The 2008 Financial Crisis stands testament to the turbulence real estate can bring. As governments plan, zone and lease – knowing a city’s real estate portfolio inside and out is crucial. To do so, simple 2D maps are no longer enough.

With big data and improved visualisation tools, government can better understand the development projects in the city and make informed, evidence-based decisions. JLL Australia is one such real estate services firm helping government manage property better.

Working closely with geospatial analytics provider Esri, the firm mapped the city of Brisbane, marrying business data with story maps – and enabling clients to make more informed property decisions.

No longer “location, location, location”

To put things into context, JLL Australia needed a simple visual communication tool to display data that will help consultants to better sell, lease, manage and value assets. This means a single window into all of the relevant data of any one property. “In real estate, location is everything, but we cannot value property solely based on which neighbourhood it’s in,” says Stephen Clark, JLL Australia’s Location Intelligence Specialist.

Esri created a custom platform that combined business and property data with story maps and 3D visualisations. Essentially, JLL Australia could visualise and share a web-based view of the whole of Brisbane in 3D to any of its clients. These high quality 3D models, made possible by Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform, were also made available as open data. Another Esri software, ArcGIS Pro, was used to render high-end flythroughs of the same content for playback in video form, which proved handy in consultants’ presentations to clients.

With one look at this 3D version of Brisbane, clients could see a detailed and accurate representation of each property as it exists in real life. “3D GIS is an excellent application for office leasing. It’s inadequate to look at a 2D map — there’s too much information that can’t be shown,” points out Clark.

Data-driven decisions

As clients go deeper into each 3D building, they can uncover all sorts of data to help them with leasing decisions. Data that is available on the platform includes: leasing data of commercial buildings using individual floor representations by sector; details of occupation within a property; lease expiry and rate per square metre of individual floors; and office accessibility, age of buildings, and individual land use.

By going the 3D visualisation route, JLL Australia effectively managed to process and analyse multiple large and complex datasets using Esri’s advanced location-based analytics and 3D mapping tools, to present data in an organised and easily understood way. The platform also provides insights into the impact of certain property decisions: clients can understand how a potential office move will affect staff’s commuting options, for example.

Group Managing Director of Esri Australia & Esri South Asia, Brett Bundock, asserts, “Location analytics reveals the hidden value of data and visualises patterns and trends to paint a valuable, evidence-based picture that you can build a solid investment decision on.”

Bundock adds that the flexibility of advanced analytics technologies allows organisations not yet employing these techniques to easily take this step “by implementing it either a standalone system, or one that will complement their existing systems”.

A report from global professional services firm, Deloitte, shows a growing gap between business productivity and technological advancements. At the same time, commercial real estate companies are slowly starting to embrace technology – and geospatial tools are already disrupting the way this age-old business runs.