incident reports. “It allows all members of police and fire agencies to take advantage of visualization, reporting, and analysis,” says Milan Mueller, The Omega Group’s president. As a result, Mueller said police investigators can see crime patterns that might not be visible otherwise, such as clusters of burglaries that are occurring in different cities. Using more sophisticated software analytics, ESRI’s Thompson says it’s possible to answer more difficult questions, such as, “why is this Federal Express package delivery running late?”

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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