Have you ever wondered the differences between the main GIS/Map providers? We have too. So we asked 6 of the largest providers 6 questions to help us better understand. We will be rolling out the answers we received in a series of blog posts. This is the second in the series and covers our second topic: differentiation.

Please note, the answers provided in this blog series is text supplied by each of the providers. We have not edited any of this text. We will in the last post of the series write a summary of the information provided.

Question 2: What differentiates you from your competition?

Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes is both a software and data company. We specialize in providing the best options for global organizations looking to integrate geospatial technology to analyze their investment in location-based information. Our geocoding solutions are unmatched for their precision; our desktop applications offer advanced analysis coupled with a simplified user interface and our server technology features a cost-effective way to distribute geospatial processing to a broader set of new users. A part of the business is now focused solely on data, recognizing a core competency of Pitney Bowes that has over the years developed solutions for shipping, ecommerce, tax, and demographics—we’re in fact selling data as a product within our portfolio, which is an enormous differentiator for us in the market.

Carto

Traditional Business Intelligence delivers basic spatial capabilities — specifically, putting data points on maps, based on the output of temporal analysis. They let users interact with the output – normally zoom and filter the maps. But users are not performing new analysis of their own, they are just interacting with a published result set on a map.

Location Intelligence lets users perform iterative, spatial analysis. Rather than consuming result sets on published maps, decision-makers use interactive “Location Applications” to to solve complex business and societal problems related to the physical world.

Boundless

Only Boundless offers a powerful alternative to costly proprietary systems combined with the richness of open source. Proprietary systems are license-based and therefore too costly for most enterprises to use as their location data needs grow. On the other hand, there is the smart, community of open source GIS tools, a world that we have participated in for years. Boundless is the leader in commercially supported open source GIS software.

Esri

At Esri, we think of five big differentiators:

1) The breadth and completeness of ArcGIS as described above

2) The deep and sophisticated analytic capabilities that our users apply

3) The breadth of our user community

4) The rich and comprehensive global content that enables a broad range of GIS applications and solutions.

5) The reach of our user community and their work. ArcGIS has gone far beyond professional GIS users and is extending into and across organizations and out to their citizens and communities. For example, over 4 million users this past year have created and shared over one billion maps each and every day, created and shared over 250,000 Story Maps, have added over 8 million online GIS items and datasets to ArcGIS Online, and have supported 18 million data downloads. We believe that the on-premises enterprise implementations far exceed these usage numbers.

Bottom line: ArcGIS is not simply software. It is a massive geospatial system of systems distinguished by the extensive global information coming from our large and expanding user community that makes up this comprehensive GIS of the World. And it’s being updated and extended in significant ways each day.

Our users are layering geospatial on top of everything.

GIS Cloud

GIS Cloud is oriented toward providing advanced data sharing and collaboration possibilities to organizations. This means that while there are many cloud-based solutions on the market, they don’t necessarily provide the workflow that is possible with GIS Cloud apps. GIS Cloud enables you to create different roles and privileges for users inside an organization, which means that you can easily manage who gets to edit, view, share, export or collect data.

At the same time, we are also introducing a novelty in the form of ‘collaboration stream’ where you can collaborate with the members of your organization (or external stakeholders) in the real-time on a map. This saves a lot of time while planning, organizing and coordinating different activities that include many people working in different locations.

Some of this differentiators are a result of our evolution as a company, from a start-up that moved to the cloud and introduced SaaS model very early in the game, to a company that from these first days try to introduce innovation not just to big businesses but also make it useful for everybody who can utilize GIS in their own industry. This means that we want to introduce advanced geospatial technologies to ‘ordinary users’, who don’t need to be GIS experts to benefit from this kind of technology.

As we are lean and fast moving company, so this also means a certain flexibility and adaptability to the market, a luxury that often turns to a competitive advantage.

Mapbox

MapBox offers a full stack cross platform toolset. We often use the term ‘mobile first’. Our focus is on developers. We are the platform for other apps/platforms.

Mango

Mango has easiest learning curve of all the cloud web map providers. There’s no coding, no API’s and no complex credit based pricing scheme.

Our pricing model  which is based on the number of maps and available features is affordable and very easy to understand. There are no hidden costs or surprises.

What’s more Mango makes it easy for users of all technical abilities to create a home for all their maps and data that integrates seamlessly with their existing website and brand.

Read the next article in the series:

GIS/Map Providers Compared 3: In Combination?

Author: Matt Sheehan

Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and location intelligence around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter:

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