Asena Atilla Saunders
Asena Atilla Saunders 25 January 2017

Evolution of Location Intelligence Tools

To have a better understanding where we are at now (and how lucky we are), let`s take a look at the evolution of the location-based platforms.

More than 80% of all business data contain a location component  (Forbes). As a result, we all understand Location Intelligence has become more essential for any business. Analyzing location wisely can provide perception that supports decision-making in every business line  and any scale of business. So when it comes to using location intelligence tools, do we still need to be tech-savvy? Do we need to keep a big budget for employing a huge amount of IT staff like in the old days?

To have a better understanding where we are at now (and how lucky we are), let`s take a look at the evolution of the location-based platforms. The earliest location intelligence tool was a “map” (okay let`s not go deep into that one, we all know how to use it) which over the past years has evolved into digital maps for navigation. The other major location intelligence tools or data sources were GPS and Satellite Data. They were mainly used for land use analysis, and mapping weather, which provided a changing view of the world at a large scale. However, a new force has arisen with the usage of GPS embedded mobile devices on a global scale. This caused traditional business intelligence and location tools needed to step up to manage and analyze all this data. The need to map the different data, analyze geospatial data relationships and have the precise, accurate location information has emerged, which traditional tools lack these functionalities.

Traditional GIS Tools, Were They Really the Rescue?

As a result of this necessity, companies started using highly specialized Geographic Information Systems (GIS) which were designed to analyze location, trends and conditions about:

  • Geographical patterns
  • Changes that occurred over a given period of time
  • Spatial implications and
  • Integrating  various data to obtain solutions

The main handicap of traditional GIS tools were, they were mainly serving government, military and big organizations.  Petroleum, transportation and utility companies, they obviously had no budget problems. Also the main user base was the trained geospatial professionals who used the comprehensive GIS tools in established organizations.

During this time, the inability to scale beyond the desktop and a handful of specialized users` limitation made the Location Intelligence vendors enjoy the comfort of a market niche under served by the traditional GIS vendors.

The Real Location Intelligence Evolution

In 2006, Google launched mapping APIs which allowed users -even non-developers-  to easily integrate Google Maps into their websites using JavaScript, and the `Mashups` era began. Even the users of traditional GIS vendors were eager to use the low-cost and easy-to-use mashups. These APIs created another generation of LI vendors who knew very less or even nothing about traditional GIS or Location Intelligence technology but instead began layering many kinds of content on top of Google Maps.  In a result of the new vendors, many new web-based Location Intelligence applications appeared which changed the LI landscape forever.

The new generation Location Intelligence tools rapidly made a way to retail, insurance, banking and other commercial and service businesses. They also targeted a different user base, whose job descriptions included location analysis but who did not have the formal geography education or computer literacy of the traditional GIS user. The mixture of traditional and new GIS and LI vendors enhanced standards-based mapping technologies and APIs to develop applications that were easy to use and deploy. Many users took advantage of both Google and other vendor mapping APIs which can also be used together.

Today almost every BI vendor has a location intelligence implementation. More intelligent, functional and interactive maps are integrated directly with popular tools and dashboards.   Contributors to the technology include:

  • Traditional GIS vendors who have exposed access to their content through open APIs;
  • Database Vendors who have added spatial data types and functions to their databases and
  • New-Age LI Vendors who offer direct, real-time access to geo-referenced data for building dashboards and mashups.

As a conclusion, where do you begin to leverage location intelligence in your organization?

Exastax introduces `Parcell`, which enables you to transform location data into actionable insights. It brings all the necessary user friendly location intelligence tools to help you visualize and analyze your geospatial data. It will also help you to improve your decision making with:

  • Location analytics
  • Smart routing
  • Retrospective or Real-Time Tracking
  • Data modeling
  • Points of interest and
  • Thematics

Feel free to contact us to map your business, analyze location wisely to improve your decision making.

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