Five Things You Didn't Know GIS Could Do

1 - Five Things You Didn't Know GIS Could Do
2 - Fuel Your Coffee Fix
3 - Help Stop the Spread of Ebola
4 - Improve the Process From A to B
5 - Drive STEM Education
6 - Help Combat Global Climate Change
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Five Things You Didn't Know GIS Could Do

by Darryl K. Taft

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Fuel Your Coffee Fix

Notice a new Starbucks on your block? It wasn't placed there randomly. The company uses a market planning and store development application powered by GIS called Atlas that helps it grow in a sustainable way. Using Atlas, Starbucks is able to evaluate local commerce hubs, retail clusters, demographics, traffic and transportation nodes to identify the optimal sites for new locations. Atlas also helps tailor the placement of Starbucks products such as its upscale Clover brewing system and imminent wine and beer offerings by analyzing customers' spending habits in a particular location.

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Help Stop the Spread of Ebola

At the height of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, GIS mapping technology solutions provider Esri partnered with the World Health Organization to track and analyze the number of people infected, and to try to prevent the virus from being spread that way. In addition, the software enabled agencies to locate Ebola treatment centers and identify where they are being planned for the future. The technology was able to identify potential new outbreaks by using cell phone data, enabling public health and medical professionals to access and treat the population sooner.

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Improve the Process From A to B

As global population expands and infrastructure ages, engineers, urban planners and many more who work to optimize the transportation of goods and people have turned to GIS. From expanding and rejuvenating Europe's largest and most important port to modeling options for future transportation infrastructure, sophisticated mapping technology is helping officials make better decisions about the ways in which people and things are moved.

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Drive STEM Education

It's not just college students who use ArcGIS, Esri's GIS. Esri sees applied geography services and solutions taking a front seat in the drive toward promoting STEM education at all levels, which is why it committed $1 billion as part of President Obama's ConnectED initiative to offer its technology to every K-12 school in the United States. At Bow High School in Bow, N.H., students used GIS technology to create a mapping app that shows people where trash is around the town forests. The data is shared on a collective map accessed by local community service groups, who clean and mark the site.

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Help Combat Global Climate Change

In a partnership with the White House Climate Data Initiative, geospatial technology and expertise is being used to help cities like New Orleans plan for the effects of global climate change. By taking data directly from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Institute and the U.S. Geological Survey, Esri can provide tools that can bring climate change information to life—such as an application showing the impact of a 1-meter sea level rise in New Orleans—that can in turn empower state, local and private-sector organizations to take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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