Leveraging Mapping Technology For Hidden Business Insights

As we jump into a new year, it’s always interesting to look back and see how far we’ve come. Just 20 years ago, everyone in the corporate world had a “state-of-the-art” Blackberry, which was the freshest way to communicate and receive information.

Now, as 45% of Americans have an iPhone in their pockets⁠—or perhaps in their hand⁠—we look back on the Blackberry with a nostalgic sense: an archaic fossil from a simpler time.

I don’t need to spend much time convincing you that technology has made great strides in recent years. This is especially true in business, where we’re adapting to more new technologies⁠ at what seems like an exponential rate.

Even in the last 5 years, we’ve integrated astronomical amounts of new tech into our everyday lives, as well as in our business operations. Things that used to feel daunting and difficult are now made extremely accessible through new developments, as well as an insurgence of IT professionals that are well-trained in implementing these technologies.

This observation is especially true for location intelligence. Fortune 500 companies and small business owners alike can now benefit from location-based data to make better business decisions.

In this article, we’ll let you in on a little secret: you don’t need to be an IT professional to perform location intelligence. All you need is the necessary tools. And once you get the hang of it, you can easily analyze location data to glean hidden insights about your business, too—just like the big guys.

Hold Up: What’s Location Intelligence?

Location intelligence is a fancy term for a simple concept. Essentially, when you derive information from geographic data to gain insights for your business, you’re “doing” location intelligence. 

You might think you’re already using location intelligence for your business. While there’s a good chance that this is true; there’s also a chance that you’re operating on a primitive level. If this is the case, you’re leaving opportunities—and success—on the table.

Understanding numbers and statistics is crucial in developing sound business strategies and planning for future growth and expansions. This is 100% true for location analytics; and that’s why key players in nearly every industry are already taking advantage of the latest mapping technology to get it done.

When you have data pertaining to geographic location, you can plug these numbers into location mapping software from an excel spreadsheet. This allows us to see an easily digestible representation of complex, but very useful, data sets.

Leveraging geospatial data for business intelligence applications is quickly becoming a vital consideration in the world of big data. As I said before, many well-established companies are making location data work for them.

Common Examples of Location Analytics


The coffee empire Starbucks has 90 million transactions per week and operates 25,000 locations across the world. One way that this giant is staying on the cutting edge of data intelligence is through creative leveraging of its Starbucks Rewards program and its mobile app. 

These additions to their service gave them a huge access point to customer purchasing habits. By comparing and contrasting overlay mapping for holidays, special promotions and other criteria Stabucks uses location data to analyze what customers buy, when they buy it, and which locations they buy it from.

Most Starbucks Rewards program members authorize Starbucks to access their location anonymously when they’re using the app. Starbucks then uses a point-of-sale system that identifies customers through their smartphones, which they then use to record and use information about preferred purchases and buying patterns. 

With this technology, Starbucks can evaluate purchasing data and combine it with things such as the current weather or local preferences at a certain time of the day. They can also use the app to send offers and discounts that are directly targeted at a customer, such as birthday specials, tailored discounts, or even specific messages for those who haven’t visited a Starbucks in a while.

The bottom line is that Starbucks can see a lot of priceless information through their rewards program, which they pay for at the extremely low price of occasional deals and free coffee.


The primary uses of location data by Wendy’s is to determine optimal locations for new restaurants. By using location mapping tools to segment populations by specific demographics and contrasting this mapped out data to areas surrounding their restaurants, they predict and forecast viability for new locations. In this way, Wendy’s is making the informed decisions that many of the competing chains aren’t.

What About Smaller Businesses?

Virtually any business can capitalize on location mapping to inform understand the actions and desires of their customers. This information is invaluable in making decisions about branding, planning, performance management, store placement, and much more. 

All business happens somewhere, and adding the location element to your business intelligence strategies can bring you many important insights that you may not otherwise have. For example, you might find factors such as drive times and drive distance to predict customer behavior and plan strategic approaches in your marketing. 

Location Data: Your Newfound Key to Success

There are many tools available when figuring out how to approach location data applications. By using a tool such as Maptive for mapping radius circles around business locations, you can calculate distances between multiple points of business, competitor businesses, and also see proximity to densities of target demographics. This technology can show you complex location data in an elegant, streamlined, and easily understandable visual format. To make things even easier, ChartGo offers a similar experience to charting information. 

With mapping software, expressing location data has never been easier. With other useful tools, it’s just as easy to evaluate your data as it was to collect it. 

Geospatial data has had a profound impact on businesses and consumers alike. Whether you’re exploring mobile advertising, social media marketing, business planning, or performance evaluation, location intelligence is a valuable asset to consider implementing in your business strategies.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.