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By Timothy Oliver, GIO Assistant CIO, Horry County
Location, location, location is no longer just from the real estate perspective. As consumers, we want to know “what’s around me?” “Where can I get the best prices “or “what I want is in stock nearest me?” As service providers, where do my customers live, shop, or travel to? As government, where do my constituents live, the distribution of tax revenue vs. expenditures, the location of 911 calls. The list goes on, but the bottom line is…it is all about the WHERE.
The proliferation of GIS data along with Big Data has pushed GIS into the mainstream. GIS professionals have moved beyond the data creator/editor roles to more astute analyst roles, which includes linking, mashing and consuming then, visualizing, analyzing and telling the story starting at the map. The next great leap for GIS professionals is to understand the data behind the data. The responsibility moves beyond telling a compelling story or printing a cartographic masterpiece.
The challenge and future for CIO’s and GIS professionals is two-fold. The first challenge is to provide actionable information to decision makers and first responders (Police, EMT’s Disaster responders, insurance adjusters post disaster.) Actionable means more than dots on a map, but pertinent information based on the current/real time incident. Examples include first responders enroute to a commercial structure fire need to know potential hazardous chemical information not only on scene, but on the surrounding properties and potentially, evacuation of nearby critical facilities. They need all of this information before they arrive on scene. Or an insurance agent has access to the local government damage assessment data prior to arriving on scene post natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake. GIS professionals need to be able to provide actionable information real time to their customers. This means being able to understand from end users what is actionable information.
Actionable information in the private sector is just as critical as in the public sector. Rooftop counts have long been a basis for site selection. Now add