Why is GIS important?

A Guide for CRE Brokers and Investors 

With their multifaceted capabilities across a range of business applications, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can seem complicated. They form the base technology for some incredibly powerful analytical tools, however.

But why is GIS important in CRE specifically? Let’s explore how this technology works and how it helps CRE brokers and investors to visualize data and manage information better, leading them to make smarter decisions.

Understanding GIS

Before understanding the role of GIS in CRE, it's essential to know the basics.

A GIS is a system that collects, stores, analyzes, and presents data about places on Earth.

GIS can display streets, buildings, and other data all on a single map.

GIS tools can display streets, buildings, and other data all on a single map.

GIS has three main components:  

  • Maps show the physical features of a location, like streets, buildings, and rivers.
  • Data gives extra information about those features, such as property values, demographics, and market trends.
  • Software allows users to work with maps and data and perform analyses.

A GIS platform fuses these three aspects to create a visual representation of information that is easy to understand.

How GIS Works

GIS uses computer technology to combine different types of data and present them on maps.

It collates data from various sources, such as satellites, surveys, and government records. Then, it organizes and analyzes this data to generate valuable insights.
With GIS, we can see patterns, relationships, and trends that may not be clear in traditional spreadsheets or reports.

For example, GIS can determine the best location for a new store based on factors like population density, traffic patterns, and competitors' locations.

Leveraging GIS in Commercial Real Estate

GIS applications have a wide range of uses across various industries and the real estate sector is no exception. From site selection to risk assessment, GIS provides crucial insights and data-driven solutions to brokers, investors, and property developers.

GIS enables brokers to understand the potential customer base, competition, and demand in a specific area. This allows CRE professionals to identify emerging markets and investment opportunities.  
Leveraging GIS in commercial real estate

Furthermore, GIS is instrumental in property management. It offers tools for asset tracking, maintenance scheduling, and tenant management.

Why is GIS Important for CRE Brokers and Investors?

Improved Decision-Making

One of the critical advantages of GIS is its ability to enhance decision-making.

With this tool, brokers and investors can analyze multiple locations, evaluate them based on various factors, and choose the one with the highest potential for success.

GIS can help with comprehensive market analysis by visualizing data on maps. Brokers and investors can better understand market trends and identify target demographics. They can also assess the demand for specific types of properties.

With GIS, brokers and investors can analyze factors like natural hazards, crime rates, and zoning regulations. This is necessary to assess risks associated with a property or location.  

Enhanced Visualization and Presentation

One of the key advantages of GIS is its ability to visually represent data on maps. This makes it easier for CRE professionals to understand and explain complex information.

Using GIS to create interactive property tours is a great example of using GIS to your advantage. Potential buyers or tenants can explore and navigate properties virtually.  

GIS allows users to add, remove or customize map layers. They can focus on specific information, such as transportation networks or schools. This customization helps with showcasing the unique selling points of a property.

Efficient Data Management and Analysis

GIS streamlines data management and analysis for CRE professionals. It not only saves time, but also improves accuracy.

GIS provides a centralized database that stores various types of information, such as property details, market data, and spatial information.

Moreover, GIS offers spatial analysis tools that help identify patterns, relationships, and trends in the data. These tools can perform calculations, identify hotspots, and generate insightful reports.

GIS can integrate with other data sources and software, enabling brokers and investors to combine information from multiple systems. This integration makes the overall analysis and decision-making process better. Brokers and investors can gain a broad understanding of a property and its surrounding area.

GIS in Action: Why is GIS Important in the Real World?

Retail Site Selection Using GIS

Imagine a retail company planning to open a new store.

By using GIS, the company can analyze data on population density, income levels, and competitor locations.

Based on these factors, GIS identifies the most suitable areas for the store, helping the company make an informed decision and maximize its chances of success.

Evaluating Investment Opportunities with GIS Analysis

When investors consider investing in CRE properties, GIS can provide valuable insights. By analyzing market data, property values, and growth trends, GIS helps investors identify lucrative opportunities.

Evaluating investment opportunities with GIS analysis
GIS analysis can reveal properties with high potential, or those located in areas experiencing rapid development.

Finding Tenants Using GIS  

For brokers looking to find tenants for commercial spaces, GIS can be a game-changer. GIS collects data on demographics, business types, and consumer behavior.

By analyzing the data, CRE professionals can efficiently market properties to the right audience, making it easier to find suitable tenants and increase occupancy rates.

Some GIS platforms, like AlphaMap, have a specific feature which assists with finding tenants.  

Choosing a GIS Platform for CRE

When selecting a GIS platform for CRE, there are a few key features to look for:

User-Friendly Interface

An easy-to-use platform with intuitive navigation and tools streamlines your workflow and helps save time.

Data Compatibility

A good GIS platform integrates effortlessly with other software and data sources, providing a seamless data flow that enhances your analysis capabilities.

Mapping and Visualization Capabilities  

Robust mapping and visualization are key to effectively present data on maps. Your GIS platform should enable you to generate visually appealing and informative maps effortlessly.

Spatial Analysis Tools

Look for GIS platforms that provide a wide range of spatial analysis tools. The more tools you have, the easier it is to derive meaningful insights from data.

Several GIS platforms cater to the needs of CRE professionals. Choosing the right tool depends on your unique needs and circumstances.

Among the popular GIS platforms, AlphaMap has some stand-out attributes like its ease-of-use, customizability, and the TenantFinder™ feature.  

Why is GIS Important? Final Thoughts

GIS is not just an important tool for today. It's set to be a big player in the future, as it begins to merge with advanced technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). This integration will enable even more sophisticated analysis and visualization.

For those in the CRE industry, embracing GIS is crucial. By capitalizing on the power of GIS, brokers and investors can make better decisions, effectively communicate information, and gain a competitive edge in the dynamic world of commercial real estate.

It's an invaluable tool for opening the door to new opportunities you might have otherwise overlooked.  

Recommended reading

Gross Rent Multiplier as an Investment Tool for CRE Professionals 

Gross Rent Multiplier as an Investment Tool for CRE Professionals 

Gross rent multiplier is a great tool for comparing CRE property deals. Learn how to calculate and use GRM to enhance your decision making.

September 29, 2023
What is a Good Rental Yield?

What is a Good Rental Yield?

Gain a comprehensive understanding of what 'good' rental yield means and how it can shape your commercial real estate investment strategy. Read the guide now.

August 23, 2023
Nominal Returns vs Real Returns

Nominal Returns vs Real Returns

Learn about the differences between nominal returns and real returns in commercial real estate. Knowing them can help you make smart investment decisions!

January 18, 2023