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Value of Spatial Dimension in Field Data Collection

June 1, 2018

In the last few posts, we’ve talked about the benefits of collecting and analyzing field data. Information gathered from the field gives businesses and other organizations a unique advantage, providing the basis for more informed decision making and allowing them to better allocate resources.

And when you enrich that information with even more relevant data — by using visualization tools to make it more digestible — you increase those benefits.

In this post we want to talk about how adding a spatial dimension to data collected in the field makes that data even more valuable.

The Benefits of Data Visualization

You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Data visualization presents complex data in a graphical format, which makes it easier to understand correlations and distinguish patterns and trends.

The concept of data visualization has been around for centuries, from early maps to pie charts, which were conceived in the early 1600s. (We could go back even further, actually, and say there were pictures even before there were words!) But advancements in technology have made it possible to process incredible amounts of data faster than ever.

In the early days of data visualization, the best tool available to businesses was Excel, which enabled them to put information into a spreadsheet and create a simple chart or graph. Today, there are countless data visualization tools for accomplishing what is now a crucial task across many industries.

Data visualization allows companies to:

  • Process large amounts of information, and act on it
  • Recognize correlations, patterns, and trends
  • Identify outliers that need attention — or can be ignored
  • Share insights quickly and easily

Our favorite method of visualizing data is mapping (of course)!

Adding the Spatial Component


For years, data analysis has focused on the “what” and “why” of data, but the spatial component adds even more context by introducing the “where.”

Once confined to the military, intelligence agencies, and maritime and aeronautical organizations, geospatial data is now available to institutions around the world thanks to widely available geographic information system (GIS) software.

Learn how to get started working with geospatial data!

GIS gives analysts the ability to use location data and spatial relationships to create maps, graphs, and charts, connecting the data to the “real world” and providing incredible value to an organization in any industry.

Here are some examples.

Retail: If a product sells more frequently in certain locations, spatially tagged sales data tells management to stock more of that item in those stores to maximize sales and reduce wasted shelf space.

Transportation: Mapping routes using data about blocked roads or weather conditions can save gallons of fuel and hours of staff time, adding up to substantial cost savings.

Public health: Teams in Africa use geospatial technology to locate disease-carrying mosquitoes and provide vaccinations and treatment for malaria and West Nile virus.

Disaster relief: After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, volunteers used geospatial data to locate shelters and other resources and conduct damage assessments.

That’s barely scratching the surface. Fulcrum has users in hundreds of industries, including agriculture, engineering, energy, environmental, and construction, who are using geospatial data to improve their business processes.

Want to learn more? Check out our Guide to Field Data Collection!

Fulcrum is a data collection platform that enables businesses to reduce costs, access critical data in real time, and improve decision making at every level. With Fulcrum, you can create custom apps using our simple drag-and-drop builder, or turn your paper documents into digital forms that your field teams can quickly complete on mobile devices.