All You Need To Know About Location Data

You want to start using location analytics and intelligence to improve your business profitability but do not know where to start.

Worry not! On this page, you can learn everything about location data:

The sources of location data.

Common data fields found in location datasets.

How to analyse and use location data.

By understanding the various aspects of location data, you are better equiped to handle and leverage location analytics for your business.

Basics of Location Data


Location data are information about the geographic positions of devices (such as smartphones or tablets) or structures (such as buildings, attractions).

The geographic positions of location data are called Coordinates. They are commonly expressed in Latitude and Longitude format.
Additional attributes such as elevation or altitude may be included and helps data users get more accurate picture of the geographic positions of their data.







longitude thin


People commonly mean GPS data when they talk about location data. In reality, there are various types of location data.

It is important to know how the data is collected as it determines the accuracy and depth of the collected data. This have direct implications on the suitability and usability of the data for a business.

Location Data Sources


Software Development Kit (SDK)

SDK are codes that app developers put into their applications. These codes tells the app to collect location data from the device it is installed on. These codes requires express user permission to collect location information.

Data collected by SDKs have the potential to be very accurate and insightful. User's daily habits can be tracked which may uncover deeper insights for businesses.

However, the biggest challenge with SDK method is in achieving scale.



Bidstream data is data collected from the ad servers when ads are served on mobile apps and websites.

Bidstream data is one of the easiest type of location data to obtain and scale.

However, the quality of Bidstream data can be a mixed bag. In general, most bidstream location data is incomplete, inaccurate, or illegitimate.



Beacons are hardware transmitters that can sense other devices when they come into close proximity.

The location data collected by Beacons is very accurate. Beacons can also collect very detailed data such as name and birthdays, which can be very valuable to businesses.

Since Beacons are hardware, they have to be purchased and installed at locations businesses want to track. Therefore, as with SDK data, it can be challenging to achieve scale through this method.


Wi-fi enables devices to emit probes to look for access points. These probes can be measured to calculate the distance between the device and the access point.

The precision of Wi-fi location data is entirely dependent on the Wi-fi network it is built on. 

point of sale

Point of Sales

POS data is data that stems from consumer transactions. This data usually contains adjacent information such as purchase items, amount spent, and method of payment, which can provide valuable information to businesses.

Because POS data is decentralized, it would be difficult to match multiple data sources through this method.

POS data also only captures customers who have made an in-store purchase, and does not capture information on people who entered the store but did not buy anything.

Point of Interest

POI data refers to data points about specific locations that people might find useful or interesting.

POI data is typically used together with other types of location data to derive insights and better understand consumer traffic and behaviour.

point of interest



There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of location data. Businesses should consider various factors such as budget, accuracy requirements, and use cases when evaluating the source of their location data.
Businesses should also consider the ways different types of location data can compliment each other.

Location Data Attributes & Data Fields

Location data generally have some attributes or data fields in common such as latitude, longitude, and horizontal accuracy. Other data fields tend to be dependent on the source of the data. Below is a non-exhaustive list of attributes found in location data:


Latitude, Longitude, Horizontal Accuracy, Altitude & Elevation

latitude longitude

Latitude and Longitude shows the position of a device or structure. They are commonly accompanied by Horizontal Accuracy, which tells users the degree of error in a particular data point.

Altitude or Elevation pinpoints the height above a reference point. Usually sea level.


Mobile Ad ID

ad id

The Mobile Ad ID field is a unique identifier of smartphones.

Google's Ad ID version is known as the Google Advertiser Identification (GAID) while Apple's Ad ID version is called Identifier For Advertisers (IDFA).

Mobile Ad IDs helps to identify, track and differentiate between mobile devices. 




Timestamps are typically used for logging events alone or in a sequence. In the case of location data, they provide context to the movement of a particular device.


IP Address

IP address

Internet Protocol Address, or commonly known as IP Address, is an numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. IP Addresses can be used for host or network identification or location.

However, the location accuracy from IP Addresses varies depending on a variety of factors. One common occurrence when looking up an IP address's location is being directed to the network provider's location.

Depending on the business uses, IP address can provide a good rough measure of geographic location. But would not be recommended if accurate location data is required.


Download Location Data Use Case Factsheet

Location Data Use Case Transparent Background

Find Out How Businesses are Using Location Data


 Download Now

Location Analytics Methods & Techniques

Foot Traffic Analysis

Movement and Visitation Analysis

Identify trends in foot traffic to determine popular places of interest. One common method of visualising foot traffic is through heatmaps.

Using the insights gained, businesses could analyse the potential traffic and profitability of retail or advertising locations, estimate the peak days or timings.

Businesses could also perform movement traffic analysis to uncover audience behaviour and visitation pattern. These findings provides more depth when segmenting audience and customers.


Origin-Destination Study
(O-D Study)

Origin-Destination Study is used to understand the travel patterns of people. They are commonly used for transportation planning, however, their usefulness reaches beyond that.

Traditionally, O-D studies are performed manually through roadside surveys. The growth of GPS and tracking technology makes O-D studies less time consuming and delivers much more accurate results.

Origin destination



A geo-fence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area. They could be a radius around a single point, or a predefined set of boundary. Once a geo-fenced boundary is defined, the opportunities what businesses can do is limited by only their creativity. 


One common use of geo-fencing is for businesses to set up geo-fences around their competitors. And push marketing promotions to customers that enters the zone. Businesses could also provide Location Based Services within geo-fenced region.

Catchment Area Analysis

A catchment is an area from which businesses expects to draw their customers from. Catchment areas can help businesses identify where to run their next marketing campaign or set up their next store.

catchment area

For Good Results, You Need Good Location Data

Now that you know and understand location data, it is time to see what location data products Quadrant have on our platform.



Find Out More

Supporting Location Intelligence with High Quality Location Data