Using geospatial technology and analytics to unlock hidden value

Managing real estate risks and opportunities amidst our ever-changing climate is a high-stakes challenge for companies from all sectors. Climate impacts are geographical by nature, and a geographical approach is already helping companies reassess their real estate and asset portfolios. By applying location technology and sophisticated analytics, executives gain clarity in deciding which properties to keep, which to sell, and which to repurpose. Recently, John Lenahan, Esri’s Commercial Services Lead, discussed the strategy with Joel Glaze, Global Real Estate Optimization Lead for ExxonMobil, which manages thousands of properties on six continents.

JOHN LENAHAN, ESRI: Why is now the time to reevaluate real estate portfolios?

JOEL GLAZE, EXXONMOBIL: Technology and data availability, but also how we can create shareholder value and maintain the operational level that we have. It’s an opportunity we couldn’t ignore. Colleagues past and present have chimed in and done a lot of the digitization, a lot of the land registry centralization that got us to where we can say, “Let’s wrap this up.” Geospatial technology and applications that are layered on top of that data are the place where you can really start gaining insights. It’s very easy to identify properties that you may have overlooked in the past but which today have incredible value.

LENAHAN: Why this analysis in a geographic information system (GIS)?

GLAZE: Maps bring people together naturally. We’re all used to tossing a big card onto a table and gathering around it. Ultimately representing this in an easy to understand visualization that represents a natural human way of real estate analysis helped us with our primary decisions: will we sell this land because we no longer need it, or will we optimize this land because we still need it .

LENAHAN: How does integrating geospatial technology into real estate analytics improve collaboration between people and teams?

GLAZE: We’ve all seen it, haven’t we? You create a map or dashboard, put it on a screen and just see the excitement on people’s faces. You can see the connections – like this record and that record and how they fit together – or how there can be unforeseen benefits. Geospatial technologies help us visualize this data and align party expectations. Here you will find people who are excited to be part of the conversation and who are also passionate about driving these deals forward. It contributes to some great conversations that help close deals.

LENAHAN: How have automation and AI incorporated the work of real estate optimization?

GLAZE: Our long term goal is to move towards automation and train computers to do some of the manual tasks. What excites me is the geospatial modeling that we were able to use. We can model uses, for example, by trying to determine which of our properties are best suited for a new solar power generation site or a new logging and forestry program.

LENAHAN: How does geospatial technology help uncover new real estate opportunities?

GLAZE: Through our modelling, we were able to find a navigable waterway on our property that had been underused for the past 50 years, leading us to ask, “How can we use this property to add value to make trade and transport better.” to support? ” Over the past year we have more than 100 examples of properties that we have appraised. It could be that a business unit no longer needs the land to support its operations. It also brings to light property that another team at the company has that may be looking for similar land, can bring it a new use… When we look at this land, every single parcel has a story to tell and there is a unique value proposition as to why it came into our portfolio in the first place then to say, “How can we use that today?” – it’s a dream job, honestly.

To learn more about how companies are using geospatial analytics to gain real estate insights, read this Consequence of Esri & The Science of Where Podcast or this Consequence at CBRE, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate companies. More information on applying a geospatial approach to commercial real estate can be found here

Exxon Mobil Corporation has numerous subsidiaries. Nothing in this material is intended to override the legal independence of local entities.


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