• Ruppells Griffon uses a Geographic Information System to help small businesses turn their data into knowledge. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The same technology that TV crime shows use to hunt down criminals can be used to help small businesses grow their company.
SBS Small Business Secrets
16 Oct 2016 - 5:35 PM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2018 - 11:27 AM

If you're a fan of TV crime shows, you may be familiar with GIS technology - as the plot unfolds and police hunt their suspect, they layer data onto maps to trace the killer's footsteps.

Swap killers for customers and that same technology, which stands for 'geographic information system,' can also help businesses gain valuable insights.

That's exactly the service Sydney company Ruppells Griffon is providing for its clients.

"Businesses are collecting a lot of data these days, a lot of them don't really know what to do with that. GIS is helping make sense of the data," says the company's founder, Ana Ouriques.

To demonstrate how the technology works, she launches a GIS program on her computer. A map of Sydney pops up.

"So for example, [say] you have a company and you distribute products in a city. You want to know where your competitors are, you want to open a new branch. First thing we would do is plot the location of your stores and we do analysis to see where your clients are and where your competitors are."

From there, population and driving-time data are overlayed - flashes of red and blue cover the map. Four potential locations are pinpointed.

"From those four locations, we're going to decide which one is going to be the most viable."

Ana says this kind of analysis can prove useful in a number of scenarios. After several years working as a GIS specialist, both in her native Brazil and in Australia, she launched her consultancy in 2014. Her clients range from government to environmental and engineering firms, to real estate agencies.

And while demand for her services is increasing, she faces a critical problem: a lack of qualified GIS specialists in Australia.

"I notice I'm not the only company in IT facing the same problem, we're all fighting for staff."

Ana says GIS specialists are far more common in Brazil, so she recruited most of her five employees amongst her fellow Brazillian expats in Sydney.

Despite having to turn down some projects because a lack of more staff, her goals for the business are firmly embedded in its name: "Ruppells Griffon is the highest flying bird every recorded," she explains.

Like the bird, she plans to fly high.

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