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Executive Education

4 Industries Where Geospatial Tech Is Changing the Game

Subash Alias

It’s more than just Garmin. Geospatial technology is changing how entire industries operate. You might not have known it, but 2021 was a big year for the geospatial technology community.

This past October, the GEOINT Symposium took place in St. Louis. It was the largest gathering of geospatial intelligence professionals in the nation, and it coincided with the construction of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s new headquarters in St. Louis. Geospatial technology supports 26,000 jobs across St. Louis alone, and the geospatial analytics market is projected to grow from $59.5 billion in 2021 to $107.8 billion by 2026.

What is geospatial technology used for? 

Those in the industry say geospatial is the “science of where.” As our world continues to evolve, many industries find location-aware technology vital for decision-making. Solutions like geographic information systems, remote sensing, and global positioning systems can be used in a number of industries, including agtech, defense, transportation, and logistics.

In the past, companies had to have a deep understanding of GIS to find and use geospatial insights. However, because new geospatial tech makes it easier to collect and analyze geospatial data, it’s easier than ever to leverage this field across the business landscape. These four industries are already using game-changing geospatial technology solutions:

  1. Defense
    Military technologies and strategies have evolved; on-the-ground operations are no longer enough. Today’s forces need to be prepared for advanced threats, making prediction and prevention of attacks vital. Advanced geospatial solutions allow the military to support field operations by predicting and countering these threats.
    To help support defense forces worldwide, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency utilizes geospatial technology applications. These technologies provide policymakers, warfighters intelligence professionals, and first responders with the information they need to secure decisive advantages.
  2. Agtech
    For agtech companies, geospatial technology solutions can help improve soil health, boost crop yield, and assess environmental risk. Organizations that practice precision agriculture can use the information gathered from scalable analytics to analyze land and get insights on soil characteristics. By combining this information with data on local agriculture conditions, agtech companies can make better planting and land management decisions.
    To accurately assess environmental risk, more companies are combining historical and real-time data into geospatial analytics platforms and using predictive modeling to plan for natural disasters. Companies like Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Bayer, use geospatial tech to help farmers evaluate risk, make informed decisions, and improve agronomic performance.
  3. Transportation
    For companies that manage fleets, such as courier services and ride-hailing services, geospatial context is critical to make informed business decisions. Fleet management poses a huge challenge when it comes to gathering data and putting it to use. It includes everything from analyzing reports from vehicles to optimizing last-mile logistics. To manage each operation, the transportation industry relies heavily on geospatial context.
    Dynamhex uses geospatial technology and artificial intelligence to help other businesses reduce carbon emissions from their operations. And companies like Hum Industrial Technology not only help fleets navigate daily challenges, but also predict them before disruption ever occurs. Using advanced wireless technology, predictive analytics, and geospatial tracking, Hum Industrial Tech has created wireless sensors for railcars that give the railroad industry the ability to deliver reliable and transparent service to rail shippers.
  4. Retail and Dining
    Retailers and restaurants are location-driven businesses, so choosing the right place to establish a storefront is critical for success. Geospatial data, such as population density, can help predict financial outcomes for businesses in these sectors.
    For example, Carhartt uses GIS technology to see both the demographic makeup as well as the economic health of a region. This helps the company identify locations where storefronts would be successful and avoid areas where storefronts are more likely to fail. Furthermore, geospatial technologies can be used by retailers and food suppliers to track supply chains, helping to prevent bottlenecks and improve the customer experience.
    The world continues to grow more interconnected, and the need for location-aware tech will grow with it. That means educational resources for those interested in entering the field are starting to develop, too. The extension program at the University of California, Los Angeles has partnered with the UCLA Department of Geography to develop an online certificate program that gives students an entry-level knowledge of the industry. T-REX in St. Louis opened the nation’s first geospatial innovation center. Nonprofits such as Rung for Women are preparing women for careers in geospatial tech. Chicago public schools have begun offering “geospatial semesters,” which help students earn college credit toward a degree in geospatial technology.

With more specialists entering the field, people can expect geospatial tech and its applications to continue to evolve and change more industries for the better.

Written by Subash Alias.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Executive Education - 4 Industries Where Geospatial Tech Is Changing the Game
Subash Alias
Subash Alias is the CEO of Missouri Partnership, a public-private economic development organization available to assist businesses today, in six months, and in six years. His expertise crosses all sectors including aerospace and defense, automotive, advanced manufacturing, and financial and professional services.

In 1994 he earned his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa and received his MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 2002. Subash was born in Kerala, India but was raised in Missouri. He and his wife, Kathy, have been married since 1998 and live in suburban St. Louis.

Subash Alias is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow him on LinkedIn.