GIS and IoT Business Applications

GIS Contributor


To most, GIS is still a strictly academic system. While an increasing number of people are at least vaguely aware of GIS programs’ mapping and analytical capabilities, the actual applications are not particularly well understood. But as these specific programs become more popular and are used more frequently, their applications are becoming more mainstream and they’re often tied in to Internet of Things (or IoT) initiatives in business.

The basic idea behind this tie-in is that augmenting IoT data with interactive GIS mapping can significantly improve understanding of the data. In other words, there are efforts being made in numerous aspects of business to gain a better understanding of geographical areas and patterns. And doing so armed with GIS can yield more useful information.

Companies are already analyzing geography in numerous ways to improve their efficiency and functionality. Most commonly, this calls to mind the efforts of companies to gain a better understanding of where to build new facilities, where to store resources to minimize waste, and even where to lay down power lines or electrical cables if necessary. But increasingly, there are also shipping concerns that can be addressed by way of geographical analysis. With the integration of WiFi into fleet vehicles, drivers and manager are now privy to the real-time sharing of vehicle diagnostics, which means GPS tracking, routing information, and more.

Real-time fleet tracking. Image: Fleetmatics
Real-time fleet tracking. Image: Fleetmatics

This is a strong example of how IoT practices can help businesses to improve efficiency and that’s only through WiFi and GPS tracking. Implementing GIS programs for the same purposes effectively paints a better version of the same picture. The data that can be collected through GIS analysis can yield automatic reports, and those can greatly assist businesses in performing the aforementioned assessments and making relevant decisions.

And that’s just how GIS could be used to enhance existing IoT practices in industry. The truth is, GIS integration with the IoT may also lead to entirely new practices meant to make our world safer and more efficient. It’s been suggested that spatial data could be used to change traffic lights or lock gates, and even that we could reach a stage where actions could be caused through map manipulation in response to gathered data. These types of functions are essentially hypothetical right now, but the ideas demonstrate the potential of GIS and IoT integration to change industries and create new initiatives.

This will all be fascinating to keep an eye on as GIS programs are implemented more broadly. Discussions about “smart” homes, cars, and transportation could quickly morph into talk about a “smart” world as GIS does its part within the IoT.

About the Author:

Charles Bell is a freelance writer who’s passionate about covering a number of different topics. In addition to writing about the latest technology, Charles has a soft spot for anything related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When he’s not researching or writing, you can find him playing Fallout 4 on his PS4.

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