We used the data strategically to attract business

Recently, we used the data to attract a Japanese-based auto supplier to our community. The company’s called Topre America Corporation. They're a Honda supplier and Toyota supplier and they came to our community for a whole host of reasons.

It was important for us to be able to showcase our workforce, to demonstrate how our local economic base was thriving and growing and where the opportunities existed. The GIS Planning tools allowed us to provide that information.

Seven site visits this year

We've had seven site visits this year, where before it was one every other year. I should be getting a call this afternoon to see if we won a project for our community. That doesn't happen by accident, you know.  I believe very strongly in these data products. I like that I can talk to GIS Planning team if just doesn't feel right; you're always there and that's a huge relief to me.

The power of the site is that it combines a suite of data tools that are second to none.

Horton Hobbs, Vice-President, Economic Development
I look at the sites and building database really as a gateway for information. The best thing about this information for us is that it can be verified by the client. They don't have to just rely on me. We send them the data but we also encourage them to look around on the site and to play with the data themselves. 

Real value is in state and regional partners using ZoomProspector all together

What I once thought was a competitive advantage, thinking “Oh my gosh, we’re the first ones to do this in our state and then marry it with the beautiful Golden Shovel website design, wow that's fantastic.” I thought, we're going to set ourselves apart. But quite honestly, this is a regional game. There are 30 over 35 Springfields in the United States and very few people are going to know our Springfield. But they may know a greater region and they certainly will know our state of Ohio. So to have continuity of data platforms through GIS Planning across the state has been very very helpful to us.

We encourage all our partners to work with GIS Planning. it's just that simple. If I can share data with my buddy that's in Piqua, Ohio or in Troy, that’s a strength for our region. We have clients that are going to be looking at multiple locations in our area and I like to be able to compare our data across multiple areas. It has been a real game-changer for us. 

A lot of success using the tools

It’s not just a sites and building database - that's one piece. It's also all the other information: it's the community comparison. It's the community perspective that is available. Those Community Profile Infographics are very, very important for us. Then to be able to analyze things like 45-minute drive times or 15-minute drive times or whatever the analytic needs to be, I can very easily do that. Or a site selector or client can get on the site and do that as well. The clients know what they need. Putting it all out there for them with the GIS Planning tools allows us to be fully transparent not just to our constituents and our local community but for the clients as well.

We've had a lot of success utilizing the tool and it's not just anecdotal. We’ve actually had clients say to us that being able to use your website to verify the things that you've said is important. As I would start to respond to RFI's, we now immediately have data on hand to support the things that we would anticipate as questions.