POI Data: Best Practices and FAQs

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  • What is POI data?
  • Why is POI data Important?
  • Challenges of using POI data
  • What are best practices for evaluating POI data?
  • Where can I try POI data for free?
  • FAQs about Unacast and POI Data

What is POI data?

Point of interest data a.k.a. POI data provides insights on real places. Stores, restaurants, public parks, stadiums, civic centers and public museums are all POIs. POI data is helpful in aligning the behavior of real people who are shopping, or experiencing something. Geospatial data is generated by their mobile devices. POI data can be stored in a POI database, and/or plotted on a POI graph to visualize it.

From the way they search out goods and services to how they pay, the mobile is a constant presence in the real world experience. Certainly, a large number of people congregating in one place indicates commerce.

A location can also become a point of interest or POI location by experiencing an increase in population. For example, some counties on the edge of urban areas have experienced significant growth as a result of people leaving cities – the so-called urban exodus.

A location is also recognized as a POI when representing similar locations in a given area, industry, or category. McDonalds sets a benchmark for performance and provides a litmus test of general mobility. Other representational brands include Walmart, Home Depot, 7-Eleven, and Starbucks.

Such brands are very interested in point of interest or POI data as a tool for advising site selection for new stores in the physical world. Learn more about how to use retail POI data.

Why is POI data important?

why poi data

Researching points of interest provides advantages in a business landscape. This is especially true where foot traffic equates to sales and accurate data to insights. Location-based technology and POI datasets have great promises in developing markets. This has immense implications for global commerce and the future of business.

Assessing human mobility gives a business greater insight and more creativity. Why? The more you study how people move around your brand or a specific area, the easier it is to meet on common grounds.

Challenges of using POI data

It can be quite difficult to achieve apples to apples comparisons using POI data. Even to organize this array of data in a meaningful way is hard. Other challenges to making sense of POI data are:

  • Licensing issues with sources like Google Places API, which make using the data a challenge.
  • Software vendors often sell large banks of data that may yield inaccurate POI data
  • POI data may come from questionable sources, be outdated, or too disorganized to use.
  • Customization Is almost impossible to achieve without a third-party platform.

Because of these and other challenges, those who wish to use POI and geospatial data must find a platform.

What are best practices for evaluating POI data?

poi data

All POI data platforms are not all created equal. Nor are all created for the same user. Some only serve professional data scientists or data analysts. Whether you want to buy POI data or location data, find an API, or compare datasets, here are the criteria:

  • What is the policy related to data governance, ie, how do they ensure data quality?
  • What are the data assessment tools: are they easy to use and is there any customization possible?
  • Are all of the categories of retail location data you need available within this platform?
  • What are the delivery options in terms of frequency and format?
  • Does the stated accuracy of data match your use case? Very important for identifying new store locations.

Where can I try POI data for free?

Unacast Now is a data as a service (DaaS) platform that allows you to tap our own POI supply, or your own. With it, you can identity relevant foot traffic, plus trade area data, cross-visitation data, and migration patterns insights. It's a great solution for real estate, finance, retailers, and the public sector alike.

The possibilities listed above are not exhaustive. In fact, increasingly high-quality data and tools are unlocking new possibilities. Making strategic, proactive decisions is the number one way to dominate a specific location or a whole market. With Unacast, you can unlock that potential, and gain a trusted partner.

FAQs about Unacast and POI Data

How is your data collected?

Unacast gathers aggregated GPS data from smartphones and mobile apps, with opt-in consent. All of our data is privacy-compliant in the 80+ markets we serve. We then analyze and contextualize data for purposes of providing accurate location intelligence.

How often is the data refreshed?

To account for variance in data supply collection, data products are aggregated & built in two latency windows (4 days & 26 days).

How far back does the data go?

Currently, our datasets extend back to Q1 2019. In some instances we have data into 2018. We are continually abridging our models with complementary data sets, so rearview-looking timeframe may extend.

Do you supply POI or can we provide our own?

In some markets we can supply POIs, in others they can be generated from addresses or lat/lon coordinates. There is also the option to supply your own list of POIs, which we can process. This includes lat/lons, shapefiles/polygons, or physical addresses.

How is data transferred from Unacast?

Unacast delivers data to a bucket owned by our partners/clients (GCS, AWS S3, Azure, etc.). There’s also an option for Unacast to create and host a bucket that the client is granted access to. Data uploaded to such a bucket will expire after 30 days due to GDPR requirements.


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