One concrete example of this is a case where I sold multiple properties for self- storage development over a several-year
period. The majority of sites were “off-market.” My MAPP program allowed me to match all other existing self-storage properties
owned by competitors on the same map so we could immediately
create a trade area of the entire universe of self-storage buildings
and instantly see “off-market” locations that had ideal spacing. By
querying the owner database I created a target list of likely properties that resulted in deals.
A more recent example involves a customer who purchases
underdeveloped land near light rail stations. By writing a basic
radius query that identifies all property within 500’ of a rail stop,
I have identified and sold several sites. My next goal, in keeping
with economic recovery, is to put the application to use by identifying large buildings in and outside of my traditional market to see if
MAPP can locate ideal purchase opportunities.
GIS has its own intrinsic logic that answers questions about
location and property data. If you have the right data sets, you can
write a query much like an algebraic equation. Here are a few que-
ries I have used:
• Compare warehouse locations based on how much fuel will be
used for customer deliveries.
All these queries can be answered manually, but by writing a
little code for GIS logic, the answer is fast and thorough.
So now let’s get into the “how?” I started my odyssey with an
open source program called Map Window. The program originally resided on my local computer. I hired a GIS expert I found
on Craigslist and an offshore database programmer. Parcel and
ownership data is available for purchase from most counties.
Municipalities offer shape files that depict all forms of urban infrastructure including rail, utilities, zoning, and geographical features.
I have since migrated the system onto a web server so the application is cloud based. The data I collect runs on a MYSQL server
that runs independently from the map program. Because I use open
source software and hire programmers located mostly in southern
Asia, costs to build and maintain the program are modest.
While the technology part is important, the ability to create a
specific environment around map information and to provide a
solution for the customer has been the greatest benefit. Problem
solving and collaboration create strong relationships. Perhaps
it’s no surprise that most clients are not very interested in using
or understanding the MAPP application, they just want to see the
selected reports and deals that can be generated. And that’s fine
Even though I’ve been developing my MAPP program for several years, I’m only just starting to learn. GIS programs can be
used to collect, analyze, and deal with the world’s property data in
sophisticated ways. As more people begin to realize how relatively
easy it is to build, I expect GIS will also start playing an important
role in your business. Because GIS is part of a large user community, I look forward to helping others as they have done the same