What features really matter and how do the leading platforms stack up?
Choosing the right location intelligence software platform is critical to uncovering the right insights for your business. Beyond just the insights you need to find, your choice in location intelligence platform can drastically change how your business intelligence analysts and data scientists work — either creating a new data silo, or integrating smoothly with your existing systems.
But with so many seemingly similar options on the market, choosing a location intelligence software that works for your company can be daunting. The best approach is to examine the main features of any location intelligence platform, determine which ones are important to your business and find the one that best fits your needs.
Critical features for location intelligence software platforms
The most important feature of any location intelligence solution is the quality and sourcing of their data — their methodology should deliver quality, ethically sourced data and datasets. However, outside of the quality of any data source, there are several key features that location intelligence platforms can provide to work seamlessly with your operations.
An application programming interface (API) is a set of protocols and definitions designed to connect different systems. APIs are critical to integrating data from a location intelligence provider with your existing business intelligence systems and data structures.
It’s important to understand that not every API is the same. There are different standard protocols for APIs like SOAP, GraphQL, HTTP, and Rest, all of which will dictate how your developers use the API. The primary APIs in use for location intelligence software are REST and HTTP.
There are also different levels of complexity for APIs. Some are merely used to find and download datasets, others allow deeper integration, helping bridge your existing systems to your location intelligence platform more fully.
Visualizing is the heart of location intelligence. Ensuring your location intelligence solution provides the types of visualizations and customizations you need is crucial to finding the right provider.
Location intelligence platforms can vary wildly in the types of visualizations they provide. While some offer little to no visualization capability — essentially serving as little more than a location data warehouse — others provide deep visualization capabilities that leverage not only their proprietary location data, but incorporate your customer data as well.
Some location intelligence software providers focus on specific regions — like the United States or North America — others provide global datasets. Additionally some providers only include foot traffic, while others focus on vehicle traffic.
It’s also important to know how granular your location data provider is able to get with their data as the insights you glean from your location data will only be able to go as deep as they can provide you with quality data.
Knowing how you can pass and integrate data between your systems and a location intelligence platform is a defining feature in how you will use the platform.
Do their datasets pass seamlessly between systems via the API? Or does it require a manual download of a CSV? Are you able to connect your data so their system can analyze it alongside their location data and create custom insights for you? Do you have to upload your data manually or can it be programmatically integrated? These answers will drastically change how you use your chosen location intelligence software.
Similar to data integration features, many location intelligence platforms will provide ready-to-use integrations with common business intelligence or data platforms — helping you seamlessly add location intelligence to your existing systems. Others provide a complex API that allows you to build your own custom integrations. While others don’t readily connect to other systems.
Use of artificial intelligence or machine learning
While not technically an end-user feature, it’s important to note that many of the providers listed in this article use either artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) in processing and analyzing their data.
The Best Location Intelligence Platforms in 2023
Now that you have a better understanding of the features that are important in choosing a location intelligence software provider, let’s look at some of the leading location intelligence platforms and see how they stack up. We’ll start with our solution to level set and then provide the other providers in alphabetical order.
As an industry leading location intelligence provider, we provide deep datasets — from foot traffic to dynamic trade areas to migration patterns — as well as robust visualization capabilities and expert analysis. We also provide comprehensive data and systems integration tools to ensure our data and analyses work within your greater business intelligence workflow.
AirSage promises geospatial insights from raw data using a patented big data approach. It offers limited integrations but data is available as a CSV for input into other systems.
Atlas AI (Aperture)
Atlas AI’s Aperture product offers a limited API for making data queries and downloads and also offers manual uploading of your customer data to include in their proprietary analyses.
BlueFox provides a modern, cloud-based solution with a robust API that allows integration with third-party (3P) systems.
The CleverMaps platform allows data analysts to easily build and maintain large location intelligence projects and their API and integrations integrate with custom apps and enable building interactive maps.
A location intelligence company that promises enterprise-grade location analytics for multiple industries and use cases.
Habidatum provides location information to help identify opportunity, risk and resilience of locations for real estate investors, lenders and insurers. It offers limited integration and visualization capabilities.
Place IQ provides location data for the US only with no apparent integration capabilities.
A modern, API-driven location intelligence provider focused on location data from the United States.
Quadrant is a data-focused provider providing raw location data as a regular feed and offering custom integrations.
A digital and out-of-home ad and campaign focused location intelligence provider offering integrations with specific ad platforms.
A dashboard-based location intelligence solution that boasts massive independent datasets for retail and restaurant brands. They offer robust data analysis consulting and data visualizations on their dashboard, as well as manual downloads of their data. They also offer an SDK to collect customer location data, with their consent, via your mobile app.
SiteZeus is an AI/ML forward offering that allows you to upload your customer data for inclusion in their analytics but only offers limited integrations with partner offerings.
Tamoco leverages ML in cleaning and stabilizing their location data and delivers insights via their dashboard and downloadable reports. Their data integrates with Narrative.io or is available to download. Other integrations are based on partnerships they’ve established and there is no API for connecting to their data.
A data-centric tool designed with data scientists in mind. Their offerings provide datasets and limited analysis and reporting capabilities with little integration capabilities.
VenPath provides a location data marketplace for delivering reports and tools. Their focus is on delivering datasets and commissioned reports vs an integrated tool.
So which location intelligence platform is the best?
Honestly the right location intelligence software solution for your company will depend on the quality of a provider’s data and your need for specific functionality from their platform.
By prioritizing your feature needs and ensuring you’ve accurately planned on how you will use a location intelligence platform, you should be able to narrow your search considerably.