GIS and Traffic, Married in Real Time

When it comes to information analysis, how do you take something on the leading-edge and push it even further? Give it data in real time. And that’s what is happening in a deal between smartphone and communications network equipment vendor Nokia and GIS software and services vendor Esri. The combination should be of interest to anyone who plans to learn GIS technology or already has a keen grasp and is in the industry.

Geographic information systems is a leading-edge set of techniques, tools, and methods for using location to pull together otherwise disparate data. Analysts, managers, and executives can then use those commonalities to gain insights and understanding otherwise unavailable.

What makes real-time data a potential boon is that organizations can use GIS to better understand things as they happen. Time is an enemy. The longer an organization has to wait before analyzing results, the greater a chance there is that actions and options previously open to the organization may close. That can be critical, whether you’re talking about missing a marketing insight until after a competitor has exploited it or racing against the clock to save people after a natural disaster.

In this case, HERE Traffic, a company owned by Nokia, compiles traffic information through a number of sources, “including the world’s largest compilation of both commercial and consumer probe data, the world’s largest fixed proprietary sensor network, event-based data collected from government and commercial sources, and billions of historical traffic records.” Now this real-time traffic information available to Esri:

With HERE Traffic, Esri will enhance its web and cloud location platform with more precise location data for intelligent routing. Fleet operators will be able to better manage problems as they occur in real time, re-routing fleets when traffic unexpectedly hits, and providing alerts when pickup or delivery delays occur. With congestion in the top 100 highway bottlenecks getting worse, real-time traffic information helps fleets avoid traffic hotspots so that they get can get to their destinations faster and more safely.

Such information could be of vital importance too many GIS implementations, whether an organization must manage a supply chain network, run a fleet of vehicles, understand movement patterns of consumers to provide mobile services, or update delivery dispatching. For example, both Apple and Google have shown interest in crowdsourced navigation systems.

This partnership makes a broad base of traffic information available to one of the most popular GIS platforms. Not only does it expand what current GIS users will be able to do, but the move makes the technology important to an even larger set of organizations.

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