I find it somewhat interesting how terminology evolves when marketing is at play. Words such as analytics and data blending euphemistically enter the lexicon to accomodate the latest marketing campaign. I actually like the term analytics but find it somewhat amusing when someone puts a new spin on more common terms like data intergration and now called "blending."
I see three market segments for location intelligence:
- Analytics: more commonly and simply, analysis and the ability to query spatial primitives to derive location-based phenomenon. Spatial statistics and map alegbra have allowed advanced information discernment supporting applications in marketing, land valuation, and many others
- Visualization: The development of dashboards, so often used in business intelligence applcations, to display information in a variety of graphical forms has provided a better means to fully comprehend the volume of data being captured. You can look at reams and reams of tabular output or you can look at one map. As we add more dimensions of location-based data (e.g. time) new visualization methods become increasingly useful.
- Data management: It's a necessary and perhaps the most time consuming component of location technology. Data must be cleansed and prepared for proper analysis or "garbage in...garbage out." Geocoding and the integration of disparate data types are two examples that must be accomplished in order for the analyst to have some confidence level that the analytics and subsequent visualization of data provides the correct information. Data management can also involve the preparation of specific data types for specialized analysis such as linear networking and raster data analysis and image processing.
I think these segements adequately define location intelligence as we understand the components today. As more people who are not familiar with location-based information come to understand its value basic definitions are useful.
The location intelligence ecosystem is large and growing and you can interact with others in this market at the Location Intelligence and Analytics LinkedIn group, now with over 7200 members and on Twitter @locationintel.