Taking Advantage of the Location Advantage

If you are like me and just moving into the world of GIS, there is a lot of information out there, and getting a handle on it can seem daunting. I decided to take some time to explore the e-learning options that Esri has to offer. Esri offers a variety of both free and paid learning opportunities, one opportunity type are the MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses. They provide lectures, quizzes, and practical labs that are completed at your own pace within the structured four to six weeks of the course.

I decided to take a look at the MOOCs that were available and The Location Advantage really drew my attention. Having been a retail manager in a past life, the idea of location playing into business decisions was not a foreign concept to me. So I signed up for the MOOC and absolutely fell in love with one of Esri’s tools, ArcGIS Business Analyst.

Location, Location, Location

We have all heard the saying, ”Location, Location, Location.” British real estate mogul Harold Samuel coined the phrase back in 1944 and to this day it is part of the lexicon of real estate and business. Location is key. Location plays a role in attracting employees. Is the location that you are considering for a new business venture near your target audience? Where is it in relation to your supply chain? What is the cost of doing business in that location when you consider construction costs and taxes? These are just a few of the many variables that come into consideration when selecting the perfect location for your business. When you combine geographic data, data that your business already collects about its customers and business, and then couple that with the right tools, finding the perfect location becomes a lot easier.

ArcGIS Business Analyst

Esri’s ArcGIS Business Analyst web app gives you the tools to use GIS data to empower your business decisions. ArcGIS Business Analyst takes GIS technology and enhances it with demographic data such as income or age, spending habits, population density, and more. It can be used to recommend locations for business expansion, tell you where your customers live or determine where best to put your advertising dollars to reach your target market. In addition to those features, it has a wide range of built-in tools that allow you to create infographics, custom reports, and maps that will help the user better analyze data to make more informed business decisions.

For example, if you work for an urban clothing company and want to expand your business into a new area. You know that from surveys and other market research your company has conducted that your target market is between 18 and 28 years in age, and makes less than $40,000/year. You can take these parameters and add them as layers over your target area to see where the greatest cluster of your target audience resides. The built-in reporting tools allow you to create infographics and other reports that can be used to illustrate your recommendations. You have now taken a city full of possibilities and narrowed it down to the perfect location.

As you can see, with just those two parameters you can find considerable amounts of data to help you make better choices. Yet that is just a small sample of what you can do with ArcGIS Business Analyst. The next time you need to make a business decision remember the powerful role that geography can play in that choice and definitely make use of tools like Esri’s ArcGIS Business Analyst so you can take advantage of the location advantage.

Want to participate in a MOOC? Check out the upcoming ones for later this year!

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Director of Operations