Picture this: You're sitting in an Uber or Grab car, and you notice that the driver's screen shows more than just a standard map. It's filled with additional information like pick-up and drop-off points, traffic jams, and accident locations. These are known as thematic layers, and they play a crucial role in enhancing the operations of location-based businesses by overlaying them onto base maps.
What are Thematic Layers?
Thematic layers are specialized maps with a layer of information superimposed on base maps, which are essential for location-based businesses and services. The additional Point-of-Interest (POI) data layer is tailored to a firm's specific use cases and services. These businesses rely on base maps from popular providers such as Google, Apple, OSM, and Esri to create their specialized maps. However, base maps can vary significantly, leading to disparities when viewing the same geo-coordinates.
Understanding Base Map Discrepancies
We studied the mechanisms and technologies behind base map creation and the visual displacements that occur when control datasets are uploaded to different maps. Our goal was to help businesses understand how base maps can impact coordinate accuracy and adjust our offerings to accommodate their use cases.
Mapping Software Limitations
The quality of base maps is influenced by several factors, including the capabilities of mapping software and the reliability of satellite views. Mapping software is crucial for creating base maps from satellite images, as it identifies and recreates various features like buildings, roads, and natural landmarks. These systems analyze satellite image data using algorithms to detect patterns and shapes, ultimately generating a base map with vector data.
Our observations revealed significant visual inconsistencies when viewing geo-coordinates across different base maps. These disparities arise from the distinct satellite views and mapping software used in producing the maps. Businesses relying on location data must be aware of this phenomenon and choose data partners that offer highly accurate, use-case-specific POI information.
Balancing Visual Representation and Location Accuracy
As a data buyer, you need to weigh the importance of precise visual representation against accurate, use-case-specific location information. Understanding your priorities will enable you to source location data that aligns with your business needs. Professionals in industries like construction are aware of base map limitations and, therefore, deploy personnel in the field to obtain accurate building footprints.
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How Geolancer can help businesses tackle these challenges
Geolancer by Quadrant is a platform that provides ground truth, helping companies obtain the coordinates that best suit their specific use cases. By utilizing Geolancer, businesses can access highly accurate and customized POI information, enhancing operational efficiency and driving growth.
Geolancer offers a cost-effective alternative to deploying personnel or hiring managed services by collecting and verifying use-case-specific POI data manually. We validate the data with photos and rigorous in-house quality assurance processes, ensuring physical locations are accurately mapped and verified in-field. Our robust post-processing capabilities also deliver visually correct POI datasets, perfect for user interfaces.
Understanding the intricacies of thematic layers and base maps is vital for optimizing location-based business operations. By leveraging solutions like Quadrant's Geolancer platform, businesses can access highly accurate, use-case-specific POI data, ensuring their success in a competitive market.
Different maps can show varying results for identical geo-coordinates, posing a challenge for businesses to assess their POI dataset's quality.
Download the full eBook to understand the impact of visual disparities on commercial use cases.