“Intelligent mobile maps exploding” I hear you wonder. “Is that like the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?”. Keep reading ….

The location intelligence and GIS industries often talk at length about maps. But what is a map?

A map is one way to visualize (location based) data. That might be simply combining data-sets: properties for sale and city limits in real estate, pipelines and easements in the gas industry. They are also ways to display the results of an analysis: show me all the best potential locations (given my criteria) for a new coffee shop in Salt Lake City. Just like a chart – pie, bar, graph – a map combines and summarises data. And that can be large amounts of data; presented as an image. Our brains are wired to understand easily and quickly images: “a picture speaks a thousand words” as the saying goes.

The mobile revolution we are now experiencing has made location (the ‘where’) ever more important. How often do you pull out your smartphone or tablet and view a mobile map? If you are like me, very often would be your answer. Consumer apps which include maps provide simple ‘canned’ functionality. That means they are designed to show pre-set maps and answer simple where type questions: Where is my Uber cab? Where is the nearest pokey-stop? Where is that snow-storm the weather man predicted would hit my town?

But a map is simply an output. A way to bring data to life. The above questions could be answered without a map: “The threatened snow storm is currently over Pocatello”, “Your Uber cab is 5 minutes away”. Simple and to the point. But lacking both depth and breadth.

Are intelligent mobile maps exploding?

So what has all this to do with intelligent maps?

We know maps can show large amounts of data in a way which is easy to understand. And they provide the output for where type questions. This ability to answer questions makes today’s mobile maps intelligent. Consumer mobile maps are usually simple and focused. Business mobile maps an be quite different. Their purpose is to answer business questions. These questions can be simple or complex. The use of intelligent mobile maps by business has been slow. But that is beginning to change. Why?

Organization are beginning to realise the value intelligent mobile maps can bring to their business. The ability to have simple and complex where type questions answered and displayed in a map is very powerful. Mobility means questions answered anyplace, anytime, on any device.

Call it what you will location intelligence, location analytics. The use of intelligent mobile maps in the business world is today exploding.

Are you using intelligent mobile maps in your business? Tell us more 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:

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