SAP partners with Esri for GIS Business SmartsIf a picture is worth a thousand words how about a map? Or better yet, a map that has rich analytic, sentiment and transactional data attached to vital points on it?

Click on a point on the map and you can find out all kinds of things provided the data has been collected, processed and analyzed. And in the age of Big Data and the Internet of Things, where data seems to be coming from everywhere all of the time, the possibilities are endless and in many cases not yet imagined, says David Jonker, Director of Big Data strategy at SAP.

That’s why SAP has partnered with Esri, the leading geographic information system (GIS) and location analytics provider, to deliver new value to the Enterprise marketplace. By more deeply integrating GIS solutions with platforms and enterprise applications from SAP, businesses will have better and more information with which to make important decisions and inform and manage business processes. Not only that, but they’ll be able to use that information seamlessly with SAP applications.

Before going into the specifics of the partnership, a little information on GIS systems is in order.

“GIS systems are about points, lines, and polygons,” says Steve Benner of Esri. "Points are points, lines are streets, pipes, powerlines and the like, and polygons are cities, council and tax districts, areas affected by flu outbreaks, natural disasters and so on …”

When data is attached to these points, lines and polygons, it can aid decision making in a very big way, especially when the data can be processed and analyzed in real time which SAP’s in memory database, Hana can do without a single hiccup.

While the SAP/Esri offering is still being built, it’s helpful to imagine a (mostly hypothetical) use case scenario and, perhaps nothing is quite as compelling as a natural disaster.

GIS in Action

According to Esri, whenever a natural disaster occurs anywhere in the world, one of the first maps you’ll see will have been built with or generated by Esri (or Esri plus FEMA or a FEMA-like agency.)

In the case of Superstorm Sandy, which hit the East Coast last fall, the first map Esri put up was public information map that imported social media in the area of the event. Hours later, or as soon as enough information is gathered, Esri (or FEMA via Esri) publishes a local impact map.