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August 28, 2007

Location - more than mapping

Interactive mapping, "BI" style, includes the 'Google Earth" style mouse-over - but extends this concept to:

interactive queries

(e.g., show me sales of product line x, by store, last 30 days compared to same 30 days last year)

and 'filtering'

(e.g., Where are all the areas that have more than 1000 families with income > $75,000 and 1000 females under 5 years of age).

Mapping is a 'skin' to your data - from hitting spreadsheets to POS databases.

The curious thing is that the map or geography based visual has been around for 30 years (GIS science!) but is not yet in the hands of those who could make the most of it - business people looking at their performance and their opportunities.

The great value of location based intelligence is simply that most data have a location signal... Why not use it? There is actually little cost beyond some software - the data you already have are filled with 'location' intelligence.

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Posted by John D. Corbett at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2007

Greetings! The LI signal in YOUR data

Yet another beautiful day in Colorado. Blog Entry #1. Welcome to a blog about the value of location-based information...

Location Intelligence puts "where" into your decisions - location is a signal already in your data (the address of your stores, customers, and plants/facilities is enough!) and if you are not making maps - visualizing these data in their natural geographic arrangement - you are missing an incredible opportunity to manage your performance and find new opportunities. And when your competition uses map based visualizations? They will see things you can't.

Simply put, you can't see clusters or boundaries in a spreadsheet - nor can you see gaps ( = where you are not selling). Even trends are hard to spot.

Maps are 'fun' - easy to interpret - and offer a powerful visual method to support insight.

Where (no pun intended!) do we go from here?

A picture of data - a 'static' map - can be useful but history is proof that such pictures-of-data too limit decision making processes and such maps stay in the background.

The key is to interact with your data through the lens of a map - of Geography. An operating picture of your whole business emerges.

My frustration with non-interactive mapping is long and deep - but there is much activity in mapping today - and Location Intelligence has rapidly emerged as a value-laden use of existing data.

Gotta love the awareness Google Maps and Google Earth bring! The competition from Microsoft (Virtual Earth) and others (Yahoo Maps, MapQuest etc) is really heating up. Much will be attemped and there is much value to be found in utilization of the existing location signal in your data!

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Posted by John D. Corbett at 3:45 PM | Comments (0)