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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

What is GIS? Harry Potter offers a clue

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

Ever since Intelloc Mapping Services (Mapmyops) came into being, I have been frequently asked this question: "What is GIS? What does it do?"

As much as I am keen to share paragraphs of information over email or redirect them to my website to see the numerous workflows I've written about on this topic, verbally I can only manage to mutter: 'Geographic Information System' or 'Mapping Platform for Location Analytics'.

I've seen those confused looks before. After all, I have seen those exact expressions whenever I respond to the question: "What is Supply Chain exactly?". I've done my masters in this field and often respond to this query as 'it is the operating ecosystem of an organization'.

A phrase as a response just doesn't seem to suffice! While some enquire further, others utter "Ok. Good luck with that" and walk away :(

Surely, there must be a short, sweet way to explain such a layered concept. Fortunately, I may have just found it: "Remember Harry Potter? GIS is a Real Life Marauder's Map, of course!"

Just like the The Marauder's Map unraveled the majestic Hogwarts castle and estate with a granular level of detail, GIS is able to show the viewer 'a common operating picture of the Area of Interest at a given point in time'. The detailed operating picture can be made for a large space such as a hospital, university, stadium and sea-port. It can also be made for the entire span of business operations: country-wide for a national player and world-wide for a global power-house.

The Marauder's Map - JK Rowling's Harry Potter - The Prisoner of Azkaban
Figure 1: The Marauder's Map - JK Rowling's Harry Potter - The Prisoner of Azkaban

Unlike the secretive, single copy that Marauder's Map was meant to be, GIS is meant to be used by as many stakeholders of an organisation or industry, be it internal (employees) or external (customers, distributors, government etc.).

Like Harry Potter used Marauder's Map to plan better and overcome obstacles, Location Intelligence derived from the operating picture that GIS build helps stakeholders to take better decisions for savings, growth and competitive advantage. Here, I must point out that GIS can do much more: complex stuff like route optimization and imagery exploitation or even evolve into something more insightful, but I guess this is a good way to understand for starters.

If you are wondering how a Marauder's Map can be made for your organization (which I recommend you absolutely MUST), please send in your requirements after reviewing the note below. Oh, we collaborate with the world's best marauders, by the way.



Intelloc Mapping Services | Mapmyops is engaged in providing mapping solutions to organizations which facilitate operations improvement, planning & monitoring workflows. These include but are not limited to Supply Chain Design Consulting, Drone Solutions, Location Analytics & GIS Applications, Site Characterization, Remote Sensing, Security & Intelligence Infrastructure, & Polluted Water Treatment. Projects can be conducted pan-India and overseas.

Several demonstrations for these workflows are documented on our website. For your business requirements, reach out to us via email - or book a paid consultation (video meet) from the hyperlink placed at the footer of the website's landing page.


(Thank you J.K. Rowling, for it is due to your best-selling book series that I have found a creative way to explain this complex topic to a wide audience)


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