Geographic information systems (GIS) are more than just mapping tools. With the latest GIS software, companies can generate highly-sophisticated market data, analyse their operations on a global scale and underpin vital strategic decisions.
According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, the GIS market was worth $3.85bn in 1996, up from $2.28bn in 1992. But F&S predicts that the value of the market will rise to more than $8bn by 2002, an annual compound growth rate of 13.5 per cent.
The main driving force behind the industry, according to the F&S report, has been the emergence of many desktop GIS products, giving front-line executives powerful geographical analysis at their fingertips. Another important factor has been the transparency of the software to end users.
The growing popularity of intranets will also drive the market as information filters through organisations onto more desktops. Better geographical and demographic information has also helped the systems become more useful, fuelling demand.
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