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What is GIS?

June 12, 2017

When people ask me what I do for a living and I answer with, “GIS Mapping,” almost everyone gives me a look of confusion. GIS is all around us in daily life, but most people either don’t know what it is or are confused about what it does. So, with that in mind, here’s a quick overview of what GIS is and how it’s used in the land industry.

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It’s a software program that lets individuals visualize, query, analyze and interpret location-based data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends.

A couple of everyday examples of how you might see and use GIS include searching for a restaurant on the Google Maps app on your smartphone and locating the nearest options. Then, selecting one and getting directions to it from your current location. Or even snapping a photo and sharing it on social media with the precise location of where you took the picture. This is GIS in action.

These systems are used in many industries. But in the land industry, GIS serves as a tool to better help land buyers, landowners or investors find the perfect property that meets their specific goals.

Today’s land buyers have explicit requirements. They’re not just going to a real estate agent with questions and general ideas – they know exactly what they want.  So, the process starts with a conversation. Experienced NLR land professionals collect a buyer’s criteria which includes components such as number of acres, location, soil productivity and land use, among others.

For example, say you’re looking for a 20 to 40-acre recreational property within a one-hour drive from your home residence with a pond and some timber for hunting. Our internal GIS team at National Land Realty uses those requirements to identify properties which meet those specifications.

Our team of GIS and data professionals, database analysts, and web developers can generate GIS platforms using client driven criteria, statewide and national datasets, parcel data and market trends. With this technology, our team can quickly and efficiently sift through multiple data layers to see clear opportunities for our clients.

NLR GIS identified all parcels between 20 and 60-acres adjacent to the Platte River in Nebraska.
In this image, NLR GIS identified all parcels between 20 and 60-acres adjacent to the Platte River in Nebraska.

Whether you need to drive business growth, enhance performance in existing markets or streamline/update operations, GIS can help you reach your goals. The GIS team at NLR has the experience to match you with the perfect tract that fits your specific needs.

About the Author
Tyler Van Meeteren is the GIS Director for National Land Realty. He has over 13 years of GIS experience in the land industry working with GPS/GIS mapping products and services including data collection, project management and spatial analysis. In his role as GIS Director, Tyler builds innovative, flexible and easy-to-use GIS solutions for agents and clients around the country. His areas of expertise include strategic planning, excellent communication skills and developing solid client relations.