We can be tracked almost anywhere we go these days, thanks to location services on our phones, tablets, and other wireless devices. Getting “off the grid” can seem harder than ever to some people, but this new location intelligence software is proving to be an amazing resource for marketing analytics and the services that drive that data. Almost all areas of our lives are impacted by the data sourced from location intelligence software — from route planning, to selecting sites and enrollment for schools, to conducting crime analysis for law enforcement. The analytics market is only growing and the need for people to sort through the data is only growing. Technicians, geographers, cartographers, and other fields may find their services in more demand than ever before with the new location intelligence software helping track and map out our world.
What Is Geospatial Data and What Does Location Intelligence Even Mean? Geospatial data and location intelligence often go hand in hand, although they’re not the same thing. Geospatial data refers to information gathered about a physical object that’s transmitted via numbers in a geographic coordinate system.
You can think of spatial data as showing where an earthly object is, how big or small it is, and what it looks like in terms of shape. Buildings, bodies of water, towns, cities, and other landmasses can all be interpreted using spatial data. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are often used to further dig into geospatial data, especially for access and analyzing.
Location intelligence, then, goes a step further. It takes the geospatial data collected and uses it to solve a specific issue or problem. It usually requires taking a few different data sets, gathered either spatially or chronologically, and cross-referencing and comparing them to come to a solution.
What Do These Markets Look Like? In 2011, geospatial revenue topped $70 billion and helped produce almost $2 trillion in revenue for just the United States! Marketsandmarkets released a recent report that predicted the geospatial analytics market could go from a little under $27.5 billion in 2015 to over $72 billion by 2020! This means a lot of jobs, which is good news for the economy and the next tech-savvy generation. In February of 2014, Dresner Advisory Services ran an international business survey that showed over half of respondents — regardless of what industry they were in — agreed that location intelligence was critically or extremely important to their business planning.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs that need familiarity with GIS and location intelligence are going to steadily increase over the next few years. They estimate that the need for geographers will be around 30%, cartographers and photogrammetrists will be at 20%, and surveying and mapping technicians will be at almost 15%. And Gartner, a research company, states that there will be over four million big data jobs that need to be filled over the next two years and only about a third of them will actually find employees ready to take them.
So What Is All This Data Being Used For? Businesses actually depend heavily on location intelligence solutions to help their businesses flourish and to stay ahead of the curve. However, the public sector also relies heavily on location intelligence software. As mentioned previously, it can help decide where to place hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants, transportation hubs, and more. Being able to see at a glance where large groups of people reside or frequently spend time can help businesses calculate where a good location for their business might be.
Trends become easier to spot mapped out and this can drive sales and marketing efforts, including branding and overall aesthetic, based on the population’s demographic in that specific area. Even the government uses it to track crime, update the census, manage the environment and land in an area, and to carry out urban planning.
Geospatial data and location intelligence software affects a significant portion of our lives that we may not even be aware of. It’s a quickly growing field and one that is sure to provide great opportunities ahead for our social and economic growth.
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