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Smarter Planning with Location Intelligence

The economic downturn has certainly had a negative impact on Americans. Decreasing home values left many Americans underwater on their mortgages. Companies downsized or went out of business altogether, leaving many out of work. The impact was far-reaching and is still being felt across most of the nation.

But as our country continues it’s slow but steady climb out of the down economy, we can look back and see some positives that have resulted. For example, as part of President Obama’s economic recovery programs, capital investments were made towards transportation programs and upgrading the country’s infrastructure.

Any time large transportation or infrastructure projects such as these get the green light, serious and thoughtful planning needs to be done. These plans are intended to eliminate loss of property value or decreases in quality of life for existing residents. They also help to ensure that ecosystems aren’t destroyed or disrupted and that the location of new construction makes the most sense, not only from a financial standpoint but also from environmental and social standpoints as well.

However, decision makers are ultimately planning blind if they can’t visualize the region, what they’re looking to construct and the impact it will have on various aspects of life. The ability to visualize community assets, populations and other data on a map makes it easier to identify how new construction should look, what impact it will have on the community and the location it should be placed to optimize and maximize its use towards the advancement of the overall quality of life for all residents.

This is where geospatial data and location intelligence solutions can help. Location intelligence solutions are capable of capturing, managing and visualizing large amounts of data, including requests from the public. The ability to conduct evidence-based analysis, generate viable scenarios and visualize new developments on a map can ensure that all of these new development proposals allow future community growth that is economically viable, socially acceptable, and environmentally sound and sustainable.

Let’s take a look at a random example. Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, you’re constructing the new multi-modal Metro stations being built in Northern Virginia. The locations of the Metro stations need to be optimized to ensure that they have easy access to the local area residents looking to take the Metro to their jobs in Washington, D.C. Simultaneously, the locations need to be optimized to provide easy walking or bus access to local companies and retailers to ensure that people taking the Metro into the region can get from the stations to their points of interest.

The environment and local area resources also need to be taken into account. What impact will the construction of the new Metro stations have on local wildlife habitats? Does it sit on important breeding grounds or migratory routes? Will the new station drive an influx of new residential development in the area? Can local schools and other infrastructure accommodate this development? These things can be better analyzed and understood and in turn better planning can be done by visualizing the planned development and other geospatial data on a map.

By utilizing location intelligence solutions and geospatial data for the planning process, better, more informed decisions can be made. This can significantly expedite the planning process and move the development into the design, build and management stage much faster and more efficiently.

Currently, this entire process – from planning to design to building to managing – can be very time consuming and costly. The actual life cycle can take from 8-10 years from start to finish due to technology limitations and the collaboration that needs to take place among the many stakeholders. By embracing location intelligence solutions, bidirectional feedback and relevant data from multiple parties can be better aggregated and visualized, the planning can be expedited and efficiencies can be realized that dramatically reduce that lifecycle.

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