Hidden Gems: How a GIS Analysis Can Identify a Site's Suitability

Site suitability analysis can be a tremendous means of delivering insight for the commercial real estate industry. As commercial real estate advisors, we work to help our clients determine which locations are most suitable for their respective requirements by leveraging outputs provided by Geographic Information System (GIS). However, having access to comprehensive data that should be taken into consideration is a significant asset that shouldn’t go untouched. Site suitability analysis (SSA) can be that vital component that takes your search for a new location to the next level. Whether it’s a commercial developer looking to determine the location for a new retail store or a company attempting to settle on where their new office should be, a GIS analysis may be exactly what your organization needs to find the best location.

What GIS Analysis Provides

A GIS analysis is completed when the advisor and client work together to determine which factors are most important when choosing a location. These factors range from access to parking and transportation and available square footage to rent prices and proximity to competitors. But it also goes a step further. Performing a suitability analysis can help to visualize these decisions by ranking and scoring the locations based on multiple weighted pieces of criteria. By determining which piece of data is most important, the results are provided in a systematic rank that best suits your organization. The analyst has the ability to screen and filter candidate sites, therefore preparing the right candidate locations by eliminating those that don’t meet the minimum criteria. Site suitability analysis can also identify trade areas by examining criteria such as property locations, desirable labor/consumer demographics, and transportation accessibility.

How It’s Done

Cresa’s GIS team conducts complex analyses using platforms such as ESRI’s Business Analyst, a powerful GIS mapping software system, QGIS’s Multi Criteria Overlay Analysis, CARTO’s Site Selection tool, and more. Once our team has identified the criteria that is relative to our client, it is weighed to understand which components are most important. The team then geographically locates the highest-ranked areas with which the data aligns. Using these systems, our GIS team can interpret results in a spatial context, run market analyses, and generate insightful mapping for our team to visualize the information.

How to Deliver It

After the comprehensive site suitability analysis has been completed, it needs to be properly presented to the client in a way that's understandable. Using custom reports, informative infographics, and map-based stories, the analysis is presented in a way that's easily digestible and provides solid evidence that supports decisions. The information is prepared and presented to the client in an organized, methodical way that can easily be evaluated by all parties.

Access to data is a tremendous asset to your organization, and a GIS analysis may be the exact tool your organization needs to properly settle on your next move. Cresa’s seasoned team of analysts can provide these solutions by tackling the latest technology that provides cutting-edge information. Don't hesitate to reach out to learn if a GIS analysis is the right next step for your organization.

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