Having been an independent industry analyst in analytics technologies for the past five years, I can affirm that there is no more powerful vector for probes into both structured and unstructured data (such as images) than GPS. Building on that slightly, it is just as easy to incorporate geospatial inquiries of data in that statement.
GPS-geospatial data probes and analytics work well because everyone can understand pictorial maps and trends of populations, assets, weather, etc. They also know how to use a GPS tracker to locate their vehicles on a route, or a new restaurant they want to try, or a cargo of produce en route to an east coast market and whether delivery will be timely.
Market forecasts confirm the explosive growth of geospatial imagery analytics.
Recent industry outlook prognostications indicated significant growth through 2027, fueled in part by GPS and GIS capabilities that were being integrated into automobiles, forestry, climate and weather systems, city planning systems, and more.
It doesn’t stop there.
To quote the report: “Geospatial imagery momentously boosts the GIS mapping project for various end-user industries and serves as a source of information and data to back analysis and classification for geospatial assessment and modelling. Additionally, geospatial imagery analytics can be used to support reasons behind global climate change, environmental management for natural hazards and disasters, natural resources, wildlife, land cover and many other applications.”
At this point, most industries are already engaged with GPS and geospatial technologies. They might even feel prepared — but are they?
Matt Gentile of Deloitte Financial Advisory Services Geospatial Analytics, recommends three actions companies should be taking:
#1 Ask value-driven questions by connecting geospatial investments to specific organizational goals, using analytics to measure and forecast results. In the course of doing this, Gentile urges companies to “look for ways to use place-based information to grow revenue, lower costs, or improve products and services.”
#2 Find your baseline. What GPS and geospatial resources do you already have, and are you making the most of them so you can drive better business decisions?
#3 Do spring cleaning. The data in your existing and new systems has to be cleaned and “prepped” in order to successfully be aggregated and queried with other data. Gentile encourages organizations to “consider cleansing and standardizing addresses, geocoding your data, or adding GPS sensors to physical assets.”
Most organizations are lagging in their data preparation efforts. This has the potential of creating “dirty” data that can skew the results of data queries, leading to poor business decisions because the decisions were based on poor data.
If organizations are not doing all of these things, it’s time to take stock of geospatial and GIS implementation strategies and make revisions.
This is also a good time to add the following items to your GPS and geospatial strategies, if you haven’t already:
Get involved with others in your industry to understand coming industry trends and how you can take advantage of them. One way to do this is to stay up on new developments by reading trade journals, and participating in seminars and industry groups.
Create road maps of new geospatial and GPS capabilities that can build on to your current systems, tools and analytics. If you’re in logistics and you’re tracking trucks en route for on-time deliveries, you can extend your business case value by using what you know to reroute trucks if the load a truck is carrying is perishable and you need a closer market. If you’re in healthcare, you can not only track where your patients are, but you can begin to see trends of disease rates in different geographic areas. This might prompt new preventive programs in target communities.
Over the next few years, new GPS III satellites launched by the U.S. Air Force will provide improved positioning, navigation, and timing services for more than four billion users worldwide. They will have better security, great accuracy, and improved anti-jamming capabilities.
Developments like this will not only speed more geo data to more users, they will do it at more affordable rates.
Now is the time to assemble a three- to five-year strategic plan for the expansion of GPS and geospatial data in your company. Company analytics will continue to grow, and while we can’t exactly predict the rate of growth, we can be relatively well assured that GPS and geospatial data probes will play a central role.