Maggie McCullough, PresidentFrom the classroom to the boardroom, thousands of organizations need geographic data for their research, market studies, business planning, site selection, grant applications and impact analysis. Geographic data is vital for business users like policy makers, program analysts, executives, even professors and students. And geographic data can only be understood by placing it on a map for visualization. “But there is a huge disconnect because mapping software has been built for tech users and business users have historically become reliant on waiting for a tech user to make their maps,” says Maggie McCullough, President, PolicyMap. The Philadelphia based company offers an easy-to-use web based Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping platform made for the business user. “They can do it all themselves, simply, with PolicyMap.”
With 37,000 indicators from 150 sources, business users can access what they need instantly. “We carefully curate the data, normalize it, give it easy to understand descriptions and keep it updated in PolicyMap as it is updated from the source,” remarks Maggie. “We save our users time and money by going out and finding all of the good, relevant data for them and putting it all in one single place on the web, in an easy to use online tool.” The online tool is built specifically for the non-tech user so they can make maps and incorporate them in presentations or reports, they can upload their own data to leverage what we have in the platform, and run reports and analytics.
PolicyMap is part of a growing trend across industries towards more agile, self service analytic and GIS tools. The company is witnessing growth and demand from users in need of GIS services but without the resources or time to deal with a heavy IT lead GIS infrastructure. Maggie explains, “The self-service nature of PolicyMap, the sheer amount of data in our platform, the simple user interface and our high quality customer and professional services set us apart from the competition.”
PolicyMap’s user base has particularly grown in the academic industry, expanding from 4 university subscribers to 107 university subscribers in just four years. Maggie notes that this is especially rewarding as, “Students across varied disciplines from public health to sociology to history to business can now reap the benefits of understanding geographic data, without having to take a specialized GIS class.”
The self-service nature of PolicyMap, the sheer amount of data in our platform, the simple user interface and our high quality customer and professional services set us apart from the competition
As a result, professors at the University of Delaware are able to help their students visualize environmental justice issues at the neighborhood level via maps while professors at Seton Hall have designed entire public health curriculum using PolicyMap, helping students to understand the social determinants of health in communities. PolicyMap is also expanding its growing presence in the Government market and was recently added to the GSA IT Schedule as a preferred vendor, making procurement of PolicyMap licenses simple for agencies across the U.S.
Customer input is key to PolicyMap’s success in terms of making sure it is offering the data customers need and that it is accurate and validated at all times. And, customer feedback drives PolicyMap’s product development roadmap. Maggie says, “We spend a great deal of time making sure product development, data, tech, customer service and sales are all on the same page when it comes to what our customers need.”
PolicyMap is planning to migrate its mapping platform to a more contemporary mapping application. The company is likely to use some of the latest open source tech and stitch it together in ways that will allow it to deliver tens of thousands of geo datasets via the web with a superior level of performance, speed, functionality, and an even simpler UI. “In addition to expanding our data offerings, this migration to new tech is the biggest piece of work we are going to undertake. We want to ensure we continue to offer a scalable platform that supports thousands of geo data sets in a web-based application, while offering an even more contemporary mapping experience for our users.” concludes Maggie.