There have been five distinct phases in the development of Geographic Information Systems. Phase one was mostly about hand-drawn geographical illustrations through paper maps. One of the earliest, most successful use case of Geographic Information System (GIS) was recorded in 1854, when John Snow, an English physician and a leader in medical hygiene, determined the source of cholera outbreak in London through mapping mechanism. He marked points on a map depicting where the cholera victims lived, and while connecting the cluster he found a nearby malignant water source. His findings drove a significant improvement in general public health around the world.
Shaping the direction of future research and development, the second phase saw the adoption of digital technologies by organizations that led to a focus on the development of best practice. Phase three, saw the development and putting GIS systems to use in the commercial marketplace by tracking real time traffic. While the final phases are now all about billions of connected devices and machine learning as an advancement to focus on improving the usability of technology by making facilities more user centric.
In the current times, when businesses are seen struggling with petabytes of big data everyday, length and breadth of sophisticated location intelligence technologies emerges as an enabler, with the taming power to bring structure and order to the data. The location intelligence technologies plays along with location data stored digitally in a database and facilitates businesses to look for optimum locations to find their target audience, arrive at informed business decisions, drive competitive advantage, track their field assets, understand customer’s choices and precisely bring to them what they have been looking for, and so much more.
The core functions performed over location data include geo-encoding, analyzing, and visualizing data-
Geo-encoding is basically coming up with latitude and longitude of a location. Encoding gives crucial information via data sets about the attributes of the location, important points of interest such as airport, shopping malls, etc. located around, population density in the area, location demographics, age of properties situated in that location, residential and commercial property usage, etc.
Location data analytics reveal the relationship of a location with it’s proximity and associated business factors. For example, number of servicing jobs completed by a field service agent, or restaurants located in a particular area, etc.
Visualization happens through presenting data typically via maps. Coupled with a layer of BI, the visualization can give deeper insights into critical business data such as which could be strongest areas for generating sales, or which areas could be more ready for targeting specific advertising campaigns, tracking and planning field force in real time, etc.
What we presented to you in this blog is a quick highlight of how location data and location intelligence evolved over the years. In terms of applications to business scenarios, location intelligence helps you answer some questions such as:
- Where is the real action happening? Where are my target customers?
- Which areas can you aggressively market to?
- What could be the best location for your next office, store or branch?
- How to position your brand to let your customers and prospects easily locate you?
- How can you leverage location data to make intelligent decisions?
- How do you get a more timely and accurate view of your on-field workforce?
- How do you track, locate, and obtain real time insights into their on-the-field job status?
Looking forward to leveraging the power of location intelligence to solve real world business problems? Talk to one of our location experts and get access to the fascinating world of location intelligence!