Since starting at Boundless I’ve been learning a lot about how intrinsic location is to…well, everything. If you use a smartphone to find a Starbucks when you’re in Kenosha on business, you’ve used location intelligence; what’s simple and straightforward for you to access and use is often a complex and expensive challenge for enterprises. But more on that another time.
A few weeks ago I began to think back on all my previous jobs, trying to ascertain what, if anything, they had to do with location. The thing is, everything has a location element to it. The time I spent temping at an accounting firm? Yep, where you live and work affects how you pay taxes. My gig writing for a supply chain technology pub? Well, supply chains have an awful lot to do with getting things from one place to another. Writing restaurant reviews for a regional magazine? Gotta know where to find the best sushi on the East side of town! And location is an indispensable part of field service.
As more businesses realize there’s gold in them there hills (and valleys, and floodplains, and population centers…), there will be an increasing need to collect, store, and analyze location data in the name of getting valuable business insights. Eliminating guesswork has always been one of the jobs of maps – and now that we’ve added data gleaned from sensors and satellites, not to mention machine telemetry, drones, and good old ground observations, there’s no telling how much uncertainty we can eliminate from things as important as hurricane evacuation routes and as seemingly trivial to where to build a new fast food restaurant. Of course, decisions like site selection are anything but trivial to the fast food CEO, and given the right sales pitch, that person will be more than willing to part with some precious budget for the right geospatial solutions.