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Why Business Professionals Should Have Geographic Information Systems Knowledge

Geographic information systems (GIS) analytics uses digital maps, satellite imagery, population surveys and business data to develop visualizations that business, government and nonprofit planners use to facilitate strategic planning and resource allocation and gain operational efficiency.

Expertise in using GIS is instrumental in shaping a future where businesses operate with a clearer, data-driven perspective. Graduates of the Southern Oregon University (SOU) online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Information Analysis and Decision-Making program have the knowledge to effectively use GIS data in scenarios where GIS is critical in decision-making.

How Does GIS Improve Business Intelligence?

GIS impacts business intelligence in various ways. By collating sales and customers on maps and other geospatial datasets, retail-sector decision-makers get real-world insights into traffic and pedestrian patterns, ease of access and egress, competitor locations and protected green areas, environmental set-asides and public areas.

“These visuals streamline the process of analyzing data so that trends can be more easily discovered. Business intelligence enables a company’s executives and managers to make more informed decisions about necessary changes to business strategy,” according to SafetyStratus.

How Do Transportation Planners Use GIS Mapping and Geolocation Functionality?

GIS data is commonly used for managing transportation issues. With the addition of environmental and topographical data in a GIS platform, companies and governments can plan for traffic routing into and from facilities, as well as highway, rail and airport construction.

Transportation researchers, for instance, used GIS data in one study to identify accident locations and optimize road networks using data intelligence. The insights gained helped improve road safety measures and traffic management.

An estimated 1.25 million people die in traffic accidents annually, with up to 50 million others suffering disabling injuries that have a considerable financial impact on the victims, their families and the general economy. Researchers plotted accident data to determine “hot spots” — significant clusters of events of high-impact events — and external data such as weather, geographic features and highway alignment. Based on their findings, transportation planners then investigated the reasons and causes of such problems and find solutions to them.

Why Is It Important to Acquire GIS Skills?

Businesses, urban and transportation planners, utility distributors, disaster damage estimators and community developers are finding new uses for GIS. Medium lists a number of reasons to add expertise in GIS to your skill set, like the following:

  • Emerging as a competitive edge. Adding GIS expertise to your professional toolbox gives you an advantage in the competition for career entry or advancement, as public and private organizations adopt it to make spatially linked decisions.
  • Accessing training resources and technology is simple. ESRI, for instance, provides powerful mapping software, datasets, research and networking opportunities. The U.S. Geological Survey, NASA’s Open Data Portal and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are just a few government sources of geospatial data.
  • Professional versatility. GIS expertise is useful across industries, so understanding the use of GIS creates transferrable knowledge to multiple fields.

“There has never been a better time to learn about Geographic Information Systems,” Medium asserts. “You will be entering the spatial technology world when it’s quickly evolving and in high demand.

How Can You Gain GIS Expertise?

Southern Oregon University’s online MBA with a Concentration in Information Analysis and Decision-Making program offers a deep dive into GIS. The courses focus on:

  • Aligning geographic information to data to identify opportunities, explore issues, solve problems and evaluate opportunities in a geographic and business context
  • Understanding how GIS has a positive impact on decision-making processes in small and large businesses, governments and nonprofits
  • Exploring mapping data and managing geodatabases

The curriculum also includes studies in information management systems and using analytics models to support decision-making, which are critical to success in senior management and executive roles. As the demand for business professionals with information analysis and decision-making skills grows, an advanced degree will continue to be an ideal opportunity.

Learn more about Southern Oregon University’s online MBA with a Concentration in Information Analysis and Decision-Making program.

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