What the #*$@ is geospatial data anyway?


insight-edge-2If you are like me and don’t spend your days tinkering in Alteryx, you may be wondering what geospatial data is and where it fits into the bigger picture of what your business goals are. Today I will share how what seems like ‘data’ on the surface is actually a cohesive set of decision support criteria, linked through a data network that enables our clients to create amazing experiences on their sites and mobile apps. Let’s pretend for a second you have been traded from the Dallas Cowboys to the Atlanta Falcons. You are a father of 3 and your wife is a professor who will be teaching at Georgia State. There are so many questions you have to answer to make this exciting opportunity work for you and your family.  An example of a few questions you may have:

  • Where area can I relocate to that offers a short commute to the stadium (my office) and the university so that my wife can get to her classes in a timely fashion?
  • For the areas I do identify, what schools will my kids attend and how do they rate compared to where they go now and do they have the programs that they need to continue their educations at a high level?
  • What’s in my area as far as eating, shopping, safety, and parks?
  • If I don’t make the playoffs, then I’ll just have to play some extra golf, my second love so I’d like to be rather close to a nice club or course.
  • The list can go on!

Now imagine if you had to piece all these answers together. Finding that and the home of your dreams on top of it all is a cumbersome process. Each of these points and geography containers come from disparate data sets, all with flaws of their own. For 13 years, my company has been perfecting the relationships between data points and containers. They range from the simple examples I mentioned to multi-layered questions like “how many home sales happened in this neighborhood?”

Think of geospatial data as a fancy way to explain the foundation we lay out for consumers to search all of data sets on your platform. By doing so, you are actually guiding them in making these crucial decisions. We call this decision support. It’s our number one goal of helping our clients in their presentations to their consumer. This helps to establish you as a true local expert and will build trust and mindshare of your brand.

It’s one thing to present data. It’s a whole other ballgame to show it in a relational way where you can see all of your questions answered in an intuitive and digestible format- plotted on a map or in a narrative that spells out.

Relating these geographical relationships on a national scale would be an undertaking if you tried to start from scratch. Trust me, we’ve had some clients try, many of whom ended up coming back to us after getting stuck in the headaches of trying to build this network on their own or cobble together free APIs that are not relational.

If you present bifurcated information or data sets that are unrelated, you are basically asking the consumer to do their own research. Instead, we’ve developed data architecture to solve this and not to mention, racked up plenty of best practice use cases over the past decade.

With most other industries focusing on ease and uniqueness of customer experience this year, it’s time for ours to commit as well.