How geo-spatial data is being harnessed to solve modern problems

Businesses, governments and individuals around the world are waking up to the many solutions that geo-spatial data can offer. Driven by technology and the growth of mobile and digital media, it is being incorporated into new products and solutions, from better planning city growth and infrastructure to offering more personalised advertising.

Starcount’s Client Director, James Miller, works in harnessing the power of geo-spatial data and highlights the importance of understanding this innovative data set:

“Our mobile and connected society is generating a constant and massive flow of location-based data. There are numerous examples of big location data sets, which are now being used to drive major decisions, from sources as diverse as mobile phones, financial transactions, and IoT hardware.”

“Harnessing location data proliferation offers organisations the opportunity to develop new solutions and inform new kinds of decisions, for both economic and societal benefit.”

Miller sees huge opportunities for marketers who embrace the ability of the technology to bring different data sets together to offer richer customer experiences and for decision makers to make more informed planning decisions.

Marketers are testing innovative approaches to campaigns, using a better understanding of dynamic consumer interests and their proximity to advertising locations, to serve location-dependent communications in real-time. The power of location is becoming ever clearer in our world of ‘big data.’ It’s the unifier, the point of connection which allows us to bring order to other data sets and reveal powerful relationships between seemingly disconnected sources. After all, everything happens somewhere.

Here are three forward-thinking examples of how geo-spatial is being used today:

1. Creating more efficient targeting

Geo-spatial taxi tops

Advertising on taxis is a well-established medium. New Yorkers will be used to being flashed by adverts shooting across the familiar triangular boards. What is different today, is having those adverts change based on the neighbourhood a taxi is driving through. Taxis in New York are testing this pioneering new feature, utilising geo-spatial data to relay what neighborhood a taxi is driving through and then triggering the advert best suited to the relevant community. Of course, many neighbourhoods are a very mixed bag and the targeting will still be fairly basic. Yet the concept paves the way for even more personalised communication to be incorporated into what is usually seen as a very traditional method of advertising.

2. Enhancing geographic planning


What if global location mapping could be simplified down to a 3 by 3 meter square box, located using a simple code? The geocoding company has done just that. What3words has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique 3 word address. The spot I’m sitting in right now? Sleep.copy.rinse. How about the other side of the office? Bags.goats.alert. And every part of the planet is covered. It means that anyone can find a location easily and share it faster with less confusion than anything else ever tried before. The limits for utilisation are endless: from being able to find your Uber driver faster to delivering humanitarian aid to the correct location.

3. Building the infrastructure of the future

UK Autonomous vehicle infrastructure

The rise of autonomous vehicles is a trend that is only going to rise. The Government has launched an initiative to build a UK connected and autonomous (CAVs) infrastructure network, enabling driverless cars to navigate reliably and safely through a vast system of busy streets. A consortium of organisations, including Ordnance Survey, have teamed up to build this infrastructure, utilising 5G networks and radio waves to map out cities and then combining this with OS geo-spatial data to decide where to place sensors, ultimately feeding information towards the vehicles, to avoid any obstruction or risk of failure. This is an example of geo-spatial data being incorporated into a national strategy, aimed at preparing for a futuristic world.

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