Does GIS Really Make Your Economic Development Website More Effective?

Posted by Guillermo Mazier on Jun 7, 2011 11:39:10 PM

Latest Usage Data from Atlas

Since our latest webinar, How Site Selectors Are Using GIS to Shorten the Location Evaluation Process, we have been thinking about how best to summarize the most valuable sound bites, data points and Atlas research. This post is the first in a series of four about the role of GIS mapping in the location evaluation process.

The first thing we learned was said best by our co-host Keith Gendreau, Senior Consultant, Global Business Consulting, with Cushman Wakefield:

“The location strategy process has remained largely unchanged over the past decade. What has changed are the timeframe and tools for which to deliver results and recommendations.”

In this quote, Keith speaks to the content of his work not changing, but the speed changing drastically. We maintain that GIS is one way for economic developers to deliver the right information to site selectors like Keith, so that he (and his clients) can work smarter and faster.

But does GIS actually do this? And does any system achieve this?

What we have found is that GIS systems do, on average, deliver information faster, more completely and more easily than websites without GIS. And furthermore, overall engagement in websites with fully-integrated GIS systems is higher than on websites that don’t have GIS.

Here is how we came to these results.

First, we tracked page views to Atlas built websites (some of them IEDC winners) that do not contain a GIS system, but which do contain a single link out to a third party property search or non-integrated GIS system, such as LoopNet/CoStar. What we found is that these websites, per 100 visits, yield 11 page views to an “About Us” section, 11 visits to a “Site Selection Services” section, and 5 visits to a Property Search or external GIS system.

Next, we tracked page views to Atlas built websites that do contain Atlas InSite, Atlas’ fully integrated GIS system. What we found is that these websites, per 100 visits, yield 38 property searches, 23 business searches, 19 visits to the GIS landing page, 14 visits to an “About Us” section, and so on.

The findings of this research indicate that by delivering content that economic development users want, such as property searches and business databases, in a format that is easy for them to consume (in as few clicks as possible), total engagement (as measured by usage) on economic development websites, goes up.

Click here to learn more about how Atlas InSite, the economic development industry’s first fully integrated GIS system, can help users engage with your community.

Click here to view the video for How Site Selectors Are Using GIS to Shorten the Location Evaluation Process.

Websites Included in the Study:

Websites with links to external GIS/Property

  • Muncie, Indiana
  • Aurora, Colorado
  • Lawrence, KS
  • San Bernardino, CA
  • Webster City, Iowa
  • Danville, KY
  • Focus Central, PA
  • Plano, TX
  • Omaha, NE

Websites with Integrated GIS:

  • Greater Phoenix
  • Indy Partnership
  • Ohio Business Development Coalition
  • Right Place, Michigan
  • Lexington, KY
  • South Central KY
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Hoosier Energy, Indiana

Want your website’s performance bench-marked against the results in this study?

Email Atlas' Guillermo Mazier here for a free review.

Topics: Economic Development, Online Marketing

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