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IT companies yet to tap power of mapping tech: Google

London, UK: “Nearly three-fourths of IT decision makers are failing to make effective use of mapping technology in their businesses. Companies are not tapping the potential of location-based services,” observed Sanjay Patel, head of enterprise GEO at Google. In an interview to Techworld, Patel said, “IT decision makers should start thinking about using location-based business intelligence in order to process and analyse ‘Big Data’.”

“I can’t stress enough that mapping in business intelligence is a huge market, not just from a Google standpoint but also from a business perspective,” added Patel. “We have a saying in the geography world, which is that ‘data is king’. If you can’t put data onto a map and understand it, then you’re in the wrong line of business.”

Patel explained that adding geographical context to ‘Big Data’ can help organisations visualise their data, in order to get a better grasp of internal operations and customer behaviours. For example, the transport and logistics industry is pioneering the use of mapping technology, using GPS to track the routes that drivers take, as well as metrics like speed and traffic, in order to accurately schedule deliveries and economise on fuel.

Meanwhile, some retail chains are starting to use mapping technology to monitor the effectiveness of marketing campaigns in different areas of the country, or manage stock based on customer demand, observed Patel. Supermarkets like Tesco are even using indoor mapping and location technologies to track the routes that shoppers take around stores and place products accordingly.

However, there is also value in opening that data up to the end user, added Sanjay. For example, Google Earth Builder allows organisations to create maps using their own data over a private cloud platform, and then share those maps securely with other organisations or business partners.

“What we did was cut a sliver out of our platform and offer it as a secure platform for end users to upload their own mapping data,” explained Patel. “They don’t have to worry about machines, processing, bandwidth, maintenance and all that kind of stuff. They can put their data on this mapping platform and deliver it out to their own users with all the security protocols that they want.”

Patel further explained that by providing real-time data to the end user in map form, and allowing that end user to contribute their own data, organisations can instantly build up a more comprehensive picture of the situation in hand, enabling them to act more quickly and effectively.

“It’s all about learning and information and making people understand that the traditional way of using maps is long gone,” he said. “It’s not about just getting from A to B, it is completely utilising the business environment.”

Source: IT World