Before answering how valuable Point of Interest (POI) data is, we need to take a step back for a brief overview: What is POI? How to collect POI data? What factors influence POI data quality?
A point of interest (POI) is a specific point that someone may find useful or interesting. The term “of interest” is not to be taken literally: it means of interest to a specific user in a given context. It might be a hotel, a restaurant, or a tourist attraction, as well as ordinary places like post offices, schools, grocery stores, or parks.
Points of interest are the basis for most of the data supporting location-based applications. POI data feeds most digital maps and navigation systems and can support various applications, including real estate, finance, and healthcare-related.
Anyone with a mobile device can be provided with a geo-located, time-aware POI service to get recommendations on the nearest places. Consumers or end-users, for instance, can use POI data to locate a shopping place, an accommodation, the nearest bus stop, or emergency service.
POI data generation methods
So, how is POI data generated? Some of the most common methods are data collection from open sources or social media platforms, which produced a massive amount of data every day
Many methods have the flaw of providing an inaccurate or inconsistent dataset. Therefore, through a team of experts, companies or government entities can actively, accurately, and consistently collect and update data for a reliable and efficient data flow. However, which elements should they consider when choosing a data method or a provider to obtain quality POI data?
Governments, or enterprises, can leverage POI data to identify patterns and trends and make more targeted data-driven decisions.
Quality POI data
Essentially high-quality POI data is defined by update frequency, coverage, ease of use, and consistency.
Our world is changing so rapidly every day. In order to provide users with the most up-to-date information, it is necessary to keep POI data constantly updated.
Good coverage means that the data provider can offer a wide variety of POIs, ideally on a national or even global scale, using both local and global providers. This way, users can rely on POI location data in an app to find the place they are looking for.
Speaking of consistency, there must be a match between the real world and the POI location data in the database. For example, to avoid a situation when, while searching for a specific place, users discover that an app made them go elsewhere or that the place has been closed for months. Thus, we need updated, accurate, and consistent POI data.
Application of POI data in different industries
Any industry can leverage POI data differently, although the most common application, which plays a central role for companies or government agencies, includes competitive mapping and site selection.
For instance, in the telecommunication industry, POI data can help determine where to build new infrastructure, expand the customer base, or quality of services. It can allow to study the competition and understand user needs by geography.
In the retail world, 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? Knowing the answer to these questions enables marketers to make targeted decisions, such as whether and where to open a new store or when to close one 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 need to be improved (e.g., public transport, hospitals, etc.), and where those services are missing.
POI data is also used in the real estate, consulting, and financial sectors.
Location is a key element in real estate. For example, providing consumers who want to rent or buy a property with useful information about the area around that location? POI data can provide all those insights about nearby facilities, stores, schools, etc. 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 visit places virtually from home.
Marketing and advertising companies are also leveraging POI data. With location-based advertisements and more targeted campaigns, businesses can improve their strategy, deliver the most appropriate message to customers, attract new ones, and increase their revenues and brand value.
The transportation and logistic industries are also using valuable POI data. POI data enables fleet movement tracking, route management, transportation infrastructure status assessment, and much more.
In addition, as e-commerce has grown, 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, postal and delivery companies need to get high-quality POI 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, minimizing last-mile cost 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.