Which Type of Question Does Geospatial Technology Help Geographers to Answer?

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

The key questions that geospatial technology helps geographers to answer seek responses to geographic inquiries (e.g., “What is it like?” and “With what is it associated?”). These queries help us organize spatial understandings.

For the average person, a good example of this is a GPS navigation system helping a driver find their way. But the use of this technology goes far beyond that. It’s used in ride-hailing applications like Uber and Lyft, location metadata on social media, and other uses.

Many businesses utilize the use of geospatial intelligence to improve business processes and outcomes. These technologies enable companies to keep track of inventory and shipments, increase sales and market intelligence, empower broader use of customer data, display environmental information, and much more.

In addition, geospatial technology allows for the analysis of spatial patterns within big data. These analytics often reveal unforeseen opportunities or risks that could be missed if these data were only available in spreadsheets.

The ability to visualize data using geospatial tools enables people to make better decisions and to be more proactive. For example, during a cholera outbreak in Paris in 1832, French cartographer Charles Picquet created one of the first heat maps that showed how cholera deaths were concentrated around specific water sources. His work inspired physician John Snow to build on this concept in his own work demonstrating the relationship between contaminated water supplies and cholera cases in London. This was just the start of what has become geospatial analysis.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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