December 1, 2020

How to Build Location Intelligence into Your Economic Development Strategy

Ron Bertasi

First in a New Series of Learning Labs for Economic Developers

GIS technology continues to advance rapidly, and the COVID crisis has accelerated the adoption of key GIS functionality like 3D layers and virtual site visits. With travel limited and traditional site visits greatly reduced, innovative economic developers pivoted to focus on the virtual experience. Using the latest GIS technology, they are able to provide an experience in online meetings that rivals a physical site visit – even for proposed buildings not yet built.

Predictably, those who quickly pivoted to embrace GIS technology are reaping the rewards of more projects, more economic growth, and more success. As the old saying goes, “Fortune favors the bold.”

But the pace of change has had many economic developers struggling to keep up with it all, particularly those in smaller organizations. Most cannot afford to keep a GIS expert on staff, so economic developers rightly wonder how much GIS expertise is required to use these tools, how much time and effort is involved in maintaining them, and whether they can afford them at all.

There is good news on all these fronts! GIS for economic development has never been simpler, easier to use, or more affordable.

To help economic developers learn more, we launched a series of Learning Labs under the theme of Location Intelligence for Economic Development. These sessions are interactive and designed to get economic developers the understanding they need compete and win in today’s environment.

The first of these Learning Labs, How to Build Location Intelligence into Your Economic Development Strategy, featured a case study led by Destin Wells of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County (FL). Located in one of the fastest-growing areas of the country, the EDC of Sarasota County has long been a leader in business attraction and retention, and is now leveraging GIS technology as a major component of their strategy.

This learning lab was hosted by Keith Cooke of Esri and Ron Bertasi of GIS WebTech, and included a real-time survey so economic developers can see how their peers are currently using GIS technology.


The Learning Lab was held in December of 2020. Click here to review the video, or contact us for more information.

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