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The GIS (geographic information system) applications in today’s day and age are a differentiator factor when it comes to some businesses success. A good GIS system allows visual analysis and interpretation of our available data. We can easily determine trends and patterns by regions or geographical coverage.

While the demand for this type of systems has been steadily growing, it is also interesting to see how the market also re-shapes itself and becomes more focused.

As such, one of the players well known in North-America has decided to retire it’s support for the Dynamics CRM platform. According to this announcement, Esri Maps for Dynamics CRM has entered Extended Support.

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What does this means? The solution will be still available for download until the end of June, 2016. Going forward, all integration into the ArcGIS platform will be custom, with support from the Esri Professional Services or from an Esri partner.

Support for SharePoint and Office still remains available going forward.

Mapping remains an option, with integration out of the box with Bing Maps or custom integration as described HERE with Google Maps.

Some Partners have also built solutions around mapping. PowerMap is one such example.

There is also the option of building custom components for mapping. You do have the greatest flexibility with this model, but also the most amount of effort, cost, and integration with other services. Besides tapping into a public/paid address geo-mapping service, for more complex scenarios where you want areas analyzed and heat maps generated, that can turn into a complex endeavor.

Luckily, PowerBI can step in and help with some of the mapping aspects. The Retail Analysis sample for Power BI: Take a tour shows a nice example where GIS flavors fit in:

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Where you used to spend time tweaking a GIS solution to show you data just the way you want it, now with PowerBI you can much easier get to the same result, as depicted in Supplier Quality Analysis sample for Power BI: Take a tour

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And since we’re looking at dashboarding and visualization, Microsoft acquired not too long ago Datazen. It has support for the standard ESRI shapefile format, which allows for custom maps. Now if this evolves nicely, it could really become a key toolset in mapping standardization for industries like Oil & Gas, Energy, Mining, Forestry, etc…

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Only if there were enough hours in the day to spend with all these goodies.

Enjoy!

Just a reminder to everyone, Mark’s book is out and available for ordering from Packt Publishing.

As I had the opportunity to proofread it, I have to say that the book is great, and Mark really pushed the limits on creating Dashboards in CRM 2011. It’s a great effort, and a very hot topic.

Great work!

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