By Jim Warner | Published August 5, 2013


EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT THE VALUE OF “LOCATION” or “geo-services,” but what does that really mean, specifically? It sounds reasonable, but can an actual value be determined and if it can, can that value be impacted positively or negatively by different strategies or business decisions?


Google commissioned Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Oxera to place a monetary figure on the geo-services economy. BCG estimated the U.S. geospatial industry generated $73 billion in revenues and 500,000 high-wage jobs. Oxera estimated that globally the geospatial industry contributes to $274 billion in revenues across the value chain of companies, governments, and individuals who utilize geo-services. For the purposes of the report, geo- services are defined as:

  • --Geo-expert industries, which refers to geospatial professionals who turn geospatial information into insights;
  •  --Geo-applications and devices, which refers to devices and software for creating, visualizing, sharing, and analyzing geographic information; and
  • --Location-based geo-data, which refers to the collection, management, and distribution of spatial information and imagery for the purpose of providing navigational aides and other location-finding services.


Not surprisingly these categories are all closely aligned with the types of products and services offered by Google. But more important than the size of the location or geo-services industry is the impact these services have on enterprises and consumers across the general economy. On this front, BCG found that geospatial services drove $1.6 trillion in revenues and $1.4 trillion in cost savings for organizations utilizing geospatial services. This is huge and to date, it is an area largely overlooked as an area of strategic focus for most businesses.


The Location Forum defines location data as the basis for location-based services and applications, which is a much broader definition than the spectrum of services identified by Google. Location data is any data with an implicit or explicit geographic or geospatial reference. This includes any data derived from GPS and mobile devices, geo-tagged or geo-referenced images, video, audio, and text documents, satellite and aerial imagery, maps and GIS systems, IP address location, location-based applications, and address information from public documents, surveys, or product registrations.


With this definition of location data, the vast majority of data an organization touches are location-based or have a location component, which means that every business process is location-based. Not everyone realizes that yet. Welcome to the world of Locationomics.


Locationomics is the use of location data about people, places, assets and situations by businesses and organizations to enable them to save time and money, operate more efficiently, better serve existing and future customers, and identify new product and service opportunities. Location data weaves through an organization, connecting and linking information from across the enterprise, thereby creating a multiplier effect of value.

Locationomics involves understanding location-based business processes, their costs and benefits, along with their risks and rewards in order to develop strategies that can leverage this information. The table below illustrates the business, technology, and user aspects of Locationomics.


The underlying principles of Locationomics have been around for a while but they have never had analytical rigor applied to them, or to their impact on business strategies. In this sense it is a new field with much to learn.


In this feature on Locationomics the focus is on the mobile aspects of Locationomics including:

  • --Mobile tracking infrastructure—discusses the role of a location engine in supporting new product and service development.
  •  --Location metrics—discusses how the ability to measure real- time activities in the physical world affects business decisions.
  •  --Customer Experience—discusses how indoor location improves customer experience to drive revenues.
  •  --Sales Productivity—discusses how a location-based enterprise mobile application augments the sales productivity tools of a medical device company.


Read on for the business, technology, and user Locationomics of location engines, analytics, and applications, and how they support operational efficiency, market research and advertising, and new product development.


For the print version see the Spring 2013 Digital Edition of LBx Journal.