Recognizing the Value of Geographic Information for Economic Development

Last week I presented at the Indiana Economic Development Association’s Indianapolis Winter Conference. The speaker right after me, Dr. Buzz Canup of AngelouEconomics, presented an enlightened view of how site assessment consultants for Fortune 500 companies do their work. Much of what he talked about was how he and his staff use geographic information systems (GIS) to do nearly 90% of their work for site selection – even before they visit an area or a community’s web site.

Buzz made a powerful case for the role of GIS in the future of economic development. And they are some high-powered data miners! To all you economic development directors out there… the message is get your government GIS data out and shared (GIS web maps and clearinghouses) or consultants like Buzz will not find you. In early 2006 from Mickey Maurer, Indiana Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive, also emphasized the role of geographic information. “Geographic information systems are playing an increasingly integral role in the world of economic development and corporate real estate, and this tool will answer the main questions that businesses have when they are involved in the site selection process.”

Dr. Buzz Canup serves as President of Site Selection Services at AngelouEconomics and brings over 30 years of experience in business and economic development to the firm.