Geosk: GIS Data as a Service (Daas)

Caitlin Dempsey


Pitney Bowes Business Insight (PBBI) recently introduced Geosk  a new on demand solution that provides users with access to the most up-to-date customer defined GIS data sets. It allows users to find and subscribe to geospatial data digitally as opposed to ordering data delivery from CDs or DVDs. The new service complements PBBI’s large catalog of geospatial data sets which allows analysts across a variety of industries the ability to gain new insight into their customers.  Scott Robinson, Director, Global Data Products at Pitney Bowes Business Insight offers some perspective on what this new service is, how it works, what makes this new service different from other cloud data delivery services, and how it can benefit GIS professionals.

How does the Geosk data search work?

Geosk provides users with a single resource for tackling all types of challenges that come with the management of geospatial data. It’s a user-friendly platform that incorporates search and discovery as key components of the solution. In the Geosk Marketplace, customers can perform keyword searches, like content type (i.e. Streets), geography (i.e. San Francisco, a specific postcode), or other search terms including file format, data type, projection, data vendor and customer rating. MapRank™ search technology is used to enhance and refine the search, ensuring that the most geographically relevant results are returned.
The information is then stored in the cloud and indexed to optimize search efficiency.  The data set can be stored natively in various spatial data file formats, allowing users to identify the data they want and perform on demand transformations.

What sets Geosk apart from others on the market?

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Geosk is a dynamic, cloud-based content management platform that serves up more than one thousand data listings, which can be combined with a customer’s own proprietary data for analysis. Users can search through the on-demand catalog digitally, to see and customize data for instant download and analysis.

Another aspect that sets Geosk apart is the accessibility of the GIS data once the search is completed. After a data set is found, a user can access the data immediately and in many cases, customize the amount of data to have as little or as much of it as they want.

An additional unique feature is the search technology. Text-based search dominates the search world today and search results from a text-based query can be overwhelming for the user to review. To help fine-tune results, we use the geographical location of the data set of interest. Using the location of the data itself helps reduce the sheer volume of the results and to rank the results according to the needs of the user.

What value does it provide to customers?

With Geosk, customers are able to find, acquire and subscribe to available data sets digitally rather than relying on data delivery on CDs or DVDs. It offers customers the ability to purchase data immediately through PBBI’s online catalog, or also to use the Geosk platform to manage internal data stored in disparate databases. Using the platform dramatically enhances the search and accessibility of spatial content, whether the content is internally or externally licensed.

We’re trying to help the spatial industry become more productive by providing many of the same features and functionality available on popular platforms for downloading content like music, books and movies. Users can access Geosk to find, acquire and manage spatial content, so that they can perform intelligent analysis of their business challenges. Ultimately, we looked to provide a solution that cut down on the time wasted on searching for data in multiple formats, so customers could spend more time growing their business.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.