Business intelligence softwares use a lot of data in order to create reports helping decision makers. Given that more and more GIS resources and services are available and that data can often be located in space, the geographic dimension of data can bring useful insights when analyzing data.

Rendering geocoded data on thematic maps is the simplest and most obvious application of using GIS in BI software. What are the other ways to benefit from GIS in business intelligence? What kind of resources or methods could be used to improve the usefulness of maps when making business-specific decisions? What are the already existing products in this domain?

3 Answers 3


I work in business intelligence and I am the responsible GIS admin. We are a health care firm and since we've added geospatial data to our Cognos reports, the users have told me that their workflow and the possibilities I've opened to them, has evolved ever since. It is now easier for them to visualize certain data quicker and act from that data. Some decisions are made because of regional disease frequency. Its easier to value a cluster then a whole list of "some" values.

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    Thanks for your answer. However my question was about other ways to help decision-making than using thematic maps. It seems that bi software rarely use advanced GIS features and I wanted to know how they can be used in the context of business intelligence. Commented Mar 16, 2011 at 13:30
  • @fonzo isn't the thematic map just a way to illustrate the result. The analyze or processing behind can be very avanced or very simple. to define desease frequency I am not sure is very simple. My point is just to keep apart the analyze and the way the result is showed. Commented May 15, 2011 at 17:08

At Sentient we help make hotspot maps showing density of crime. This page has an (animated) example.

Difference maps show change of (crime) density, or the difference between suspect homes and crime scenes.

We do the same thing for insurance customers, for instance.


APOS Solutions is a company that comes to mind. They deal with Business Intelligence using SAP BusinessObjects, and have developed a bridge between their BI platform and ArcGIS Server (I did some of the development work on the bridge). You can check out their site to get more of an idea of how BI + GIS can help you.

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