How often do you use maps? Rarely? If you are a smartphone user and buying things online or using Uber and Ola, you are using maps on a daily basis. Large scale usage of maps has led to a steep drop in their availability.

Extensive usage of maps has led to the drop in prices. “It actually costs nothing more than when you go with your friend for a cup of coffee. The base prices start as low as $9 for access to certain maps per person per month. Firms can access the maps on SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model,” Dean Angelides, Corporate Director of ESRI, told BusinessLine .

“You don’t have to be a GIS (Geographic Information System) expert in order to use a map. There are a host of solutions that help users and businesses use maps to analyse relevant data that are tagged to the location,” he said.

He was in India to take part in the ESRI Regional User conference held here last week.

Blends data with maps

Set up in 1969 in California, ESRI is a leading GIS solutions and services company in the world. It blends data with the maps to provide information that is relevant to a place.

The firm, with revenues of about $1.4 billion last year, had formed a joint venture with NIIT Technologies in 1996 to sell products to clients in the fields such as retail, education and oil and natural gas.

The company, with over 9,000 employees across the world, works with distributor organisations to sell the solutions. “We have recently introduced the Web GIS platform in India. It helps businesses and organisations intelligently use data to identify the right location to set up their stores,” Agendra Kumar, President of ESRI India, said.

The clients could decide on what kind of merchandise could be offered in what store using the analysis of demographic data available.

Real time decision making

“The GIS has been used as a system of records. Now, the science has evolved thanks to analytics. It is a system of insights. The Web GIS blends the maps with data to provide intelligence on different parameters to help people in taking a decision,” he said.

The firm is in touch with 12 universities to help them frame curriculum in the GIS.