GIS Technology Aids in Real Estate Site Selection

An online GIS degree will pay huge dividends in the real estate industry.

Real estate brokers and appraisers use GIS to accurately analyze commercial properties. These firms are hired by companies like Starbucks, Home Depot, McDonald’s and Best Buy to select new locations for their growing businesses. Because the financial markets have become much more difficult in recent years, location matters more than ever and GIS gives real estate professionals the information they need to make profitable decisions.

Most real estate GIS professionals are using Esri’s Business Analyst Online, a product that makes thousands of analyses every day through e-commerce addresses to generate drive time and overlay with demographics reports. Commercial real estate agents use this data to make better decisions based on the consumers in the area.

After relying on maps for 20 years, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services incorporated Esri Business Analyst software and truly began to understand and analyze its vast amounts of data. Today, MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services uses Business Analyst for all stages of the commercial real estate life cycle at the company, including development, landlord representation, tenant advisory and site selection, market research, construction, and property management. The software has even helped the company offer services to new customers who were not interested in real estate transactions, Esri says.

“For the first time, I think members of my company really saw their real estate,” said Matt Felton, the company’s director of research for GIS and mapping. “We had a lot of fun with the data, viewing and exploring information in a way they hadn’t experienced before. The more they saw in the maps, the more questions they would ask.”

Shopping center giant United Properties and leasing agent NorthMarq saw similar results when deploying the Business Analyst suite. Their tailored program assesses more than 134 categories of goods and services in each shopping center trade area. Using ArcGIS, Esri says, the data can be organized to determine spending potential, competitive dynamics, and consumer preferences for every category of retail goods and services in the marketplace.

These three companies are just the tip of the iceberg for the potential in GIS and real estate. There are hundreds of positions out there just like Felton’s. Large real estate companies, like Trump International, and quick-service restaurants, like McDonalds, and retailers, like Sears, are constantly searching for professionals who can help their respective businesses better analyze geographical data.

This recent 7-11 job posting seeks a Senior Analyst of Development Intelligence (GIS), while this Wendy’s real estate / GIS position will direct strategic deployment of GIS systems.

To help give you a competitive edge in this job market, it behooves you to pursue and online degree at American Sentinel University, whether it’s an associate or bachelors.

You can also take advantage of the free software available to practice making real estate decisions. In fact, Esri just announced the Business Analyst Online (BAO) application is free to use on smartphones. So, go get a leg up on your competition in the real estate GIS industry.

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