Mapping out the benefits of GIS support for UK businesses

Over the last decade, geospatial data and mapping technologies have played an important role in responding to disease outbreaks and natural disasters.

For example, Japan used spacial tools to identify evacuation routes and co-ordinate recovery efforts during 2019’s Typhoon Hagabis … and more recently the World Health Organisation’s dashboard is providing the latest updates on the Covid-19 pandemic.

The use of mapping to track such global events once again underlines both the value and versatility of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and is helping to increase awareness of its ‘real world’ value among the general public.

GIS are becoming big news in the business world too, with GIS software used widely across almost all fields, including utilities, property, land management, forestry and construction.

But what is GIS? And why should you be using it in your business?

Put simply, GIS is a digital map which allows you to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. Google Earth, for example, is a GIS in its simplest form, allowing users to pan, zoom, rotate and tilt the view of the Earth. The software also gives users the option of adding markers, lines and shapes, populate tables and visualise dense geographic data on a map.

But, impressive though it is, the capabilities of Google Earth pale in comparison to GIS platforms that are developed specifically to conduct spatial analyses of almost any kind. GIS allows you to visualise all of your data with geographical context and there are numerous reasons why you might want to do this.

You might be a forestry manager who needs to develop an effective management system or estimate an area's income from timber sales in minutes rather than the weeks spent drawing maps from scratch. Maybe you are an architect searching for a site for a new supermarket who requires complex location analysis, or a land agent embroiled in a boundary dispute who needs land ownership or land referencing data to identify persons and organisations that have a legal interest in land or property as well as details of the nature of that interest.

Currently, Bell Ingram’s qualified GIS staff are contributing to a number of projects which underline the value and versatility of GIS.

Complex utilities projects often require GIS support, and we are working with a national utility company to identify a large number of previously unmapped assets. This will allow our client to see all their assets in one place and assign surveyors as appropriate for the geographical location.

Elsewhere, another client looking to acquire a new site has tasked our GIS team to work on a feasibility study. This land has to tick three boxes: a certain agricultural classification; within a set distance of the current location; and has to be at least 200 acres. We have performed a spatial analysis and, to aid in land referencing, also consulted the national government land registry dataset.

Bell Ingram is one of the few firms that has a dedicated and experienced GIS team working across the fields of Utilities, Property, Forestry, Architecture and Land Management.

During the current pandemic, our GIS experts are working remotely in line with government rules. If you would like to discuss how GIS could help your business please contact Marcus Humphrey on 01738 645588 or email

Marcus Humphrey

GIS Manager
Mapping & GIS Services
Tel: 01738 621 121

Article posted on 11/05/2020

Sign up to our newsletter

Areas of interest