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What is Location Intelligence?

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

If you haven’t integrated Location Intelligence into your company yet, now’s a great time to do so. Virtually every business on the planet can leverage this fantastic technology to improve their bottom line.

Never heard of Location Intelligence? You’re not alone.

Location Intelligence, or the more ubiquitous term “GIS” (Geospatial Information System), is the visual representation of various data points, in a given space, providing a holistic view to inform and assist decision-making.


In years past, Location Intelligence was only for big corporations with huge budgets. GIS software was purchased as a resource-heavy desktop application, with licenses costing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Generally, only a small group in the organization had the knowledge and skillset to access the GIS platform and associated data, and as a result, its value was frequently misunderstood and underutilized. Those days are over.

Present Day

Location Intelligence has come a long way. The rapid rise of cloud computing has virtually eliminated the need for bulky software licenses and has dramatically lowered costs. Nimble software startups such as Descartes Labs have leveraged existing sensors, machine learning, object recognition, advanced aerial imagery and other tech to generate a multitude of incredible applications to meet industry-specific Location Intelligence needs. Advances in mobile devices means massive amounts of Location Intelligence data is available to anyone in the enterprise who requires it, wherever in the world they may be, on-demand, in the palm of their hand.

Current Uses

Myriad businesses and government agencies of all sizes are now taking advantage of all that Location Intelligence offers. Here are just a few:

  • Marketing. According to a recent article by the USC Dornsife School of Spatial Sciences, marketing departments utilize GIS technology to Customer segmentation based on location to create geographically-targeted digital advertising; to generate location-based push notifications; and to provide personalized recommendations for dining, fitness and other aspects of consumers’ lives. Learn more about using demographics for your marketing here.

  • Real Estate Development. Savvy developers use Location Intelligence to identify supply gaps and patterns of growth to determine the optimal position for planned communities, retail shopping centers, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities and more. What’s that? The downtown core in your city has no developable property left? Think again – there’s a Location Intelligence app for that. The University of Miami’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement (CCE) as part of its Miami Housing Solutions Lab has created the Land Access for Neighborhood Development Tool (LAND), an application that identifies institutionally or publicly- owned vacant property throughout the city.

  • Land Records. Nearly all municipal government agencies now have some form of GIS platform to relate their land records. Interactive maps display data such as ownership, parcel size, zoning, land use, flood risk, municipal services, and more.

  • What about indoors? Thanks to new technologies including Indoor Positioning Systems (IPS), the same Location Intelligence benefits once reserved for outdoors are now available inside as well. Retailers use this technology to improve the shopping experience by assessing customers’ behavior inside the store. Hospitals and large offices use it to reduce operating costs and streamline processes by identifying unused spaces, providing directions to employees and visitors, and even tracking resources within the building. Even airports and train stations use this technology to improve passenger flow, security and allocation of resources. To see IPS in action, take a look at Sonorax’s short video demo below.

The Future

The future is bright for Location Intelligence, and its value will continue to increase as technology develops and clever minds create additional applications for it. One of the promising paths for Location Intelligence is the integration of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. This technology is already in use by utility companies around the globe. Imagine, a smart monitor has identified a small leak in an underground pipe. Field personnel then use their smartphones to quickly identify the source of the underground leak using an AR representation of the pipe system overlaid on their smartphone screen. Or perhaps a developer wants to see how the construction of a tall building will affect the shade on a nearby solar panel array. Sound like science fiction? Check out vGIS's AR Solution for Utilities below.

What it Means to You

Location Intelligence can be leveraged by nearly every business out there. It can assist in decision making, increase efficiencies, cut costs, and dramatically improve your bottom line. If you haven’t yet explored how this technology can help improve your business, you should. Not sure where to start? As always, we’re happy to answer any questions.

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