This Spotlight on Location Data blog series is brought to you by Esri, a leading provider of software that brings location intelligence to business decisions.
Location data can help solve a variety of business problems by improving facilities management, inventory, maintenance and a host of other functions. But some of the best case studies I listened to at this year’s Esri conference didn’t come from businesses at all.
I sat down with Michelle Ellington, GIS coordinator at the University of Kentucky, to learn more about how the university is using geographic information systems to put location data to work — and how businesses could learn from the university’s example.
A few of her key take-aways:
- GIS helps consolidate knowledge. Large, venerable institutions often have a lot more location data on hand than they realize. GIS tools can help pull all that data into a single set. Consolidating the data helps verify that it is all accurate and makes it easier to update that data, as well as perform further analysis.
- Data is the key to efficient facilities usage. The university plots student registration information on a map, allowing the school to easily understand which facilities are being used by students at which times, to ensure scheduling is being done efficiently. The same system tracks the age of buildings, helping the university schedule maintenance in a timely manner.
- Bad data can be a gateway to information sharing. Getting experts to open up and share the facilities data locked away in their brains can be tricky — particularly when someone doesn’t realize how much valuable information they have. Ellington explained that she was able to get workers at the university to open up by sharing bad data sets with them. Once they were shown inaccurate information that had been compiled, they were only too eager to correct it, she notes.
Watch the full video interview after the jump: