Five Benefits Of Using Spatial Analysis

Have you ever taken a look at a crime map of the city you live in and wondered what areas have the highest rates of crime? Have you looked at a map, analyzing parks, school locations and other demographics to figure out where you might like to buy a new house?

If you’ve poured over a map in this fashion, you’ve used what’s known as spatial analysis. Maps give us plenty of information to process and by processing and analyzing that information, we are using spatial analysis.

There are plenty of benefits to using spatial analysis, not the least of which is using it to solve difficult location-oriented problems and study the characteristics of a place by going beyond the location and studying trends and relationships.

When it comes to the real world, spatial analysis provides plenty of other benefits:

  • Determining Relationships: Using 3D spot analysis, spatial analysis can allow you to plot and examine 20 years of storm cell data across the United States. Using 3D mapping, you can see two decades of change in storm activity, allowing you to determine where the storms are occurring and factor in other elements such as temperature and weather patterns.
  • Understanding and Describing Locations and Events: Data compiled from various agencies can help understand things such as weather patterns and changes in population density. For example, drought maps of the southern United States can show when, where and how frequently droughts are occurring and that information can be used to show the drought’s effects on the populations of those areas.
  • Detecting and Quantifying Patterns: Spatial analysis allows for the tracking of things such as traffic accidents, including how frequently they occur and in what areas. Plotting that data on a map allows you to see what the hot spots are for crashes or accidents and which spots are relatively free of incidents. Using a space-time trend analysis can help city officials and law enforcement determine what can be done to fix issues in areas with high accident rates.
  • Predicting Things: Analyzing statistics can help identify patterns in events that can otherwise seem random and unconnected. For example, analyzing a crime map along with crime statistics can help law enforcement officials determine what the most common crimes committed are and where they are occurring in a particular city.
  • Finding The Best Paths and Locations: Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis can also be used to explore trends. For example, GIS analysis can be used to explore how public transit systems in large cities are serving citizens of that city and the surrounding suburbs.

With so much information on hand, spatial analysis is very beneficial for asking questions and then seeking those answers with analysis. It can be used to find helpful information and can also be used to make important, informed decisions. From everyday businesses, to utility companies to colleges and universities to government agencies, spatial analysis is very widely used.

The use of global positioning systems (GPS) has allowed many people to use geospatial data and geospatial technology and put it to good use. In fact, the geospatial industry, which includes geospatial mapping, generated $73 billion in revenue in 2011 and helped generate $1.6 trillion in revenue for the rest of the U.S. economy. A recent report by MarketsandMarkets estimates the geospatial analytics market will grow from $27.42 billion in 2015 to $72.21 billion in 2020; a 2.25 percent compound annual growth rate.

From crime studies, to drought analysis, to green infrastructure to land-use planning to automatic data interpretation, there are many uses for spatial analysis and it’s importance doesn’t look to be fading anytime soon. Between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates steady growth in job that require familiarity with GIS and location intelligence, including geographers (29 percent), cartographers and photogrammetrists (20 percent) and surveying and mapping technicians (14 percent).

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