I use the term location intelligence (LI) with great caution. Why?

I always feel it is still a term which is poorly understood. It really sits under the more general ‘business intelligence’ umbrella. One common definition:

Location intelligence (LI) is a business intelligence (BI) tool capability that relates geographic contexts to business data. Like BI, location intelligence software is designed to turn data into insight for a host of business purposes.

We often provide a simpler definition:

LI is focused on answering business ‘where’ questions.

In this blog post we will discuss location intelligence and focus on available solutions.

Location Intelligence: What is your best Solution?

Let’s consider this question carefully: Is there a single, best LI solution?

My short answer is absolutely, based on your problem or your ‘where’ question in need of an answer. In my keynote at GIS in the Rockies, I discussed the ‘where’ problem to solution path in greater depth. A key question determining this solution path is:

“How complex is your ‘where’ question?”
Understanding and being able to define the ‘where’ question in need of an answer will determine the best solution. Is that a mapping platform or GIS platform? Now I have you confused, aren’t these one and the same?

YES AND NO
A map is an intuitive way to view a data-set or is an output from an analysis. We do not start with a map. We start with a defined problem, visualize a solution, apply the best, most appropriate technology to arrive at an answer or result often presented as a map. Sure a GIS commonly outputs a map, but a GIS is designed to answer a wide range of ‘where’ questions: from the very simple to the very complex. Large organizations often have a wide range of questions in need of answers. This is often why a GIS is the best solution.

Now imagine you are a small organization. Your ‘where’ questions are simple: “Show on a map all of our real estate listings?”, “Where are our insured homes in relation to earthquake zones?”, “How do I get from A to B?”. A simple mapping platform will provide these answers.

There is a wide spectrum of location intelligence solutions available today. The best solution for you will depend on the complexity of your ‘where’ question.

Wondering which location intelligence solution is best for you? Let us help provide guidance, contact us on 801-733-0723.

matt_sheehanAuthor: Matt Sheehan

Matt Sheehan is a Principal at WebMapSolutions. Matt evangelizes GIS and intelligent maps around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books. Follow him on Twitter: @webmapsolutions

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