Most measurements and data can be associated with locations, and, consequently, placed on a map. With spatial data, you know what is present and where it is.
In this guide, we are going to help you get a better understanding of spatial data analytics and the best platforms for this.
Understanding spatial data analysis
You can either store this as raster data or feature data. Feature data is when you represent the real world as discrete data, storing it in an exact geographic location. Raster data is continuous data that is represented by regular grids.
Naturally, what you are analyzing will dictate how to represent it effectively. Raster grids tend to be used for the natural environment, i.e. precipitation, temperature, and elevation. Vector data tends to be used for administrative data, such as census areas and countries, and the built environment, i.e. buildings and roads.
Not only will spatial data include attribute and locational information, but it inherently contains topological and geometric properties.
Topological properties represent spatial relationships, such as adjacency, inclusion, and connectivity. Geometric properties include measurements and positions, such as volume, area, direction, and length.
With these spatial properties, you can gain deeper insights by asking even more questions about your data.
What are the benefits of spatial analysis?
Spatial analytics enable you to get to the bottom of complicated location-oriented issues. You will have a better comprehension of where and what is happening in your world.
A lot of people assume that spatial analysis is simply a form of mapping that enables you to study different places, their characteristics, and the relationships between them. However, it is so much more than this.
With an effective spatial data analytics tool, you will benefit from an entirely new perspective of your decision-making.
What is the best platform for spatial analytics?
There are lots of great solutions on the market today. If you want software that enables you to carry out spatial awareness efficiently and effectively, we have some great tools for you to make the most of. So, let’s take a look.
There really is only one place to begin when it comes to spatial analytics tools, and this is with Carto. This spatial data analysis platform has everything you could possibly need to carry out analytics effectively.
One thing that Carto appreciates is that time is of the essence in the world of business. Because of this, they have worked hard to refine the process and make it as easy as possible.
You can connect your spatial data in a seamless manner. Easily integrate it with leading cloud analytics tools. This includes the likes of Databricks, Amazon Redshift, Snowflake, and Google BigQuery,
Not only does Carto pride itself on being easy and quick to use, but they have sped up the process considerably. It does not matter whether you are a data scientist that creates spatial models driven by machine-learning or you are starting in location analytics, machine learning can help!
Carto also gives you the ability to access over 11,000 geospatial datasets. This is via their highly beneficial Data Observatory. This ensures it is simple for your enterprise business to access thousands of premium and public datasets that are “always on.” You can also use data to enhance your spatial analysis, such as credit card transactions, human mobility, POIs, and demographics.
Finally, we also have to give a special shout-out to the location intelligence apps that you can build on Carto. Creating pretty maps may be nice, but visualization should be more than this. It needs to answer pressing questions that your business has.
2. GIS Cloud
While Carto is certainly our number one pick in the world of spatial data analytics platforms, we have also tested a number of other options, and GIS Cloud certainly ranks highly.
GIS Cloud offers collaborative, reap-time mapping, which the entire organization can get onboard with.
You will not be able to manage standard data visualizations if you go for this option. Nevertheless, you can upload or collect your own data and then visualize it in a number of formats with a high level of detail and multiple layers.
If you want to share your findings with your team, this is a breeze. After all, GIS Cloud appreciates the value of needing to work together on spatial analytics.
If you are yet to stumble across the best spatial awareness platform for you, you may want to consider this option from Rawgraphs.
We must point out that this is not a solution for beginners. In fact, the company themselves states that it has been designed for “vis geeks” and designers. So, you will need to have prior knowledge and be working extensively in the field.
This is because a lot of the templates available for use are quite more advanced when compared with the templates you will get on other solutions. You can expect a lot more than standard bar graphs and pie charts. Instad, the chart and graph templates are different from the norm, enabling you to present your information in the best possible manner so that your audience can digest it successfully.
RAWGraphs also makes it possible for you to export visualizations as raster (PNG) images or vector (SVG) images.
With a name such as ‘Flourish,’ you would be forgiven for expecting big things from this software provider. Luckily, they most certainly deliver!
Flourish is a tool that gives you the ability to either paste data from Excel or upload your spreadsheet from Excel. No matter how you decide to upload your data, you can then put it into interactive stories, maps, and charts.
One of the best things about Flourish is just how easy it is to use. Unlike one or two of the suggestions that we have mentioned above, if you are new to the field of spatial awareness, Flourish is definitely a good tool to use to get to grips with everything. This is especially the case when you consider that you do not need to know any coding. Plus, the template library is very flexible and another great touch.
Once your visualization is complete, you have the option of either downloading the RAW files or you can embed the code onto your website if you wish to.
Plotly is another tool that we simply have to give a mention to. You can use this solution to generate interactive d3 charts for your site.
When creating interactive tools, this is definitely a simple yet highly effective and impressive option.
You will be able to import data, edit it, and copy and paste into tables so you can create your own charts. The interface is very similar to Excel from Microsoft, so we are sure you will not run into any trouble if you decide that Plotly is the best software for you.
There are a number of other options available to you before you decide to publish. You can also choose from various chart styles.
Making the decision that is right for you
There is clearly a varied selection of different spatial data analytics tools on the market today. While this can be overwhelming, it is vital to narrow down your search effectively. After all, you do not want to overspend on features you do not need. At the same time, you want to make sure that you are getting a great deal.
This is why you really need to understand what sort of features the tool provides. The best companies will either offer a free trial, so you can try before you buy, or they will provide you with a demo so you can watch the tool in action. Both are highly beneficial because you get a real feel of what you are going to get for your money and whether or not the tool in question is right for you.
It is also a good idea to spend some time reading reviews that have been left by others. You can get an understanding of whether or not they have been happy with the tool and what can be done to enhance the experience.
Choose the spatial data analytics platform that best aligns with your goals
As you can see, there are some great spatial data analytics tools on the market today. When choosing the right solution for your business, there is no right or wrong. It is all about considering your needs and what you are going to be using the solution for, and you can then choose one that best aligns with this.
One thing is for sure; if you opt for one of the tools we have mentioned above, you won’t be disappointed.
Kerry Leigh Harrison has over 11+ years of experience as a content writer. She graduated from university with a First Class Hons Degree in Multimedia Journalism. In her spare time, she enjoys attending sports and music events.