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Real-Time GIS for Increased Visibility, Accountability and Productivity

By Caleb Benedict, Research Analyst, GIS and IoT

Companies are quickly finding new and innovative ways to recognize value by integrating real time mapping applications into their business processes. Real-time mapping is the GIS process of tracking changes on the earth’s surface and displaying that information on a computer screen. This process can include changes to company assets and resources (vehicles, cargo containers, people), and changes in physical terrain based on weather conditions, construction activity, etc.  Companies are increasingly using real-time GIS to improve workforce and project supervision, oversight and accountability.

Examples can be seen in a variety of industries:
  • When port security officials track the location of cargo containers, personnel, and ships as they travel through sea ports.
  • When disaster relief officials track the movement of floodwaters 
  • When insurance companies monitor impact areas from natural disasters allowing them to estimate monetary damages and number of claims
Recent applications of real-time mapping:

Port security officials in Los Angeles use GIS to increase their security measures by tracking people, ships, cargo containers, and vehicles in real time.  This allows them to monitor all aspects of port operations so that any abnormalities can be easily identified and investigated. (http://bit.ly/1jtqwbM)

A handful of insurance companies have also found a way to use real time mapping to estimate the impact of natural disasters to policyholders by mapping the damage areas from floods, tornados and other events that result in insurance claims. This has been helpful to insurance companies because it allows them the ability to estimate damages and prepare their staff for high volumes of new claims. (http://bit.ly/1h9iHus)

The use of GIS in real-time is another element of digital transformation.  You are using imaging sensors to digitize physical terrain, assets and resources so you can develop algorithms to help you more efficiently understand and manage your business.

Adding sensors from connected devices can also add valuable data to your maps.  Knowing the location and status of your vehicles, equipment, materials and workers can enable sophisticated algorithms that impact scheduling and resource utilization.


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Kevin Benedict
Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.

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More Stories By Kevin Benedict

Kevin Benedict is the Senior Analyst for Digital Transformation at Cognizant, a writer, speaker and SAP Mentor Alumnus. Follow him on Twitter @krbenedict. He is a popular speaker around the world on the topic of digital transformation and enterprise mobility. He maintains a busy schedule researching, writing and speaking at events in North America, Asia and Europe. He has over 25 years of experience working in the enterprise IT solutions industry.