GIS Does Matter

Nicholas CarrIf you have ever read “IT Doesn’t Matter” by Nicholas Carr, you are familiar with the case against investing in infrastructure-type resources such as electricity. In his blog post, Nicholas Carr contends that IT is in the same boat. Companies should ensure it is well-managed, but they should not make risky investments in IT. IT is not strategic.

GIS belongs to this category of technologies, in which it is thought of as a utility or infrastructure; however, it is still cutting edge enough that companies taking risk in GIS have the potential to get ahead of their competition if they implement it correctly and efficiently.

For companies interested in investing in GIS, there are a few things to know.

  1. GIS is not IT. Geospatial understanding is required to implement GIS correctly. In many cases, companies have tasked IT departments with GIS, but the results vary from middling to poor. Integral acts as expert at whatever level is necessary to complete the project with the best results. We can take your project through every step from beginning to end, or we can provide design direction to internal developers.
  2. GIS solves very specific sets of problems. These problems most likely have a spatial element but range from reaching customers, to exploring impedances such as competitors or vulnerabilities, to increasing supply chain efficiency. Integral will help determine if GIS is right for the problem presented through an honest look at the problem, data, and solid proof of concept.
  3. Maps are intuitive, but data are not. You may need experts if your team isn’t knowledgeable in this area. The thing about all those points on that beautifully designed map is that they didn’t just appear there. GIS requires the deliberate organization of data. But once the work is done, you’ll be able to implement data-based strategy and benefit the organization on a daily basis.


Joelle Prokupek is a writer/editor inspired by good design and engaging business narratives.