BNP Paribas Real Estate provides clients with detailed geographical analysis and planning support

bnpBNP Paribas Real Estate is a leader in the UK’s commercial property market and a subsidiary of one of the world’s biggest banking groups, BNP Paribas (the world’s sixth “safest” bank in 2009, according to Standard & Poor’s). Frequently the company helps clients with catchment analysis, store-based analysis and other projects with a geographical element.

Previously the organisation used a variety of software tools for this kind of exercise, but it decided it needed a rounded geographic information system that would enable it to add more consistency and functionality to the work.

The initial requirement was to provide retailers with more precise analysis of customer catchments and proximity to competitors. Another key objective was to advise corporate clients on their office relocation strategies.

The company is also a specialist in the logistics market, and is frequently asked by clients to advise on the “big shed” warehousing market. It already maintained in-house databases of property availability and rental levels, but wanted the ability to analyse this information more effectively on a geographical basis.

A further requirement was to help deal with the fact that client address data can sometimes contain out-of-date postcodes. The company wanted a system that would clean up addresses, substituting correct postcodes wherever possible.

BNP Paribas appointed Mapmechanics to provide a package of GIS software and data, and MapMechanics supplied GeoConcept Enterprise, the high-end version of the powerful geographic information system, plus a range of map data from NAVTEQ, Ordnance Survey and the AA, along with Census data and access to Microsoft Bing aerial mapping.

For the retail catchment and competitor analysis, BNP Paribas now uses GeoConcept with NAVTEQ Premium streetlevel map data. This is the most highly-specified version of NAVTEQ data, including one-way streets, driving restrictions and speeds.

To advise corporate clients on office relocation strategies and highlight the availability of property in potential new locations, the company is using postcodes derived from OS Code-Point UK data, along with Census data for profiling potential locations. This helps with analysing the drivetimes from specific home addresses to possible new locations.

When it comes to “big shed” analysis, BNP Paribas Real Estate is using a combination of NAVTEQ map data and speed files and postcode data. “We also use the GeoConcept Postcode Formatter module to clean up historical postcodes,” says Kevin Mofid, an associate director in the BNP Paribas Real Estate research team.

By introducing the Mapmechanics package, BNP Paribas Real Estate has gained new ability to provide clients with detailed geographical-based analysis and planning support.

On retail catchment analysis, for instance, the company is able to take full advantage of the mapping attributes in the source data to deliver results that meet the precise requirements of the Competition Commission.

With strategic planning for office relocation, the company can highlight the availability of property in potential new locations, and explore the implications of a move in terms of the time staff would spend travelling to work at their new premises.

The Mapmechanics package has also helped streamline the company’s warehouse location analysis. Kevin Mofid reports:

We can identify mismatches between supply and demand, and indicate to clients where they could find alternative warehouse premises, or advise developers where to build.

Bing aerial mapping adds a more intuitive look to the map display, Kevin Mofid says. “Surveyors are particularly used to viewing locations against the background of detailed real-world aerial images, so Bing mapping gives the presentation more familiarity.”

We use the GeoConcept Postcode Formatter module to clean up historical postcodes.

Now the company is considering ways to set up intranet-based mapping, giving its various industry teams access to the same mapping and data products. Mapmechanics’ GeoConcept Internet Server provides exactly this functionality.