GIS Technology Critical in Banking, Health Care and Farming

If you’re considering an online GIS degree, think about this: the career opportunities are endless.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) technology touches almost every industry. In fact, you probably use GIS every day through your smartphone, GPS device and Google. So, if GIS helps you find your way to the grocery store, just imagine how it can facilitate critical decision making for billion-dollar companies.

Here’s a look at three industries you may not know use GIS.


Financial institutions use GIS technology to analyze demographic data and geographic information before investing in properties to determine risk on a local and global level. Banking executives are using GIS to understand global economy.

GIS software provider, Esri, recently released the Business Analyst Server, a product that combines GIS server technology with extensive business, updated demographic and consumer spending data. According to Esri, this technology allows organizations to perform market analyses and share the results throughout departments. New GIS software developments, such as Esri’s Business Analyst Server can help save banks millions, even billions, of dollars.

In this job market, financial institutions are looking for candidates who can find potential risk by analyzing GIS data. Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank and State Street Bank are among the financial institutions currently hiring people with GIS backgrounds.

Health Care

Using GIS technology, health services organizations and researchers analyze situations through geography and economics.

World public health officials utilized GIS to respond to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, while researchers use the technology to track malaria, HIV and many other disease outbreaks. Hospitals use the technology for data warehousing and to improve medical intelligence by leveraging national data infrastructures.

GIS is so widely used in the health care industry that “Geospatial medicine” has become the future, opening up career possibilities. This industry looks for candidates who can compile and analyze geographical health care trend data. But a GIS background could be attractive for companies hiring upper management.

The Cleveland Clinic, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, and the Banfield Pet Hospital are among the many health care companies currently hiring people with GIS experience and education.


As the world population continues to expand, farmers have less space to grow food. GIS technology helps specialists analyze and visualize agricultural environments. It also facilitates better scientific data management, like yields and carcass information, while reducing costs and increasing production.

Agriculture has become such an important industry for GIS that the Consultative Group on Agricultural Research uses ArcGIS software at 15 research centers around the world. These research centers use spatial applications to understand the interrelationships between urban and rural markets, crop production, deforestation and soil erosion, among other things.

In this sector, it’s highly unlikely a GIS expert will ever pick up a shovel. But, there are many GIS programming, technician and data positions available at organizations that include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Esri and various research universities.

GIS plays a key role in education, government, insurance, retail and many other industries not often associated with the technology. This makes pursuing a GIS degree a decision that could open many doors now and in the future.