Before the coronavirus pandemic, site selections and businesses seeking a location would typically visit a short list of properties in person. They would walk around the building, go inside the property and in some cases even fly around to see the property from above.
That was then. This is now.
The new realities of life with COVID-19 means that travel is restricted and it can be very difficult (and potentially unsafe) to visit the properties on a site selection shortlist. So GIS Planning is bringing the properties to them.
We're proud to announce that ZoomProspector now offers 360° Virtual Tours, Google Street View and the ability to add Custom Tours to any property. GIS Planning is the only GIS data software tool in the economic development industry to offer all of those possibilities to all of our customers for all their buildings and sites, in mobile versions and for live proposals. Best of all, we do it without any additional charge, automatically implemented for every site and building listed.
For real. Check it out here. These new features are already live for properties on all of our client sites. This is what innovation looks like. It's why no other vendor comes close to the cutting-edge, innovative, industry-leading tools offered by GIS Planning.
360° Virtual Tours & Google Street View
This ability to offer virtual tours in economic development GIS data applications is crucial during the travel restrictions currently in play because of the coronavirus and they are likely to revolutionize the way corporate site selection happens even after the danger has passed. Why spend the time and money to get on a plane when you don't have to? GIS Planning is proud to offer this new functionality for free, automatically for all clients. With more than 22 years of experience, GIS Planning offers an unparalleled combination of extensive experience, cutting-edge GIS mapping expertise, and a generous R&D budget backed by our parent company, the Financial Times. It's the reason we are proud to keep consistently innovating to help our clients in difficult times.
Our partnership with Google makes it possible for us to add 360° Virtual Tours (using Google Earth) and Google Street Views for most properties in our system. The first gives your website users and prospective investors a fly over the area to get a bird's eye view of the area (try it here); the second lets them zoom in to see the property at the street level (as in the image below). More important, clients don't have to do anything to add a fly over or a street view as the system does that automatically. This means that economic developers can direct prospects with a link to the flyover or a link to the street view, both in the property report or with our drag and drop proposal generator. Site selectors and prospects can research and analyze the area: Where exactly is the building situated? Will their trucks have easy access to a loading dock? Is the facade sufficiently presentable for their company as is?
See another example here on the Georgia EMC website. You'll notice that the properties can be explored in four different ways using the buttons at the top of the property report. Best of all, you can do it easily from your laptop, tablet or mobile phone!
“The use of technology and virtual site and building visits is the new normal” said Ricky McGee, Manager, Technical Services, Georgia EMC Economic Development. He explains that “The challenges and cost of travel, and health and safety considerations have drastically altered our day-to-day client interaction. GIS Planning has provided the tools of innovation to help us serve our customers with same level of quality as we did pre-pandemic.”
In addition to the 360° Virtual Tours and Google Street View, ZoomProspector also gives clients the option to add additional custom tours to any of your properties; these can be interactive tours of the interior, immersive video, drone video or slideshows. This custom tour button is easily added for any property listing with this kind of media. It's a compelling way to offer your prospects an additional virtual tour inside the building. As North Carolina Southeast Board of Directors member Gary Lanier explains, “The virtual tour concept is a great way to get an industrial property in front of site selection consultants and key decision-makers in companies around the world”.
The example above was developed by a company called Lackey Tours that serves the US South East. The turnaround time from start to finish for this virtual tour was less than three days, according to Gary Lanier of NCSE. Lackey Tours provides 360° virtual tours for industrial/commercial buildings giving clients an immersive experience entirely different from traditional 2D or video collateral. Lackey Tours originated from a combination of necessity due to travel bans from the recent pandemic and by addressing the tech gap in how industrial buildings are marketed versus their commercial and residential counterparts.
“Travel bans have put a halt to site selectors and business owners’ ability to travel and put their eyes on a property, getting a true feel, and our 360° virtual tours provide a bridge” said Kevin Lackey,
Add virtual tools to online proposals
In addition, all these new views can be easily added to the live custom proposals you can build with the built-in drag and drop Proposal Generator on ZoomProspector. This user-friendly live collaboration proposal builder makes it possible to send your prospects and customers a polished, professional live document overlaid with a rich set of EMSI, JobsEQ, Census or Business data as well as your custom layers. Vastly preferable and more competitive than a stack of old-school PDFs or a google drive with 20 different documents to sift through. You can view an example of our online proposals by clicking here.
If you'd like to learn more about how GIS Planning's industry-leading suite of GIS data tools for economic development and corporate site selection, get in touch today.