Good location data is defined by accuracy and precision. However, how do we ensure our location data meets the requirements?
Location data is collected in latitude and longitude coordinates (lat/long). It is important for us to make sense of this lat/long coordinates numbers for effective measurement of any outdoor campaign executed.
Accuracy and precision can be used interchangeably but in the world of location data, these two carry different meanings.
Accuracy is used to measure how closed the measured location is to the actual location of the device. To measure location accuracy, we have to look at the signal type (GPS, wifi, cell tower) because accuracy varies to the type of signal of the devices.
The devices provide us with a reading of the location and an accuracy rating.
Precision, on the other hand, is used to measure how close two or more measurements are to each other. The more detailed associations that it is to the the dataset being measured, the more precise the data appears to be.
The table below helps to explain more on the precision when looking at lat/long dataset:
The data points need to be checked whether they are realistically within the same area or not. The number of decimal points in the lat/long is essential in measuring the precision of location data. The more the digits after the decimal point, the more precise the data appears to be.
Main issues encountered when collecting location data:
As the demand for location data keeps increasing, the lack of standards around how data is collected and used has increased the risk of data becoming compromised (intentionally or unintentionally) in the process of being obtained.
A common standardised measurement of location data needs to be employed, to avoid inaccurate interpretations and ensure clean and consistent data is achieved.
Lack of accuracy standards and market education
People are not well-educated in the market on how certain data should be pulled and the importance of including certain data elements.
The data in lat/long coordinates could come from a variety of sources as granular as, GPS, Wifi data, or can be as broad as IP/User Registration data. But, the interpretation of location data is affected by factors such as:
i. Freshness of data
Location data leveraged from other apps or the ones pulled in the past may not be valid and accurate for a very long time. Hence, we have to ensure the location data is kept-updated.
ii. Urban density
Location signals and precision of data can be skewed in dense urban environments (multi-story building).
Though challenges do exist, it is important for marketers to understand the value of data that is currently available. By applying the correct methodologies, it is possible to refine the data to improve its accuracy and precision.
All data used today is to inform media decisions, hence through the power of mobile and the ability to capture this powerful new location data, marketers can get closer to a real-time data set that can truly transform the way data is used.
To ensure more reliable insights, marketers need to leverage the accuracy of their location data used in campaigns. Regardless, we should know that location information does not guarantee any specific accuracy level. Additional data or verification methods are still needed to avoid misleading insight.
Moving Walls is an AdTech company with a presence across Southeast Asia, India, West Africa and the USA. We enable leading brands to Measure, Reach, and Influence consumers on the move.
We operate Moving Audiences, the region’s largest location intelligence platform that brings transparency and automation to out-of-home media via Planning, Buying, and Measurement tools.
Our US-patented multi-sensors approach in location data collection had enabled us to process more than 10 billion data points and measure more than 35,000 media sites across the globe.