Harnessing Location Intelligence with AWS Data Exchange and Foursquare
By Sekar Ramasubban, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Venkatesh Aravamudan, Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Nick Rabinowitz, Sr. Staff Engineer – Foursquare
By examining consumer behavior in a geographic context, businesses gain valuable insights into shopping patterns, purchasing behaviors, and other factors. These insights can help organizations better understand their customers and develop targeted strategies that align with their needs and preferences.
Location data is a powerful tool that provides real-time information and predictive analytics. By leveraging location intelligence, companies can make better decisions related to store design, staffing, capital investments, new product development, site selection, and more.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Foursquare are helping businesses usher in a new era of location intelligence, supplying companies with easy-to-work-with, high quality data through the AWS Data Exchange. We will showcase a hands-on technical workshop for geospatial analysts, data scientists, engineers, maps developers, market planners, and data officers to perform geospatial analysis using AWS and Foursquare.
Foursquare is an AWS Partner and AWS Marketplace Seller that is a pioneer of the geolocation space and offers the most trusted location technology. Foursquare powers leading business solutions that lead to smarter decisions and create more engaging customer experiences through a deep understanding of location.
Challenges with Location Data and Geospatial Analytics
According to a Forrester Research report, location data drives 75% of customer insights, but 40% of companies are constrained by a lack of skills, siloed data, and difficulty managing, cleaning, and transforming large location datasets.
Sourcing, ingesting, and storing location data is complex due to the dynamic and complex nature of its attributes. The data pipelines, imports, and data frequency associated with curating location data has been the biggest pain point for many businesses.
Some common challenges customers encounter with geospatial analysis are:
- Location data source classification varies according to local governments and countries.
- No standard unit of analysis makes it difficult to correlate a physical space to a mathematical space for analytics.
- Multiple data sources such as private, public, and satellite location data make it confusing to analyze.
Consuming Location Data
AWS Data Exchange is a data marketplace that allows customers to easily purchase and ingest data from providers like Foursquare. It is secure, compliant, integrated with native AWS services, and offers consolidated billing and subscription management.
AWS Data Exchange also offers various delivery methods for data such as files, tables, APIs, and AWS Lake Formation. Foursquare leverages AWS Data Exchange to deliver its location data via public and private offers to customers.
Foursquare Places data offers 120 million points of interest across 200+ countries and territories. Foursquare delivers 2.4 million updates per month, giving you datasets that are highly curated, accurate, near real-time, and ready-to-use for geo analytics by customers.
Analyzing Location Data
Foursquare shares its Places data using AWS Data Exchange for Amazon Redshift as one of the delivery methods. With this, you get instant access to Foursquare’s Places data into your Redshift tables for further processing and analysis. This gives you live access to the most up-to-date and consistent location data as it’s updated within Foursquare Redshift clusters.
Data scientists and geospatial engineers will find it easier to use Amazon Redshift than to download data onto a laptop and work locally. Amazon Redshift Spatial functions allow teams to compute area, distance, work with well-known geolocation data formats, and calculate geometric intersections such as polygons. They can write queries in SQL format to analyze the Foursquare data in your Redshift tables without having to worry about downloading, copying, and managing data on their own.
Visualizing Location Data
Foursquare Studio is a highly flexible platform designed to visualize and analyze large-scale geospatial data at the speed of business. Within Studio, users can visualize spatial patterns over time with the support of Hex Tiles, a proprietary next-generation tiling system that unifies diverse spatial datasets and supports analytics while visualizing and exploring big data on a planetary scale. Studio combines flexible and powerful analysis features with cutting-edge geospatial visualization, leveraging emerging standards including cloud-optimized GeoTIFFs and the H3 grid system.
Foursquare Studio has built a data connector with Amazon Redshift to let you perform queries against your Redshift location data tables directly from Studio. Customers can query, analyze, and join data in Redshift as soon as they subscribe–no file extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) required.
Technical Demonstration of Geospatial Analysis
We have created a technical workshop to demonstrate an approach to using geospatial data for market analysis. Here, we have used a Foursquare sample dataset hosted in AWS Data Exchange inside Foursquare Studio to perform a geospatial market analysis.
Figure 1 – High-level architecture of the workshop.
We encourage teams to take a look at our detailed technical workshop to get some hands-on experience performing geospatial analysis leveraging AWS Data Exchange, Amazon Redshift, and Foursquare Studio.
We have also conducted a webinar where you can hear experts from AWS Data Exchange and Foursquare share the key concepts and values of geospatial data analysis.
In addition to this, multiple AWS Data Exchange workshops are available to help you understand and learn how AWS services can be used in conjunction with third-party datasets to add insights to your data analytics projects.
In this post, we saw how AWS Data Exchange for Amazon Redshift, combined with the power of Foursquare’s data and tools, makes it easy for your business to consume, analyze, and visualize location data. We discussed the value and business benefits of location intelligence, and saw a technical demonstration of performing geospatial analytics using Foursquare’s dataset and visualization tools.
Foursquare is an AWS Travel and Hospitality Competency Partner that empowers businesses with cloud-based location technology to extract value from location intelligence. Its offerings enable an extensive and sophisticated understanding of location data using a high-accuracy dataset containing venue data. Foursquare’s applications work seamlessly with AWS Data Exchange, offering an accessible platform for fast, powerful geospatial exploration and analysis.
You can also learn more about Foursquare in AWS Marketplace.
Foursquare – AWS Partner Spotlight
Foursquare is an AWS Partner that’s a pioneer of the geolocation space and offers the most trusted location technology. Foursquare powers leading business solutions that lead to smarter decisions and create more engaging customer experiences through a deep understanding of location.