Location intelligence: How the Pandemic made mapping a must-have

Nov 29th 2021

Location based data has long been acknowledged as strategically important. Understanding communities close to a business is key to appropriate marketing messaging, product development and stocking, and growth potential. But it took a global pandemic for the man or woman in the street to truly understand the value of location intelligence.

Everyone wants location data

We’ve all seen the graphics on TV, showing the Covid-19 cases in the areas around where we live and work. The data has been crucial to policy makers and health workers, hoping to contain the virus spread. It’s also been important to the average person, planning ahead for work, school and time with family and friends. For these citizens, there was a real desire for services like our own GapMaps Essentials system. With Essentials, people could easily find out where to access a supermarket, pharmacy, get petrol or source some takeaway – all within the permitted travel radius during lockdown. 

GapMaps Covid Essentials

In essence, ordinary citizens have become near experts in location intelligence. They’ve done that in the interest of their own convenience and safety. The pandemic gifted them that expertise.

What’s interesting about this kind of location intelligence is that it’s gone from being mildly interesting data, to a vital part of “living with Covid”. And the public’s sense of the value of this data has shifted, too. It’s now expected that brands should use maps to pinpoint the location of goods and services. Then the customer can make their own decisions about how to navigate to what they need. And where real time information may impact that navigation, this should be made available, too. That includes information about Covid exposure sites, or clusters of infection. 

In essence, ordinary citizens have become near experts in location intelligence. They’ve done that in the interest of their own convenience and safety. The pandemic gifted them that expertise.

Reprioritisation of location data in business

But appreciation of the value of location intelligence isn’t limited just to the general public. Business leaders in every industry are beginning to realise its strategic importance. Business operations have to adapt in response to location intelligence.

In their research on the subject, global consultancy firm, BCG, noted a substantive shift in the prioritisation of location intelligence among enterprises. They noted the shift was happening across a range of industry verticals. 

BCG research results about location data
Source: BCG, Unlocking Value with Location Intelligence, February 2021,

Of the executives surveyed, 95% said that mapping and geospatial data are important in achieving their desired business results today, and 91% said that they will be even more essential in three to five years. Retail and e-commerce were two sectors where the research found that companies use geospatial data extensively to enhance the customer experience.

Of course, most businesses will not have either the budget for a small army of data scientists and data sources, nor the interest in straying too far from their core business activities. And so, location intelligence has emerged as a standard business infrastructure asset. Now, companies around the world are tapping into location intelligence as regularly and as automatically as if it were stock market data.

It’s an interesting shift in thinking and strategy that’s been fast-tracked because of the pandemic. It was not that location intelligence had previously been ignored as such. But as the general population has come to appreciate and expect access to location data, so too have business decision makers developed their appreciation of the possibilities of location data. 

Business trends can sometimes be surprising. The trend of interest in location intelligence may be remarkable, but in the post-pandemic world, it just makes good sense.

Posted by GapMaps