A point-of-interest, or POI is a specific point location, typically visualized with the aid of a map, that someone might find useful or interesting. In business terms it typically represents a retail chain’s spatial distribution. POI data is important for brands looking to gain a better understanding of how their networks look spatially and for use in network analysis.
POI data is typically created by map vendors who survey streets and records to create geo-locations that can be identified on their maps. The process of creating POI data has traditionally been expensive and labor intensive, but with new available digital tools, it’s becoming much easier to create this kind of data accurately.
Here are six steps generally used to generate specific brand POI in the business world.
Step 1 – Identify Brand targets
Brand targets could consist of sub-brands under a brand umbrella, individual product brands within your organization, or competitor brands in either category. You might be looking to create POI data for a variety of these types of brands, but identifying what your priority is, then creating a well organized list will help you save time when doing research. Creating brand POI isn’t limited to one type of “brand”.
Official brand websites are typically the best place to start brand research as they usually provide the most reliable, up-to-date information, and are fairly easy to access. This isn’t always the case of course, as some brands neglect to update their information on a regular basis. If this is the case, you’ll have to dig a bit further, but brand information is fairly easy to find online these days, and you may find you need to collect information from a variety of places.
Step 3 – Extract brand data
Once you’ve identified a collection of sites that appear to have reliable brand data, you’ll need to extract this data. In the case of creating POI data the very basic information will be things like brand name, address, hours of operation, telephone numbers, email addresses, channel types, ect. This information is can be as extensive as you choose, and may require certain variations depending on what type of brand POI you are creating, and how you intend to use it later. At this stage, extracting as much information as possible is really the goal. A tool like Evernote could be tremendously useful at keeping all the information loosely organized.
Step 4 – Clean the data ( organize it )
“Cleaning data” is just another way of saying “organizing data”. After going through the extraction process, all the data you mined from various websites needs to be put together in a “clean” structured format before adding it to a database or mapping it. Using tools like Excel or google Spreadsheet can make this process much easier and will prepare the data to be imported into any mapping tools you might be using.
Step 5 – Map the POI
Go onto google maps, or any other online mapping service you use and find the geographical location of your specific brand POI. Once you do the map will give you the specific geographical coordinates, or XY values of the location which you can then add to your newly created data-set.
Step 6 – Generate a database
Now that you’ve collected all the data, sorted it, cleaned it, and found it’s geo-location, you’re ready to generate a database for you’re newly created POI data. This is typically done with specific GIS software such as ESRI, Autodesk, Mapinfo or others.