NorthSouth GIS Ltd
This page profiles NorthSouth GIS Ltd, a Porirua based business that’s doing great things with GIS technology.
David and Beryl Pimblott in their offices in Whitby.
NorthSouth GIS operates out of their own custom built building, the Geographic Information Centre in Discovery Drive. Originally the building housed numerous other tenants but as the company has expanded they have taken over more and more of the floor space.
Managing director David says the company holds a unique position in the local area – it is one of the few IT companies in Porirua and the only one specialising in geographic information systems. Put simply, that means maps on computers. “It’s a bit like Google maps – but more.”
The company’s systems can be used for all manner of things including management of roading, engineering, water and sewerage infrastructure, managing pests for land management and district planning purposes. They also provide support for real estate agents who can match potential buyers with properties based on their geographical requirements such as proximity to schooling, and transport.
Sixty per cent of their clients are local government with the rest a mix of central government and international clients.
Working from Whitby
David says operating from Whitby is great. “We don’t have to be in the centre of Wellington City for what we do and it works well for our clients too. They are from all over the country so they have to travel to us or us to them anyway.”
Although the company started off small, David says about seven years ago things started to happen for them and there is now a total of 20 people working for the company.
“Back then we still only had about five or six people working for us when we entered the Porirua City Business Awards and won Best Cyber Business and came runner up for the Supreme Business Award behind Whittaker’s (New Zealand's famous chocolate makers). The next year we entered the Wellington Region Gold Awards and won their Cyber Gold Award for ICT innovation, leadership and sustained growth.
“That showed to us that our low profile business tucked away in Whitby really was doing some cool stuff and that other people thought so as well.”
The leap to international clients
Around this time David says the company became involved with a GIS consultant in the United States who had a similar type of business.
“At the time we thought it would be interesting to do some international work but you can only do that if you have an in-country representative, someone you can trust.” David said it took a few years to set up but they are now joint venture partners in NorthSouth GIS.
A lot of the work in the United States has involved GIS software development for local government and hazard disclosure companies in support of real estate purchases.
With an office also in India, David sees the off-shore offices as being supported by the expertise in the New Zealand office. “Because of the skills we have developed, we see New Zealand as being like a centre of excellence…we will provide that top tier of expertise on projects, such as we are currently providing in the Middle East.”
Strengthening the international feel of the company the office in Whitby employs staff for a variety of different cultures including England, Scotland, Netherlands, India, China, Bangladesh and some Kiwis as well.
“It’s a real multi-national group and that’s pretty cool. As a group we can speak 18 different languages between us.”
David says that’s a real advantage when working with international clients. “We can talk to these people in their own languages and that’s really nice.”
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