The insurance industry has long relied on location intelligence to assess and manage regional exposure to risk. But until recently, the geospatial analysis technologies available to help to extract this intelligence have been less than ideal. They’ve had high price tags, and their deployment, management, and use have required the help of dedicated data specialists. They’ve also taken a long time to process data.
Insurers and reinsurers alike are always on the lookout for tools that can provide them better predictive analysis and modeling of risk exposure, for example when faced with upcoming hurricanes, floods or other natural disasters. How will their policy portfolio be affected by a hurricane? Where should they dispatch local agents after a natural disaster? What level of reinsurance should they get when faced with new risk? All these decisions can make or break a company's bottom line as well as their customer service. Insurers use sophisticated modeling and forecasting tools to make decisions, but these tools are usually only accessible by trained analysts and getting reports takes hours if not days to receive.
Tom Link, Universal Mind CTO, presented the company's "state of the business" at a recent internal meeting. And of course, as SpatialKey's General Manager, he used SpatialKey to more visually highlight sales activities and trends, as well as answer employee questions on the fly.
We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words. Images from Tiananmen Square, September 11th, or the recent devastation in Haiti are universally understood and move people to action more than words ever could. Visualizing vs. reading about events is becoming more and more prevalent, with an increasing number of people receiving their information from the web or cell phone. In parallel with the upsurge in use of images and multimedia content to communicate information, the advent of Google Earth, online maps, or car and phone navigation tools has created an explosion in the use of visual maps in every day life. Instead of reading text, we are now provided maps to more easily see how to get from point A to point B, or where to find open homes in a specific neighborhood. For most of us, seeing is understanding and believing.
We've just launched new thematic mapping features in SpatialKey that let you create maps of your data by state, county, or zip code with a few simple mouse clicks. We think this is the easiest way to create thematic maps - ever. To show off these abilities I'll show an example of creating a thematic map of unemployment rate by US county. The end result will look like this:
Another dataset that the city of San Francisco makes publicly available is the Department of Building Inspection's monthly permit report. This report contains all the building permit activity within the city, from permits to add new condos to inspections of sprinkler systems. We took one full year of data, from September 2008 to August 2009, and brought it into SpatialKey. During the selected year-long time period there were over 25,000 permits issued. We can see the breakdown by the type of building on the right. Residential housing takes the top three spots (divided into Apartments, and one and two family homes).