The Growing Role of GIS for Renewable Energy

How GIS is Used to Map Renewable Energy Resources

Imagine taking a road trip and as you’re driving, you come across wind turbine after wind turbine. There’s dozens of them on either side of you as you’re driving past fields and farm land. Why are they there? And how was it decided that wind turbines should be placed there? Chances are GIS technology helped project planners make this decision.

With a global focus on climate change, there is a significant need for renewable energy sources like solar, wind, water, and thermal energy. As great as renewable energy is, it can’t be used everywhere.

The question is, why not?

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The Power of GIS Technology During Natural Disasters

We’ve all seen, heard about, and even felt the devastation caused by Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria. Millions of people have lost their homes, don’t have access to electricity and water, and are in desperate need of relief efforts and emergency aid. For businesses, these natural disasters have impacted supply chain processes, transportation of goods, and the ability to restock products swiftly to keep up with demand.

Despite these challenges though, GIS technology is making it easier for companies to prepare for impending storms. For example, Home Depot’s supply chain and merchandising teams worked around-the-clock to restock stores and transport goods in preparation of Hurricane Irma. GIS technology allowed brands like Home Depot to monitor stores, ramp up and activate the best distribution centers, and determine the best routes to get supplies in and out.

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Mapline’s Made Major Changes to User Experience

Software Update: The Mapping Experience Made Even Easier

Faster, Intuitive User Face

For successful mapping, users need an intuitive interface that makes data visualization fast and easy. Mapline’s latest software update gives a complete face lift to the user experience, cleaning up the platform and making it easier for users to create maps and analyze their data. A live chat feature has also been added if users have questions or need help.

New and Improved Mobile Friendly Experience

Now users can create and analyze your maps all from your mobile device. Mapline’s latest update makes it fast and easy to work within the platform anywhere, anytime, so users don’t have to be tied down to their desktops.

Add Map Elements from One Drop Down

With a single “Add” dropdown button, users can incorporate datasets, territories or boundaries, custom shapes, and miscellaneous pins into their maps. This makes it faster for users to visualize their data and customize what they include in their maps.

Draw Custom Shapes Faster

When users wanted to create multiple custom shapes, they’d have to select a shape, create it, then repeat. Mapline’s update to its custom shapes feature cuts that time in half, letting users draw multiple shapes at once. Users can now also edit their shapes after drawing and add labels and names for custom organization.

Filter When and How You Want

Mapline’s Filter feature is more powerful than ever before. Users can now create filters based on multiple columns within their datasets so they can customize their views and get more specific with their data analysis.

Additional Upgrades

Mapline’s latest software update includes other upgraded features for users, including:

  • An easier territory styling that will be responsive when coloring boundaries based on pin data.
  • An adjusted dropdown menu where the “Marker” label has been changed to “Styling”. This section allows users to edit their pins, make them a specific dot density, and upload custom images for the pins – all from a single menu.
  • Reformatted styling within the platform to have the same look and feel as the Mapline website.
  • Moving the “Tools” button from the left sidebar to the main header bar.

Have questions about Mapline’s software update? Contact us today for assistance!

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Mapline’s V5 Update

The biggest changes are here, and they’re taking the mapping experience to a whole new level! Since it’s Mapline’s goal to exceed the expectations of our users, here are the changes that we designed and developed over the past few months to bring you the best mapping experience in the most time-efficient ways.

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New Store Opening: How Brands Use GIS Mapping for Strategic Growth

Retailers and restaurant chains play a constant game of Goldilocks and the Three Bears when hunting for the right site location to open a new store. One possible location may be in an area with a large enough population, but may be too close to a competitor. Another may be easily accessible, but not in an area with enough target consumers. So how do brands find just the right location to expand their business? This is where retailers and restaurant chains like Chick-Fil-A leverage GIS mapping software to help them make this decision.

Get Inside the Behaviors of Your Customers

No matter how perfect a retail site location is, it means nothing if a retailer’s consumers don’t live or shop in that location. When choosing a new location, retailers first have to get inside the mind of their customers and understand what their needs, wants, and purchase habits are. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do your customers like to shop at other stores surrounding the site location you’re interested in?
  • Do customers in that location need your products or services?
  • Will customers travel to your location?

GIS mapping helps you answer these questions by providing insights into customer behaviors and purchasing preferences. Let’s take Chick-Fil-A as an example. The renowned restaurant chain operates 2,200 locations and opens up to 100 new sites a year. When deciding on a new location, Chick-Fil-A heavily relies on the data and spatial analyses it gets from GIS mapping software. The brand starts with census data and builds out buyer personas to better understand who the consumers are in the area that is being considered. This data and being able to visualize consumer purchase habits and behaviors helps Chick-Fil-A make strategic decisions when opening up a new restaurant.

Strategize Locations Down to the Very Intersection

Besides customer analysis, companies use GIS mapping to get visibility into other aspects of making a retail site selection, such as distribution and delivery routes, facilities management, competitor locations, and other traffic generators like shopping malls, stadiums, and airports. Spatial analysis then helps brands analyze the relationships between all of these factors. If a new store is opened here, are the routes around the location reliable for delivery and distribution? Are there enough shopping centers and events around to consistently draw crowds of people who would shop or eat at your store?

For Chick-Fil-A, all these factors and more are considered when making a new site selection. Using spatial analysis, the restaurant chain can drill all the way down to the intersection to analyze potential new locations and determine if it’s a good spot to be in or not. At the same time, Chick-Fil-A uses the technology to view all its stores across the country, examine performance, identify trends, and determine why some stores are doing better than others.

GIS mapping software has become the key way for businesses like Chick-Fil-A to efficiently visualize and analyze a lot of data at once and make quicker, more strategic business expansion decisions. How are you currently deciding where to open a new store location? Find out how GIS mapping can work for you.

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