Location-Based Services — Data Storage
When you access any location-based service, ever wondered, where all the data come in from?
We know our mobile phone is continuously tracking us. A lot of people have raised concerns about their privacy being compromised but in my opinion, it’s a lost battle.
For example, if you access your map to go somewhere, the service first has to know where you currently are.
Today, in the United States there are over 300 million smartphone users. These smartphones could have apps that require locations services to be on (most do!). The amount of data generated is massive.
Let’s look at some of the use cases where these services are useful:
Maps, Navigation, real-time location (share my location feature), travel time estimate (ETA), Point of Interest (POI) catalog, the discovery of POI based on users’ location, allow users to create POI, upload media, comments, review to POI, & much more…
These features are used practically in all major industries, including but not limited to retail, logistics, health care, fitness, gaming, transport, Local search, business ratings and reviews, online food delivery, local homeowner services, engineering, construction, telco, financial services, etc.
Location-based services have picked up momentum, especially during the recent pandemic because some of the services help us:
- Ensures social distancing.
- Provide convenience
Today, there are Geocoding companies that provide their APIs to enable a lot of geo features onto the platform that is being built. Some of the major industry names are:
So simply if you decide to launch a product and provide geo-based features, all you need to do is approach some of these companies & get their API.
It’s always better to do this rather than building these features ground up because it turns out to be cheaper, enables you to faster go to market & features are updated as soon as they update their database.
Let’s go a level deeper.
Where do these Geocoding companies get their data from?
First, let’s understand what Geospatial data is?
Geospatial data is time-based data that is related to a specific location on the Earth’s surface. It can provide insights into relationships between variables and reveal patterns and trends. See how geospatial data protects wildlife and business.
There could be many types of data that could provide information such as census data, satellite imagery, weather data, cell phone data, architectural structures, social media data, and more.
Geospatial data is most useful when it can be discovered, shared, analyzed, and used in combination with traditional business data.
This is where Geocoding companies become intelligent and innovate for the kind of services that they wish to provide.
Geospatial data come with its own challenges like errors in data collection which will lead to erroneous insights, and the magnanimity of data like weather reports for a single day is around 100 TB.
Advantages of Geospatial Database:
- A geospatial database is optimized for storing and querying data that represents objects defined in a geometric space
- Provides manageability and security to analyze large, complex, heterogeneous spatial data.
- Geospatial database platforms provide specialized management, processing, and analysis engines required for complex geospatial data.
- The scalability and performance of such systems are two key factors for success, along with providing development and integration support.
- Provides standardized data as defined by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), which provides a unified framework and web services.
A geographical Information System (GIS) is a tool on top of a geospatial database to edit and maintain geospatial data. GIS support geospatial objects, which are organized in layers that can be overlaid both visually and logically.
More resources to learn about these databases: