What is location intelligence?


Definition

Location intelligence (LI) is achieved via visualization and analysis of geospatial data. Geospatial data analysis enhances understanding, insight, decision-making, and prediction. By adding layers of geographic data—such as demographics, traffic, and weather—to a smart map or dashboard, organizations can use intelligence tools to identify where an event has taken place, understand why it is happening, and gain insight into what caused it. As part of a digital transformation, many organizations are relying on geographic information system (GIS) technology to create location intelligence.

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Who uses location intelligence?

More than 90 percent of leaders believe that location intelligence is crucial to business and community success. Executives, managers, and operators apply this type of intelligence to meet a wide range of needs. Examples of its use include finding optimal locations in retail site selection, managing assets in real time, and maintaining or repairing vital infrastructure. Discover why more than two-thirds of business executives are already using location intelligence to gain a competitive edge.

What does location intelligence do?


With billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), executives and decision-makers have access to unprecedented amounts of business data, including a variety of geospatial data. Location intelligence comes from visualizing and analyzing volumes of data in the context of location, and is used to empower holistic planning, prediction, and problem-solving. Seeing all relevant information in the context of location—on a smart map, app, or dashboard—provides unique insights. Insights gained from location technology can reveal hidden relationships, patterns, and trends, delivering a competitive advantage.

A grey 3D map of a city and mountainside with blue graphs and charts

How do organizations use location data?


Most data points are linked to physical locations and times. But location isn't just the common thread connecting disparate data sources and breaking down silos—it can often provide the most transformative insights. Leading organizations use location data analytics to solve business problems and uncover new opportunities. Location intelligence solutions are a crucial addition to business intelligence (BI) tools.

GIS technology provides a software framework to manage, visualize, analyze, and ultimately understand the significance of location information. Rooted in science, GIS helps businesses gain actionable insight by integrating all types of data. Location intelligence, powered by GIS, transforms businesses and organizations across a wide range of industries.

A grey 3D map of a city and mountainside with blue icons that represent locations of people

What is location intelligence software?

Location intelligence software is powered by GIS technology, which allows users to store, visualize, and analyze geospatial data in real time to gain actionable insights. Often leveraging maps and dashboards to make geospatial insights easy to share with executives and decision-makers, location intelligence technology is an essential business intelligence tool. Analysts can use the software to combine all kinds of data such as demographic data, customer relationship management (CRM) data, and supply chain information. 

Computer laptop showing location intelligence software being used with a colorful map

Why is location intelligence important?

Many of the challenges we face in business and government are tied to location-based questions. Location intelligence use cases are as varied as advancing sustainability and equity, addressing the climate crisis, and leveraging real-time analytics to gain operational intelligence in businesses such as commercial real estate and retail. Location intelligence, powered by GIS, is critically important to business decisions. Without considering geography, we’re missing key information that can aid understanding. 

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Location intelligence examples

Planning strategic growth


Walgreens uses location intelligence to plan store locations, understand customers' shopping needs, identify sales trends, and even track the flu.

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