We read an article this week that was highlighting Google Maps and several items behind the scenes. But one thing stood out to us as a key item that makes maps and GIS for that matter really go the extra mile. It’s called Creating Data from Data. While that doesn’t mean much to most people lets explore a bit.
Creating Data from Data means taking one existing dataset, lets say aerial photography, and inferring new data like building footprints or streets. While this may not seem overly impactfull it really is the core of what makes a GIS really useful. Coming from the perspective of data first, if you can enhance stand alone datasets with other data you multiply the usefulness of your overall platform.
Creating Data from Data
Lets take another example. If we have a customer list that identified their location and the store they typically shop at we can do some interesting things. We can plot the addresses and then color each location by what story they shop in. This creates a trade area or overall generalized shopping pattern. What if you looked at demographic variables for the new trade areas? Now you have an idea of who your customer is with variables like income, persons per HH or age ranges. Add parcel tax roll to the mix and you now have housing values.
One data source leveraged with other data just got you a much more complete data picture. Creating Data from Data is where the sweet spot is in GIS making your data more useful overall.
So the next time you think you don’t have much with that one or two datasets locked up in different areas. Just remember that by bringing them together in a map you can create things much greater than you thought.