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  • Writer's pictureArpit Shah

'Selecting the Right Location' for Businesses

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

My recent posts were focused on using satellite imagery to map information regarding environmental variables such as pollution levels, land surface temperature and subsidence. Radar remote sensing in general is abundantly useful when it comes to generating insights about the biggest environmental challenges we face on earth - be it on land, water or air. Also, it is a deeply technical field - to be able to extract accurate and meaningful information from earth observation imagery requires considerable intellectual expertise. I was only able to replicate the methodology, which scientists have developed after years of research, to my Region of Interest i.e. the area which I wanted to explore.

However, satellite generated data is not individually sufficient to solve many of the challenges or fulfill the objectives of commercial organisations. For example, it can't help an organisation to visualize its operations, spot bottlenecks, gain competitive advantage, reduce costs or earn more profits and so on. Fortunately, mapping is not restricted to analyzing remotely sensed data only; it can analyze any spatial data i.e. any data which has a location component to it, with equal ease.

A very basic example is a Physical Address - any address can be plotted on a map. More importantly, if any other information is linked to the address - eg. Census Data, Supplier Data, Competitor Data, Customer Data etc., it can be plotted on a map too. With modern mapping solutions, a map is not just a visual image, it is also a visual repository of information which can be analysed.

Let us consider a hypothetical situation - You are a mobile phone manufacturer who wants to shortlist a few locations in India to launch a phone specifically targeted for female customers. You have some macro constraints in mind - 1) the female population count in that location has to be considerable, 2) the population density in that location has to be above average, 3) the purchasing power needs to be above a certain threshold and 4) the expenditure on Electronics & IT products for that location needs to be above the national mean expenditure.

Figure 1: Output created using a location analytics tool - Esri's ArcGIS Business Analyst

As you would notice in the image above, with the latest mapping technology these constraints can be factored in and potential launch locations can be identified in a visually engaging manner. Keeping the constraints in mind, the map based solver has honed in on 9 potential locations in India. Moreover, the results are easily query-able i.e. you can tweak the constraints to be more conservative or aggressive as per your liking.

Now imagine that alongside these macro variables, which can be sourced from publicly available datasets, you were to add in your own company's supply chain capabilities and information. For example, you can add in your existing distribution network, competitor locations, supplier information and customer information. The output of the map based solver would be even more specific and relevant for you.

In another hypothetical example, I have mapped the existing branches (internal data) of a Canadian Bank in Toronto (located towards the northwest of the map below). It is considering to expand its branch network and open a branch across the border in the U.S. The bank has some macro constraints (external data) in mind - 1) population density, 2) average household size, 3) % of people having savings account and 4) median disposable income. Also, I have mapped its competitor information (internal data) - denoted in red circles.

Please note - bank branch location and branch head count information is publicly available in the U.S.

Figure 2: created using a location analytics tool - Esri's ArcGIS Business Analyst for an exercise in the Location Advantage MOOC

As you would observe, this output (shortlisted regions colored in blue located towards the south in the map) is more relevant as the internal branch network and external competition information is also mapped in addition to the the external macro variables. Alongside the map based output, several charts are also generated (not shown here) to further enhance your ability to interpret the data effectively so that you can arrive at a better decision. Isn't this useful?

Article Update: 01st March 2022

Below is a video prepared by Mapmyops Intern - Tanisha Jain - which demonstrates how mapping platforms are useful for suitability analysis i.e. shortlisting a location from operational constraints.

We use GIS (Geographic Information System) to site the location of a new hospital.


Basis my experience, when compared to spreadsheet based Network Design modelling, Map based Location Analytics is not only more convenient to operate but also the output is easier to understand, interpret and modify. Needless to say, the more quality data you can procure (internal and/or external), the better your chances to have a 'more relevant' solution for your organisation.


Intelloc Mapping Services | is engaged in selling products which capture geo-data (Drones), process geo-data (Geographic Information System) as well as services (PoI Datasets & Satellite Imagery). Together, these help organizations to benefit from Geo-Intelligence for purposes such as operations improvement, project management and digital enabled growth.

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