Location intelligence glossary

We’re here to help you speak the language of location. Learn more about the terms frequently used in the world of geospatial data and location technology.

Above the fold

Above the fold refers to the top area of a web page that is first visible in an Internet browser before having to scroll down the page. Typically, the content above the fold is seen as a priority to communicate with users as it is the first section of a page that is seen.

Active check in

Active check-in refers to a user checking-in to a place on an app, like Swarm. Via the app, a user can confirm their check-in with a “I am here” to help validate the visit data.

Ad frequency

Ad frequency is the number of times a particular ad is seen by a user within a given timeframe. For example, an ad appeared to a user 10 times in 24 hours.

Ad impression

Ad impression is when an online ad has been sourced or fetched, and is therefore countable. An impression count does not take into account if the ad was viewable or seen by a user.

Ad inventory

Ad inventory refers to an online publisher’s total amount of space available for online ads. Publishers can sell inventory to advertisers directly or through other channels like an ad exchange.

Ad network

An ad network is an intermediary company that connects publishers and advertisers. One of the functions of an ad network is to match ad supply from publishers with an advertiser.

Ad reach

Ad reach refers to the total number of unique people that saw an ad at least once in a given period and or location. This is often used to get an estimate of how many people an ad can reach.

Ad search

Ad server is software focused on delivering ads to the end user’s device where the ad is displayed. This can be on websites or applications.

Ad server

Ad Server is software focused on delivering ads to the end user’s device where the ad is displayed. This can be on websites or applications.

Ad tag

Ad tag refers to web browser HTML code used to retrieve an ad from an ad server. Ad tags often allow advertisers to make adjustments on the ad or view reporting.

IP address

An internet protocol (IP) address is a numerical label assigned to a device connected to a network that uses the internet. IP addresses indicate location and network interface identification.

Beacon advertising

Beacon advertising sends a signal via a beacon transmitter to mobile devices to help marketers target users based on location.

Beacon technology

A beacon is a small wireless transmitter that transmits data via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless signals, up to 50 meters, to nearby smart devices, making location-based searching and interaction easier and more accurate.

Behavioral analytics

Behavioral analytics focuses on analyzing the digital and real-world behavior of consumers. Marketers use behavioral analytics to turn raw data into strategic and actionable insights to better understand consumers.

Cell tower triangulation

Cell tower triangulation is the process where multiple cell towers are used to track a phone’s location by measuring the delay of a signal from tower to phone.

City centroid

A city centroid is the geographic center of a city, often stated in latitude and longitude. City centroids are typically used when exact location data is not available.

Click-through rate (CTR)

A click-through rate is the measurement of the number of clicks an ad receives per number of impressions.

Cluster-outlier analysis

A cluster-outlier analysis is used to discover hot spots, cold spots, and spatial outliers in data. The technique applies Anselin’s Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA), specifically the local Moran statistic, to identify clusters of values or find geographical outliers

Data enrichment

Data enrichment is the process of enhancing, refining, and improving raw data, often by joining or unifying datasets.


deck.gl is a framework focused on high-performance, WebGL-based visualization of large datasets on the web. Foursquare Studio is based on this open-source technology.

Demand side platform (DSP)

A demand side platform is a software system that enables users with an automated method of purchasing ads via multiple ad exchanges through one interface. DSPs are used to buy display, video, and mobile ads.

Designated market area (DMA)

DMA regions are the geographic areas in the US in which local television viewing is measured. A DMA is a region where the population can receive the same (or similar) television and radio station offerings, and may also include other types of media such as newspapers and internet content. They can coincide or overlap with one or more metropolitan areas, though rural regions with few significant population centers can also be designated as markets.

Dynamic creative

Dynamic creative are ads that adjust to the environment, location, user behavior, and other factors where it is intended to be served. The ad request in dynamic creative is sent to the server based on the customer and their behavior.

Dynamic distance overlay (DDO)

Dynamic distance overlay is text that appears over an ad to tell the user how far they are from the nearest business location. DDOs are used to spur users to visit stores and ultimately make a purchase.

Effective cost per visit (ECPV)

Effective cost per visit is an advertising formula calculated by dividing the total store revenue by the number of visitors in a certain period.

Engagement metrics

Engagement rate is the measurement of the interactions on an ad divided by the number of impressions of the ad, frequently used in social media marketing.

Engagement Rate

Engagement Rate is the measurement of the interactions on an ad divided by the number of impressions of the ad. Engagement Rate is frequently used in social media marketing.

Explicit check-in

Explicit check-in (see active check-in) is when users in an app actively confirm their location check-in.

Feedback loop

A feedback loop, also known as a customer feedback loop, is a marketing tactic where marketers use customer feedback on a product or service to improve future customer outcomes.

Firmographic data

Firmographic data is used to categorize a company. This data can help categorize an organization by geographic area, type of industry, technologies deployed, customer base, and more.

First-party location data

First-party location data is collected directly by a company from their audience, which can include site visits, ad clicks, viewing history, and social media followers.

Frequency capping

Frequency capping refers to setting a limit to the number of times an ad is shown to a visitor, and is primarily used to prevent an ad being overexposed to a visitor.

Geo-aware ad targeting

Geo-aware ad targeting is an advertising strategy that uses mobile device location data to improve ad targeting. Marketers use this method to tap into geographic information to help define and target their audience.


Geo-conquesting is the use of location data from mobile devices to target consumers within an established perimeter around a competitor’s business locations.


A geofence is a virtual boundary around a geographic area often used to establish the area where a geo-aware ad targeting strategy can be deployed.

Geofencing marketing

Geofencing marketing is a marketing method that uses location-based advertising to target mobile devices. Geofencing marketing works when mobile users have enabled location-based services on their devices and are located within a geofenced territory.

Geofencing radius

A geofencing radius is a geofence established as a pre-set geographic distance around a single location.


Geofencing is the process of using geographic location data from mobile devices to set a perimeter around a defined area. Marketers use geofencing to trigger mobile ads to display when the mobile device enters this determined location.

Geospatial data

Geospatial data is data that is indicated by or related to a geographic location, including longitude/latitude, polygons, zip codes, census tracts, etc.


Geotargeting is an advertising solution that targets content to users based on their geographic location at the time of ad exposure. This technology can use geofencing data to deliver appropriate advertisements or content relevant to consumers on mobile devices.

Global positioning system (GPS)

A GPS is a satellite-based technology that uses detailed latitude and longitude information to identify user locations in relation to fixed locations and geography.


A graphics processing unit, or GPU, is a type of computing technology that is used to accelarate graphics and video rendering.

Graph technology

Graph technology captures data relationships to model complex, real-world dynamics using nodes to store data entities and edges to store relationships between entities.

Ground truth

Ground Truth refers to real-world or hard information used to validate the efficacy of an algorithm or other data-driven service.


H3 is a hexagonal grid-based geospatial indexing system that allows for the joining of disparate geospatial datasets for analysis. Foursquare Studio is built on this open source technology.


A hexbin is a way of grouping two sets of numeric values into groups of similar values for purposes of visualization.

In-store traffic lift

In-store traffic lift is a metric that measures the success of an advertising campaign in increasing the number of in-store visits. For example, if a marketing campaign increased in-store visits by 20%, the in-store traffic lift would also be 20%.

In-store visitation rate (IVR)

The in-store visitation rate is like in-store traffic lift, calculating a marketing campaign’s ability to motivate users to visitor to a store. However, calculations can vary. Some in-store visitation rate formulas count total visitors to a business location while others only count first-time store visits.

Indoor positioning system (IPS)

An indoor positioning system uses beacons and other indoor technology to track small movements of users within a building. As an example, an IPS can track the dwell time of individuals within certain shopping aisles or in front of product displays.


kepler.gl is a web application for geospatial analysis and fast, client-side exploration of large-scale datasets. kepler.gl is part of the Foursquare Studio open core technology stack and offers a subset of the features of Unfolded Studio.

Lat/long (latitude/longitude)

Latitude and longitude are a coordinate system used to define a given location on the Earth’s surface. Latitude is a series of horizontal lines extending from the equator toward the North and South Poles; lines of longitude are vertical lines that wrap around the world.

Location audiences

Location audiences refer to a group of mobile users who have visited a specific business location within a defined period.

Location SDK

A location software development kit (SDK) provides mobile app publishers with the software development tools needed to use location intelligence within their products.

Location targeting

Location targeting is an advertising method that uses GPS to target mobile device users based on their location or past visits to relevant locations.

Location as a service (LaaS)

Location as a service is a method where location data of users is delivered to enterprise customers as a service.

Location-based marketing

Location-based marketing is a marketing tactic that uses location-based data to target consumers. While used primarily for targeting mobile device users, location-based marketing can also target desktop computer users.

Location-based mobile marketing

Location-based mobile marketing is a marketing tactic that uses location-based data to only target mobile device consumers.

Location tiles

Location tiles, often referred to as just ’tiles’, are the defined boundaries of a location-based campaign, often in the shape of a square.

Managed service

A managed service is a business service that is managed by a service provider to simplify the process for the end customer. For example, an advertising managed service provider will often handle all the ad media buying responsibilities for a customer.

Media brief

A media brief is an overview of key information concerning a media plan and advertising campaign. This often includes goals, budget, target audience, targeting strategy, and other considerations.

Media planning

Media planning is the strategic objectives and processes for planning ad campaign placement.

Mobile advertising ID (MAID)

A MAID is an identification decimal address assigned to a mobile device by Apple or Android. Marketers use MAIDs to understand consumers, gather data, and improve ad targeting.

Mobile unique identifier (MUID)

A MUID is a unique combination of characters or numbers associated with a mobile device that anonymizes the identity of private consumers. However, a MUID still allows consumers to be trackable for advertising initiatives.

Neighborhood targeting

Mobile neighborhood targeting is a mobile marketing strategy that targets a segment according to data on a specific neighborhood.

Offline attribution

Offline attribution is a method of measuring the impact of marketing campaigns on foot traffic to brick-and-mortar locations.

Origin-destination analysis

An origin-destination analysis explores the movements between pairs of geographic locations. It can be applied to reveal travel patterns and gain insight into traffic flows, delivery routes, migrations, and transportation routes.

Parcel map

A parcel map identifies the geographical boundaries of businesses and other properties within a region. Parcel maps can be used to augment location-based targeting efforts.

Passive check-in

A passive check-in uses enabled location-based services to indicate when a mobile device user visits a business location, even if the user doesn’t open the app to check-in.

Pay-per-action (PPA)

PPA calculates the success of an ad campaign to drive a user action. These actions include a call to a business, visit to a website, visit to a store, and other user behaviors.

Point of interest (POI)

A POI is a known landmark or destination that doesn’t have a postal address but can offer value in location-based marketing. The Eiffel Tower, for example, could be a point of interest used by nearby businesses.

Polygon data

Polygon data is used to represent areas such as the boundary of a city, lake, or forest.

Polygon geofences

A polygon geofence is a defined shape around a business location or point of interest that enables geofencing marketing in the defined area. The polygon typically represents the physical extent of a place.

Post-click rate

Post-click rate is an online advertising performance metric that measures the rate of ad viewers who take action beyond the initial click of the ad.

Programmatic buying

Programmatic buying refers to the automated method of buying and selling digital advertising through bidding platforms and targeting technology.

Proximity targeting

Proximity targeting is a strategy that utilizes a geofenced radius around a location to target mobile device users when they come within a set proximity.

Push notification

A push notification is a message sent by a mobile app that appears on a user’s mobile device when the app is not open. Swiping push notifications brings users to the mobile apps.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID)

RFID is a tagging and tracking wireless technology system that can be added to objects to improve location initiatives.

Radius targeting

Radius targeting uses a predefined radius around a business, point of interest (POI), or other destination to deliver targeted mobile advertisements.

Raster tile data

Raster tile data is data represented through a digital image such as a scanned map or photograph. It also includes aerial and satellite imagery. Raster data uses a cell-based format called stairsteping to record data as pixels or grids with an image. Spatial analysis depends heavily on raster datasets.


Software-as-a-service (SaaS) allows data to be accessed through the cloud from any device with an internet connection and a web browser.

Secondary action rate

Secondary action rate is another term for post-click rate, and is the secondary action measurement of how an ad leads to another action beyond the initial ad click.


A shapefile is an Esri vector data storage format for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features.

Spatio-temporal data

Spatio-temporal data is data collected across both space and time that describe a phenomenon in a particular location and over a period of time.

Spatio-temporal asset catalog (STAC)

Spatio-temporal asset catalog (STAC) is the emerging metadata standard to describe cloud-optimized GeoTIFFs. Many satellite data providers are converging on providing STAC enabled endpoints, making it possible to directly search and consume satellite imagery from multiple sources.

Spatial join

A spatial join combines attributes from one dataset to another based on their spatial relationship

Store visitation lift

Store visitation lift is a metric that represents the percentage of incremental visits caused by exposure to an advertising campaign.

Suitability analysis

A sustainability analysis valuates the suitability of a location or area for a certain use. This analysis computes a suitability score based on a set of user-defined criteria and weights. It is commonly used for site selection, enabling smarter investment and planning decisions.

Third-party location data

Third-party location data is geospatial information often focused on consumers, collected and distributed by a vendor or partner that does not have a direct connection to the consumer from whom the data is focused on.

User segments

User segments are categories of audiences based on shared interests, demographics, or psychographic traits.

User-generated content

User-generated content refers to content created by consumers, not a business. User-generated content includes photos, videos, online reviews, social media content, and other content created by non-businesses related users.

User-reported location data

User-reported location data refers to information voluntarily provided by a user, including venue name, address, and zip code.

Vector tile data

Vector tile data uses geometric shapes to show the location and shape of geographic features. Points, lines and polygons can represent things like cities, roads and waterways. Vector data is scalable, has small file sizes and ideal for depicting boundaries.

Visitation metrics

Visitation metrics measure foot traffic and other aspects of in-store visits. Data points may include visitation rate, visitation lift, dwell time, and other performance indicators.

Weather targeting

Weather targeting is a marketing strategy that uses weather-derived data points around temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, and more to time the delivery of ads.

Wi-Fi triangulation

Wi-Fi triangulation is the process that uses the relative strength of Wi-Fi signals available to a mobile device to determine a more specific location for that device.

Wi-Fi hotspots

Wi-Fi hotspots provide internet access to users who have connected their device to the wireless network. A Wi-Fi access point is often found in public buildings, airports, performance venues, coffee shops, and other establishments.

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