Geographic information systems have been described as a set of technologies that help us to see our small blue planet in better ways (Longley et al., 1999). More commonly referred to by the acronym GIS, applications include: local governance; business and service planning; logistics; and environmental management and modelling. In both public and private sector research, GIS are used to manage geographic information, help identify geographical trends and patterns and to model spatial processes.
However, GIS have been described as a “nearly” technology for marketers (McLuhan, 2003). Beyond the hype, the actual use of GIS presently is limited to the larger retailers and suppliers, with little expansion into marketing applications. This, despite widespread agreement that the true value of geographical information is only revealed once that information is analysed geographically! McLuhan (2003) cites a survey by GeoBusiness Solutions revealing that only 28% of company boards fully understand the operation and marketing benefits of GIS, with the perceived (and often, actual) high cost of investing in GI software and data products being one of the barriers to GIS reaching its potential. Continue reading Geodemographics and GIS – Richard Harris, Peter Sleight, Richard Webber
Over the past few years there has been a remarkable increase in interest is GIS. Many of the earliest users were in universities, government departments and environmental agencies. Activity in these traditional core areas is now being supplemented by vigorous growth in several emerging markets, the most important one being business and service planning. For many of these new users, the GIS focus to date has been basic mapping and asset management. Other, more advanced, users are modelling data held in integrated databases. This modelling activity is frequently referred to as spatial analysis.
WHAT IS SPATIAL ANALYSIS?
“Spatial analysis” is one of those terms that are so widely used in so many different contexts that it is difficult to define succinctly. Good child (1988, p; 68) offers a good general definition of spatial analysis as “that set of analytical methods which require access both to the attributes of the objects under study and to their locational information”. Openshaw (1991b, p. 18) suggests that what geographers refer to as “spatial statistics”. Anselin (1989) and Goodchild et. Al (1992) prefer to use the term “spatial data analysis” although there seems to be no substantial difference. Continue reading Implementing Spatial Analysis and GIS Applications for Business and Service Planning