Analyzing population movement data is valuable for many industries, from retail to healthcare, transportation, and smart cities development. To achieve even better results and find correlations of population movement trends to others specific to each industry events, places, or projects, engineers should enrich location data with Points of Interest (POI) data.

POI is a specific point that someone may find useful or interesting. It might be a hotel, a restaurant, or a tourist attraction, as well as ordinary places like post offices, schools, grocery stores, or parking lots.

POIs are the base for most of the data supporting location-based applications. They are displayed on online maps and are provided to users of location-based mobile applications. POI data can support a range of applications, including digital mapping, upgraded routing products, and database validation. Governments, or enterprises, can leverage POI data to identify patterns and trends to make more targeted, data-driven decisions. Consumers or end-users can use POI data to locate a shopping place of their interest, find a store, an accommodation, the nearest bus stop, or emergency service.

POI data extraction

So, where the POI data can be extracted? One of the most common POI data sources is open-source databases that upload a huge amount of data every day. For example, OpenStreet Maps, Gisgraphy, and GeoJson are the most popular sources today. Also, digital maps for modern GPS devices normally include a basic selection of POIs for the area indicated by the map. The data is now easily accessible through an API, CSV, and SQL formats, which you can try for free.

Many providers have the flaw of delivering an inaccurate or inconsistent dataset. Therefore, it is always wise to actively, accurately, and consistently assess providers and regularly update data for reliable results. So, which elements should you consider when choosing a data extraction method or a provider to obtain high-quality POI data?

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Assessing Quality POI data

Essentially high-quality POI data are defined by freshness, coverage, ease of use, and consistency.

There is no doubt that our world is changing so rapidly every day. It became even more noticeable with the pandemic. Ensure that a chosen provider regularly updates data based on the constant changes of private and public entities, ongoing roadway and other urban projects, etc. The POI location data must be kept as up-to-date as possible.

Good coverage means that the data provider can offer wide, ideally, national or even global coverage, using both local and global providers. The more detailed the POI dataset, the better the experience offered to its users. Detailed POI dataset merged with people movement data can answer more business-related questions and provide unique, sometimes unexpected insights for better planning and forecasting.

Speaking of consistency, there must be a match between a location in the real world and its POI location data in the database. The observed trends and changes should be logically explained and confirmed.

Where to apply location analytics enriched with POI data?

Any industry can leverage location analytics with POI data differently. However, the most common application, which plays a central role for companies or government agencies, includes competitive mapping and population movement and density trends analytics.

For instance, in the telecoms industry, POI data can help determine where to build new infrastructure to expand the customer base, study competition, and understand user needs by geography.

In the retail world, the use of POI data can help answer questions such as: What is the market share of a business? How much is the spending capacity of people who live or work in a specific area? What is the demand for that service? Which are the nearby competitors? Where do customers go before and after visiting POI?

Knowing the answer to these questions enables businesses to make targeted decisions, such as whether and where to open a new store or close it for lack of profit.

The public sector can use POIs to achieve many goals. By mapping a given area, it is possible to analyze and understand if existing services or products are effective, which services (e.g., public transport, hospitals, other necessary facilities) need to be improved; or in which areas it required to be planned and built.

Photo by Youssef Abdelwahab / Unsplash

POI data are also used in the real estate, consulting, and financial sectors.

Location is a central element in the real estate sector. Think about it: isn’t it more useful to provide consumers who want to rent or buy a property- with as much information as possible about the area around that location? POI data can provide all those insights about nearby facilities, stores, schools, and other services. Its role has further grown with the pandemic: online platforms for customers are now used, not only to locate the nearest services but also to virtually visit the built infrastructure, comfortably from home. Together with the people movement and density insights, the real estate and construction companies are able to plan projects, simulate the impact of new buildings, and forecast return on investment.

The field of marketing and advertising has also been able to leverage POI data. With location-based advertisements and more targeted campaigns, businesses can deliver the most appropriate messages to customers, attract new ones, improve their strategy, and increase their revenues and brand value.

It is also extremely valuable to use POI data in the transportation and logistic industry. POI data enables one to analyze a specific location, simulate the impact of constructions on the road, new intersections or walk roads installation, understand new trends in population and fleet movement, and identify zones with higher risks or need for infrastructure improvement.

Besides, as e-commerce has grown its market share, delivery services have become crucial to provide all sorts of goods. So, to maintain profitability, provide reliable and secure services, and keep customers highly satisfied, transport and delivery companies need to get quality location and POI data. That means accurate and timely data.

What benefits does it bring? Among the many, we will highlight a few: more efficient routes planning, calculating distances and speeding up delivery or collection services; constant tracking of delivery vehicles, prediction of arrival times resulting in improved delivery planning. Gaining POI data also enables reducing errors, delays, or loss of goods (which damage the reputation or cause customer’s loss); minimizing last-mile costs with quick deliveries or by offering alternative pick-up points; mapping drop-off and pick-up points, that help to create a general but accurate picture of the served areas and plan additional future points, where required.

The benefits are numerous. Learn how Winnipeg city authorities used people movement data enriched by POI dataset to increase their transportation network’s efficiency.